What Is A Kidney Stone
A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine and often severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Kidney stones are sometimes called renal calculi.
The condition of having kidney stones is termed nephrolithiasis. Having stones at any location in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and the term ureterolithiasis is used to refer to stones located in the ureters.
What Does It Feel Like When You Have A Kidney Stone
Formed by crystallization of certain substances in urine, kidney stones are hard, pebble-like pieces of materials occurring in one or both kidneys when there are high levels of various minerals such as calcium or uric acid in urine. A kidney stone may be as small as a grain of sand, as big as a pebble or even as large as a golf ball. Generally, the larger the stone the more severe the symptoms. If the stone is very small in size, it can pass through your urinary tract without notice. But a large stone may cause a sharp pain in your side, groin, back or lower abdomen as it passes through the urinary tract.
So what does it feel like when you have a kidney stone?
Typically, kidney stones are formed in the kidney and a stone that remains in the kidney rarely causes pain. But when a kidney stone travels through the tubes of the urinary tract such as the ureter or the urethra , it may produce irritation and blockage that result in pain and other symptoms. You may feel the following symptoms depending on the size and location of the stones:
Who Is At Risk For Kidney Stones
Anyone may develop a kidney stone, but people with certain diseases and conditions or those who are taking certain medications are more susceptible to their development. Urinary tract stones are more common in men than in women. Most urinary stones develop in people 20 to 49 years of age, and those who are prone to multiple attacks of kidney stones usually develop their first stones during the second or third decade of life. People who have already had more than one kidney stone are prone to developing further stones.
In residents of industrialized countries, kidney stones are more common than stones in the bladder. The opposite is true for residents of developing areas of the world, where bladder stones are the most common. This difference is believed to be related to dietary factors. People who live in the southern or southwestern regions of the U.S. have a higher rate of kidney stone formation, possibly due to inadequate water intake leading to dehydration than those living in other areas. Over the last few decades, the percentage of people with kidney stones in the U.S. has been increasing, most likely related to the obesity epidemic.
A family history of kidney stones is also a risk factor for developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are more common in Asians and Caucasians than in Native Americans, Africans, or African Americans.
Uric acid kidney stones are more common in people with chronically elevated uric acid levels in their blood .
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Kidney Stones
The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. This type happens when calcium and oxalate combine in your urine. It can happen when you have high quantities of oxalate, low amounts of calcium and arent drinking enough fluids.
Stones caused by uric acid are also fairly common. These come from a natural substance called purine, which is a byproduct of animal proteins .
Who Is At Risk For Nephrotic Syndrome
Anyone can get nephrotic syndrome but it is slightly more common in men than in women. In children, it happens most often between the ages of 2 and 6. There are other factors that may increase your risk. You are more likely to get nephrotic syndrome if you:
- Have a disease that affects the kidneys such as FSGS, lupus, or diabetes
- Take certain medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics
- Have an infection such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, or malaria
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Should I Cut Calcium Out Of My Diet If I Develop Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stones
If you develop kidney stones composed of calcium, you may be tempted to stop eating foods that include calcium. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, its recommended that you have a diet higher in calcium and lower in oxalate.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cows milk.
Its also important to drink plenty of fluids to dilute the substances in your urine.
Tips To Prevent The Kidney Stones From Causing Cancer
- Eat foods that are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties- Foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties alleviate the pain and discomforts of kidney stones and also flush toxins out of the body, thereby preventing kidney stones from aggravating. Thus, you should have more citrus fruits and remedies such as barley water, basil juice, etc.
- Have hydrating natural fluids- Fluids are the key to improving the condition of kidney stones. Drink plenty of hydrating fluids and juices. These promote tissue and kidney health and thus help the kidney to function optimally.
- Ensure proper oxygenated blood supply- In order to function properly, your kidneys need sufficient blood and oxygen supply. Therefore, perform yoga asanas, mild exercises, and stretching as these improve the circulation of blood, and in turn, the supply of oxygen to the kidneys.
- Have medicines only that your doctor prescribes- If your doctor has prescribed any medications, take them as prescribed. Remember not to overdose and also do not miss any doses. And yes, self-medication is not at all an option.
Following these tips will help you majorly in keeping away the chances due to kidney stones. And, your overall health will also improve, filling you with more energy.
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Does Too Much Protein Increase Stones Or Damage Bones
Some of us overdo things with shakes and powders, some with 2 pound steaks. Others love sweets too much and dont eat much protein. Like all the diet factors in stone and bone disease, protein intake is complex. Certainly, we all need protein in our diet but how much? Experts debate the best course, and patients wonder what to do.
Abraham van Beijeren was, by the way, little recognized in his day but now considered a major painter of luxuries like this standing roast. I chose it, as opposed to others more brilliant, because it looks modern I have seen something like it on my own dining room table.
In preparing this article I have made considerable use of the analyses performed by professor Tanis Fenton. She graciously read and edited the article up to the details of renal physiology, and the work much benefitted from her expertise which I gratefully acknowledge here. All errors are entirely mine, however, should you find any.
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When Should A Kidney Stone Be Treated
When a kidney stone causes pain to the extent that the pain cannot be controlled with oral pain medication, the stone should be treated. Similarly, stones that are associated with severe nausea or vomiting should be treated. Some stones are associated with infection or fever such situations can be life threatening and demand prompt attention. Stones that are associated with a solitary kidney, poor overall kidney function or complete blockage of urine flow should also all be treated.
Sometimes, when a stone is associated with bothersome symptoms, it may be appropriate to wait and see if the stone will pass on its own. If the stone is small, this is a very reasonable course of action. However, stones larger in size than 5 mm are unlikely to pass on their own and should be considered for treatment.
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How Do Kidney Stones Form
Most kidney stones are made up of calcium. Uric acid comprise the majority of the remaining stones. Other substances like ammonium acid urate, cystine and xanthine may also make up kidney stones. Most of the time the urine becomes saturated. Substances within the urine, like calcium and uric acid, then precipitate. It compresses together to form a stone. Sometimes stones may form in the bladder rather than the kidney.
Read more on urinary stones.
The exact reason why kidney stones form can be complex. In most instances it is a matter of there being excessively high quantities of the substances mentioned above within the urine. This can either be due to the presence of high quantities of these substances within the body or specifically being passed out in the urine. Alternatively, it can also be a result of very low water levels in the body where urine is more concentrated than normal.
This is more likely to occur when there is a high dietary intake of certain substances that can form urine stones and dehydration are major risk factors for kidney stones. A family history, previous history of kidney stones, obesity and certain medical conditions may also increase the likelihood of kidney stones forming. Most of the stones that form in the kidney are small and quickly pass out. However, it may obstruct anywhere along the course of the urinary tract.
What You Can Do
If youve been taking one of the PPI drugs listed above and have concerns, you should speak to your physician about the risks, and ask if there are alternative treatments for your condition. Its important to listen to your doctors advice about your specific health condition, but you can also always seek a second medical opinion, too. You should not start or stop a prescription without discussing it with a doctor first.
If you or a loved one are suffering from CKD or any other condition caused by PPI drugs, you may have legal options. Protect yourself by contacting an attorney who is experienced with dangerous-drug litigation. The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP will fight the drug companies, insurers, and hospitals to help you get the compensation that youre owed. Call us to discuss the details of your case with a free consultation at 210-888-8888.
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Can A Large Kidney Stone Cause An Injury
Your risk of injury from a kidney stone can go up based on the size and location of the stone. A larger stone could get stuck in a ureter, causing pressure to build up. This can lead to renal failure and, in the worst-case scenario, you could lose your kidney. The chance of passing a 1 cm stone is less than 10%, and stones larger than 1 cm typically dont pass.
How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed
If you notice symptoms that suggest you have kidney stones, including sharp abdominal pain, its a good idea to contact your primary care provider, who will refer you to a specialist if needed. Seek emergency care if you experience pain so severe that you cant find a comfortable position to sit in, pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting, pain accompanied by fever and chills, blood in your urine, or trouble passing urine. And even if you don’t need medications to help pass a kidney stone or cope with the pain of passing it, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for a urinalysis test to determine the cause of the stone and discover ways to prevent more stones.
If your doctor suspects you have a kidney stone, he or she will likely ask you about your personal and family medical history to determine if youre genetically predisposed to kidney stones or if you have any medical conditions that could increase your risk, such as diabetes. Your doctor may also ask about your dietary habits, especially those that may increase your risk of stones.
Then, you can expect to receive a physical exam and undergo some combination of imaging tests, urine tests, and blood tests to look for an underlying diagnosis and factors contributing to the stones. Some of these tests can help determine the cause of your stones.
Urine tests may include the following:
Some kidney stones are small enough that youll be able to pass them without any intervention.
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Acid Reflux Medicines May Cause Kidney Damage
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Long-term use of certain medications commonly used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers can have damaging effects on the kidneys. The findings come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology . In 2013, an estimated 15 million Americans were prescribed proton pump , which reduce gastric acid production. This number is likely an underestimate because the medications are also available over-the-counter and can be purchased without prescription.
Lets Now Understand Why You Should Not Leave Kidney Stones Untreated:
- Kidney stones can cause severe pain: When large kidney stones pass into the ureters, there is a possibility that they may get stuck there. This can cause blockage of the ureters and you may experience severe pain.
- Kidney stones increase the risk of UTIs: Kidney stones can block the ureters. They can also cause the narrowing of the ureters. In such a case, urine may build-up thereby increasing the strain on the kidneys. This also increases the risk of infections.
- Kidney stones can lead to infections in the kidney: In some cases, the kidney stones can get infected. The most common symptom of such an infection is fever with chills. This is an emergency situation and can even be life-threatening.
- Kidney stones can even lead to kidney failure: If you have a very large kidney stone and you leave it untreated, it may cause permanent damage to the kidney and even lead to kidney failure. The worst part is that this damage can occur even without any specific symptoms, which is why it is important to consult a specialist doctor.
Another trouble associated with kidney stones is that they have a tendency to reappear. If you have kidney stones, the chances of their recurrence in the next 5-7 years increases by 50 percent. This, in turn, increases the risk of recurrence of urinary tract infections and other problems.
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Making It Easier To Pass The Stone
Alpha blockers are believed to make it easier for the stones to pass out of the body. They relax the muscles in the lower part of the bladder. Alpha blockers are medications used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia . They have not been approved for the treatment of kidney stones. But particularly the alpha blocker tamsulosin is sometimes used off-label.
According to current research, alpha blockers can help pass stones. An analysis of 67 studies showed this to be true for kidney stones that are about 5 to 10 millimeters in diameter.
- Without alpha blockers, the stones passed within four weeks in about 50 out of 100 people.
- With alpha blockers, the stones passed within four weeks in about 73 out of 100 people.
So the treatment helped 23 out of 100 people to pass the stone.
Temporary side effects of alpha blockers include low blood pressure, dizziness, and tiredness. In one large study, 4 out of 100 people stopped their treatment early due to such side effects. In 5 out of 100 men, the drugs also temporarily caused retrograde ejaculation . This is where no semen, or much less than usual, leaves the penis. Instead, the semen flows into the bladder.
Signs That Indicate You Have Passed The Kidney Stone
When a kidney stone starts to pass, symptoms typically occur suddenly and without any warning. That being said, a common sign is a pain that initially develops in your side or back. Typically in the flank or lumbar region and shoots into the groin. Sometimes, the pain will travel downward into the genital area, poorly controlled by the pain relief, and stops and starts abruptly.
Some patients may see blood in their urine, for others, the blood is not visible through naked eyes. Though a large stone may not pass on its own and may require special procedures to remove it.
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Whats The Outlook For Kidney Stones
The outlook for kidney stones is very positive, although there is a risk of recurrence . Many kidney stones pass on their own over time without needing treatment. Medications and surgical treatments to remove larger kidney stones are generally very successful and involve little recovery time.
Its possible to get kidney stones multiple times throughout your life. If you keep developing kidney stones, your healthcare provider may work with you to discover why the stones happen. Once the cause is found, you may be able to make dietary changes to prevent future stones.
Are There Any Foods Or Drinks That Help Treat Kidney Stones Are There Any Home Remedies
There are three liquids rumored to help with kidney stones:
- Cranberry juice. Although cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections , it doesnt help with kidney stones.
- Apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and it can sometimes create changes to your urine, which helps with kidney stones. But, this doesnt always help. Talk to your healthcare provider about the use of vinegar.
- Lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming. Citrates are found in several citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and melons.
- Coffee. Studies show that coffee may decrease your risk of developing kidney stones.
Avoid soda and other drinks with added sugar or fructose corn syrup. They increase your risk.
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