What Are Kidney Stones And How Do They Form
Dr. Chang says kidney stones can be small or large, smooth or jagged. Although some are tiny enough to pass with little or no pain, others get lodged in the kidneys or elsewhere in the urinary tract, disrupting the flow of urine like a clogged pipe. Thats what causes pain.
The problem is obstruction of urine, Dr. Chang explains. That can lead to infectionsthe urine becomes stagnant and static, and doesnt drain welland can cause the kidney to swell, which is a large component of the pain.
As for the stones themselves, theyre nothing more than hard deposits comprising excess minerals and saltscalcium and oxalate, for examplethat accrue inside the kidneys instead of being flushed out with urine.
Pain In Your Back Belly Or Side
This kidney stone symptom happens because your ureter, the small tube that passes urine from your kidney to your bladder, is blocked with stonesand it doesnt feel good, Clayman says. This can cause severe pain around your kidneys , but that pain can radiate to your lower abdomen or thighs. If the pain becomes so intense that you can’t sit still or find a comfortable position, have someone take you to the doc.
What Causes Kidney Stones In Women
Whatcauses kidney stones in women? Passing the stones, crystalized hard depositsderived from certain minerals inside the kidneys, would be so painful. Eventhis is probably the worst pain after active labor & childbirth. The badnews, it seems the incidence in women is increasing steadily, according to theMayo Clinic study 2018 .
Still,kidney stone disease is more common in men. It is twice as often in men as women . But since its on the rise inwomen, its not bad idea to understand more about how to prevent and reduce therisk of developing the condition.
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Why Do Doctors Examine The Contents Of The Stone
There are four types of stones. Studying the stone can help understand why you have it and how to reduce the risk of further stones. The most common type of stone contains calcium. Calcium is a normal part of a healthy diet. The kidney usually removes extra calcium that the body doesn’t need. Often people with stones keep too much calcium. This calcium combines with waste products like oxalate to form a stone. The most common combination is called calcium oxalate.
Less common types of stones are: Infection-related stones, containing magnesium and ammonia called struvite stones and stones formed from monosodium urate crystals, called uric acid stones, which might be related to obesity and dietary factors. The rarest type of stone is a cvstine stone that tends to run in families.
Pain Or Burning With Urination
If it hurts to pee, a kidney stone may be to blame. Some people experience this type of pain as a stone travels through the ureter, getting closer to the bladder.
But its more likely, Dr. Pearle says, that any burning with urination is caused by an infection, such as a urinary tract infection, than by kidney stones. In one study, 8% of kidney stone patients had a UTI.
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Kidney Stone Symptoms: Pain Pain And More Pain
While some small kidney stones can pass through the urinary tract and out of your body without being noticed, others have tell-tale signs, most notably: pain.
Symptoms are similar regardless of gender, and include pain in your back or sides, radiating pain into the groin, nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine and fever. The presence of stones in the kidney can also lead to chronic UTIs, so if this is something in your own history, its a good idea to bring it up to your doctor.
How Kidney Stones Affect Women
While womens overall lifetime risk is lower than mens, obesity, diabetes and associated metabolic syndromes have narrowed the gap, according to Dr. Robert Sweet, medical director of the Kidney Stone Center at UW Medical Center Northwest.
Plus, a recent epidemiological study spanning decades demonstrates that people who develop symptoms from kidney stones tend to be female, with the highest increase in incident rates between women ages 18 to 39. Women also had a higher frequency of infected stones as a result of recurrent urinary tract infections .
Womens risk of getting stones is greater than for men if they are obese, says Sweet. When women who have these other conditions have a kidney stone, they are also more likely to have complex stones that are more difficult to treat and have accompanying urinary tract infections and pain that reduces quality of life.
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Complications Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can range in size from a grain of sand to that of a pearl or even larger. They can be smooth or jagged, and are usually yellow or brown. A large stone may get stuck in the urinary system. This can block the flow of urine and may cause strong pain.
Kidney stones can cause permanent kidney damage. Stones also increase the risk of urinary and kidney infection, which can result in germs spreading into the bloodstream.
Who Gets Kidney Stones And Why
The lifetime risk of kidney stones among adults in the US is approximately 9%, and it appears that global warming may be increasing that risk. There are four major types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate/calcium phosphate, uric acid, struvite , and cystine.
A risk factor for all stones, regardless of type, is dehydration. Anyone who is prone to kidney stones should pay attention to good hydration. A randomized trial has shown that drinking 2 liters of fluid a day reduces the likelihood of stone recurrence by about half. The American Urological Association guideline for medical management of kidney stones recommends that patients who form kidney stones should aim to drink more than 2.5 liters of fluid per day.
Anyone with symptoms of kidney stones should be referred to a urologist. The initial evaluation will often include blood, urine, and imaging studies. Decisions about testing, and ultimately treatment, should be made jointly by the physician and the patient. Lets look at specific risk factors and treatment for each of the major stone types.
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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.
Poor Hydration Is One Of The Main Culprits
There are many types of kidney stones. The major types include calcium oxalate , calcium phosphate , uric acid, magnesium ammonium phosphate , and cystine .
Yourkidneys need water to flush out unnecessary things from the bodyproperly. Keeping hydrated is important to dilute them in the urine, makingcrystalized stones more difficult to form.
On theother hand, without enough fluid, youre likely to have low urine volume. As aresult, you would make stones more likely to form in the urinary tract andprovoke kidneys dysfunction.
In fact,dehydration is a risk factor for all types of kidney stones. In people whovealready had stones, drinking adequate water would help reduce their risk ofstone recurrence by about half one randomized trial suggests .
So makesure to keep hydrated throughout the day. Its recommended to drink at least2.5 liters of water per day, especially for people with a personal medicalhistory of kidney stones, according to the American Urological Associationguideline.
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What Is A Kidney Stone
A kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemicals in the urine. There are four types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine. A kidney stone may be treated with shockwave lithotripsy, uteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithomy or nephrolithotripsy. Common symptoms include severe pain in lower back, blood in your urine, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, or urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.
Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. Usually, these chemicals are eliminated in the urine by the body’s master chemist: the kidney. In most people, having enough liquid washes them out or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming. The stone-forming chemicals are calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate.
After it is formed, the stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract into the ureter. Sometimes, tiny stones move out of the body in the urine without causing too much pain. But stones that don’t move may cause a back-up of urine in the kidney, ureter, the bladder, or the urethra. This is what causes the pain.
Ways Your Diet Can Help Prevent Kidney Stones
So you want to avoid being the one in 12 women who will get kidney stones in their lifetime, what should you do?
If you’ve had a stone, talk to your doctor about what kind of stone you made. What minerals were the crystals made of and what should you do to decrease your risk of recurrence. In the interest of full disclosure and as I am disclosing it, isn’t a HIPAA violation. I’m a middle-aged, chubby, pizza-loving woman who is one of the one in 12. And having a kidney stone certainly got my attention, I was very impressed.
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Drink More Water People
The best way to prevent kidney stones is simple: Drink a lot of water. People with low urine output tend to be more prone to developing stones.
Kidney stones are formed by small pieces of minerals, like calcium, building up in your kidneys as your kidneys filter waste from your blood. If you stay hydrated, theres less of an opportunity for those minerals to build up and chunk together.
You know youre drinking enough water if your pee is pale yellow or clear. Still, its easy to forget to hydrate.
Thats why Harper and Wessells are conducting a study to see if using smart water bottles that track someones fluid intake can help prevent kidney stones. The bottles send data about how much someone is drinking to an app, which then alerts the participant if they need to drink more.
Being reminded is helpful because even people who have had kidney stones tend to slip up when it comes to hydration, Wessells says.
They do it for a while but then they go back to the way they were. The kidney stone becomes a distant memory, he says.
But just because the memory may fade doesnt mean the costsfinancial and otherwisedo. Kidney stones usually cause people to miss several days of work at least, and the financial burden of emergency department visits and CT scans is high, says Wessells.
Its important for people to understand what their barriers are to fluid intake so we can help them remove those barriers and develop strategies to take in more fluid regularly, he says.
Treating And Preventing Kidney Stones
Most kidney stones are small enough to be passed in your pee, and it may be possible to treat the symptoms at home with medication.
Larger stones may need to be broken up or removed with surgery.
It’s estimated up to half of all people who have had kidney stones will experience them again within the following 5 years.
To avoid getting kidney stones, make sure you drink plenty of water every day so you do not become dehydrated.
It’s very important to keep your urine pale in colour to prevent waste products forming into kidney stones.
The kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that are roughly 10cm in length.
They’re located towards the back of the abdomen on either side of the spine.
The kidneys remove waste products from the blood. The clean blood is then transferred back into the body and the waste products are passed out of the body when you pee.
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Treatment For Kidney Stones
Most kidney stones can be treated without surgery. Ninety per cent of stones pass by themselves within three to six weeks. In this situation, the only treatment required is pain relief. However, pain can be so severe that hospital admission and very strong pain-relieving medication may be needed. Always seek immediate medical attention if you are suffering strong pain.
Small stones in the kidney do not usually cause problems, so there is often no need to remove them. A doctor specialising in the treatment of kidney stones is the best person to advise you on treatment.
If a stone doesnt pass and blocks urine flow or causes bleeding or an infection, then it may need to be removed. New surgical techniques have reduced hospital stay time to as little as 48 hours. Treatments include:
Things That Can Help You Take A Pass On Kidney Stones
- By Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men’s Health Watch
If youve ever passed a kidney stone, you probably would not wish it on your worst enemy, and youll do anything to avoid it again. “Kidney stones are more common in men than in women, and in about half of people who have had one, kidney stones strike again within 10 to 15 years without preventive measures,” says Dr. Brian Eisner, co-director of the Kidney Stone Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
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Kidney Stone Causes Symptoms Treatments & Prevention
Your kidneys remove waste and fluid from your blood to make urine. Sometimes, when you have too much of certain wastes and not enough fluid in your blood, these wastes can build up and stick together in your kidneys. These clumps of waste are called kidney stones.
Who Is More Likely To Develop Kidney Stones
Men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women. If you have a family history of kidney stones, you are more likely to develop them. You are also more likely to develop kidney stones again if youve had them once.
You may also be more likely to develop a kidney stone if you dont drink enough liquids.
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Calcium Is Not The Enemy
A lot of people make the mistake of shying away from calcium-rich foods in an effort to prevent kidney stones.
Given that calcium oxalate stones are the most commonly reported type of renal stones, it is natural for stone formers to have reservations about calcium-rich foods.
Many people attribute calcium as major culprit and avoid taking a sufficient amount of calcium that is required for bone development and strength.
Quite the contrary, a high dietary intake of calcium can actually keep stones from forming by reducing the absorption of oxalates, a common compound present in many foods.
You will also fare better by limiting your sodium intake, which promotes calcium buildup in urine.
Try to get your recommended fill of calcium through food sources rather than supplements.
Your dietitian can stipulate the ideal amount of calcium for your particular age and case.
How Are Children Treated For Kidney Stones
Most childrens kidney stones can be treated with the shock wave lithotripsy , a completely non-invasive procedure. Your child is placed under anesthesia and sound waves of specific frequencies are focused on the stones to shatter them into fragments small enough to be easily passed during urination.
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When To See A Doctor For Kidney Stones
People often seek immediate medical attention for kidney stones due to the excruciating pain and nausea theyre experiencing. If they havent had stones before, their symptoms can be quite daunting. A lot will say, I thought I was dying, says Dr. Pearle. Always seek immediate medical attention if you have severe pain, vomiting, bleeding, or signs of infection.
Smaller stones often pass on their own. How long it takes to pass a kidney stone varies from person to person and by the size and location of the stone. If a stone is too large to pass on its own or is causing other problems, you may need to have it removed with lithotripsy or kidney stone surgery. If left untreated, kidney stones could lead to kidney damage if they block the flow of urine.
Some doctors suggest taking painkillers and boosting daily water intake to help flush out the troublesome mass. If youre vomiting, youre probably dehydrated anyway, so additional fluid cant hurt. And staying well hydrated does reduce the risk of developing future kidney stones. A type of muscle relaxing medicine called an alpha blocker may also be prescribed to help speed up kidney stone passage and reduce pain.
Even if you think the stone has passed, always follow up with a doctor because symptoms can come and go.