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How You Get Kidney Stones

Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Kidney Stones

Preventing Kidney Stones

Kidney stones often have no single cause, and several factors may increase your risk for getting them. Some of these factors are listed below. They include:

Lack of water

You need to make enough pee to dilute the things that can turn into stones. If you donât drink enough or sweat too much, your pee may look dark. It should be pale yellow or clear.

If youâve had a stone before, you should make about 8 cups of urine a day. So aim to down about 10 cups of water daily, since you lose some fluids through sweat and breathing. Swap a glass of water for a citrus drink. The citrate in lemonade or orange juice can block stones from forming.

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.

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.

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Recurring urinary tract infections

Some kidney stones may be infected, and in many cases, despite proper antibiotic treatment, the infection cannot be cleared from the stone. In such cases, the only way to remove the infection completely is to remove the stone.

Staghorn stones

These are extremely large stones that grow to fill the inside of the kidney. There are serious health risks associated with these stones, and left untreated they are associated with an increased risk of kidney failure.

Occupational requirements

For example, the Federal Aviation Administration will not allow a pilot to fly until all stones have been cleared from his or her kidney. Other occupations also do not allow for the unplanned passage of a kidney stone.

Extensive travel

The patient who, whether for business or otherwise, travels to locales where medical care is not reliable may wish to consider preventive treatment.

Patient preference

After thorough consideration of all options available to them, many patients elect to remove their stones at a time when it is convenient for them.

When Can Swl Be Used

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SWL works better with some stones than others. Very large stones cannot be treated this way. The size and shape of stone, where it is lodged in your urinary tract, your health, and your kidneys’ health will be part of the decision to use it. Stones that are smaller than 2 cm in diameter are the best size for SWL. The treatment might not be effective in very large ones.

SWL is more appropriate for some people than others. Because x-rays and shock waves are needed in SWL, pregnant women with stones are not treated this way. People with bleeding disorders, infections, severe skeletal abnormalities, or who are morbidly obese also not usually good candidates for SWL. lf your kidneys have other abnormalities, your doctor may decide you should have a different treatment. lf you have a cardiac pacemaker, a cardiologist will decide if you can have SWL.

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Causes And Risk Factors Of Kidney Stones

Some people are more likely to develop kidney stones than others. For example, men are more likely to have kidney stones than women, as are people with a family history of kidney stones, those with a history of UTIs, and those who have had kidney stones once before.

Youre also more likely to develop kidney stones if you take certain medications, including: diuretics, calcium-based antacids , topiramate , and indinavir . Calcium and vitamin C supplements may also increase your risk of forming kidney stones.

And while medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can increase the risk of kidney stones, healthy people can also develop them, says Anil Agarwal, MD, professor of internal medicine and director of interventional nephrology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

Factors that may contribute to the formation of kidney stones include:

  • Not drinking enough water

Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones

Many kidney stones are discovered by chance during examinations for other conditions. Urine and blood tests can help with finding out the cause of the stone. Further tests may include:

  • ultrasound
  • CT scans
  • x-rays, including an intravenous pyelogram , where dye is injected into the bloodstream before the x-rays are taken.

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Vitamin D And Kidney Stones

The connection between vitamin d and kidney stones has been evaluated in many published studies. According to research, vitamin D levels were significantly higher in kidney stone patients compared to healthy adults . On the other hand, vitamin D intake in typical amounts was not statistically associated with risk of kidney stone formation .

The bottom line: vitamin D is an important vitamin that plays a key role in many body functions. Research data suggests that 50% of Americans have vitamin D deficiency . For this reason, it is very important to make sure you are not deficient in vitamin D. If you are at a risk of developing kidney stones, you may want to consult your doctor in order to determine the exact amount of vitamin D you need.

To learn more about the importance of vitamin D to a healthy immune system, risks of vitamin D deficiency and the best ways to get vitamin D, see: Vitamin D and your immune system.

Does The Patient Need Anesthesia

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Yes, even though there is no incision, there will be pain. You and your doctor will discuss whether light sedation and local or general anesthetics will be used. The choice depends on the technique, the type of stone and the patient. SWL can be delivered with just mild sedation, but in general, some type of anesthesia–either local, regional or general–is used to help the patient remain still, reduce any discomfort, and this improves the breaking of the stone.

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Can Kidney Stones Cause Uti

Kidney stones can cause UTI. Kidney stones of metabolic origin can cause obstruction in the ureter and lead to the development of urinary tract infection . This relationship between urinary stones and UTI is well known and is mentioned in the medical literature as :

  • kidney stones that develop following UTI.
  • kidney stones that get complicated by UTI.

In other words, kidney stones can increase the risk of UTI, or making an existing UTI become worse.

How Do I Know If My Treatment Is Working

Because cystine stones tend to reoccur, it is important to know your treatment is working and lowering your cystine level. A 24-hour urine collection is a way of checking cystine levels. Your healthcare provider may ask you to do a 24-hour urine collection to check your level. The results will help determine whether any adjustments to your treatment is needed.

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Duration Of Kidney Stones

A kidney stone often goes unnoticed until it starts to pass into your ureters. Once this happens, symptoms typically appear without warning. Youll likely feel sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of your ribcage, though the pain can shift into the genital area as well.

The pain from kidney stones often comes in waves, and you may feel better for a few hours before the pain comes back.

Depending on the size of the stone, it can take up to six weeks to pass . Small stones may take only a few days to a week to pass. Your doctor will likely prescribe medications to help you manage the pain during this time.

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Visit Texas Advanced Renal Health to learn more about the prevention and treatment of kidney stones. Our team is committed to providing the needed care to relieve you of your discomfort and minimize the risk of kidney stone recurrence down the road. Call us at 972-548-4833 and schedule your appointment today!

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What Does The Treatment Involve

You will be positioned on an operating table. A soft, water-filled cushion may be placed on your abdomen or behind your kidney. The body is positioned so that the stone can be targeted precisely with the shock wave. In an older method, the patient is placed in a tub of lukewarm water. About 1-2 thousand shock waves are needed to crush the stones. The complete treatment takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

Sometimes, doctors insert a tube via the bladder and thread it up to the kidney just prior to SWL. These tubes are used when the ureter is blocked, when there is a risk of infection and in patients with intolerable pain or reduced kidney function.

After the procedure, you will usually stay for about an hour then be allowed to return home if all goes well. You will be asked to drink plenty of liquid, strain your urine through a filter to capture the stone pieces for testing, and you may need to take antibiotics and painkillers. Some studies have reported stones may come out better if certain drugs are used after SWL.

Diagnosis: Low Urine Ph

Possible treatments:

Citrate supplementation

Citrate supplements, such as potassium citrate, will raise the pH of your urine, making stones, such as those composed of uric acid, less likely to form. If your blood potassium level is high, your doctor may prescribe sodium bicarbonate or Bicitra.

Lower protein intake

A diet high in protein will reduce urinary pH. As a general recommendation, limit your daily protein intake to 12 ounces per day of beef, poultry, fish and pork. Twelve ounces is equivalent in size to about three decks of cards. This will be plenty of protein to meet your bodys needs.

Increase fluid intake

No matter what your diagnosis, you should drink enough water to produce at least 2 liters of urine per day.

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How Long Does It Take A Kidney Stone To Form

You can have kidney stones for years without knowing theyre there. As long as these stones stay in place within your kidney, you wont feel anything. Pain from a kidney stone typically starts when it moves out of your kidney. Sometimes, a stone can form more quickly within a few months.

Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors. They might do a 24-hour urine test to check how quickly you develop stones.

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In some cases, the symptoms may be very subtle and build up slowly. In other cases, they may come on suddenly, with no early warning signs. This pain can be severe and may lead to nausea or vomiting, or both. People often experience sharp, stabbing pain, and common measures such as rest or lying down do not relieve it.

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Why Do I Get Kidney Stones

Kidneys are essential organs that filter out the waste traveling around the body in your bloodstream. The kidneys create urine to transport the filtered chemicals out of the body. Stones develop from buildup of mineral deposits in our urine that stick together in the kidneys. Typically, these stones develop because of a lack of water to dilute the accumulation of these minerals on the lining of our kidneys. Certain medications, medical disorders , and a family history of kidney stones can also increase your chances of suffering from them.

Because they are known to cause a great deal of pain, it is no surprise that those who suffer from kidney stones are willing to try just about anything to treat them and to prevent them from happening again. Known medicinal treatments include the use of alpha-blockers such as Flomax that relax the lining of the ureter to help stones pass more easily, and medications that treat the associated pain. Additionally, surgical procedures or other non-invasive means of surgical treatment may be prescribed to break up both calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones. These treatments include ureteroscopy and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy .

Preventative measures used to halt the formation of kidney stones include dietary and behavioral changes. These involve decreasing sodium intake, increasing water intake to stay properly hydrated, stopping excessive exercise, stopping sauna usage , and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

How Should My Kidney Stone Be Treated

Historically, the treatment of kidney stones required major surgery and was associated with long hospitalization and recovery periods. However, in recent years an improved understanding of kidney stone disease, along with advances in surgical technology, has led to the development of minimally invasive and even noninvasive treatments for people with kidney stones.

At Johns Hopkins, we believe that the treatment of a patients stones requires an approach that is unique to that individual. We offer a complete range of state-of-the-art treatment options, including ESWL , ureteroscopy and PERC, and we will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of each therapy as they apply to your situation. Our goal is to provide each patient with a clear understanding of the nature of their stone burden as well as the most appropriate course of treatment.

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Can Dehydration Cause Kidney Stones

Dehydration and not drinking enough water is one of the most common causes of kidney stones and a known risk factor for developing kidney stones. When you dont drink enough water, your urine may become too concentrated, increasing the risk of urinary saturation of stone-forming salts and mineral crystals in the urine sticking together and form a stone. This is the most common cause of kidney stones. Making sure you are well hydrated is especially important if you live in warm climates, physically active or sweat a lot. Studies have documented the association between increased environmental temperatures and increased kidney stone rates .

The bottom line: A high intake of fluids, especially water, is still the most powerful and certainly the most economical means of prevention of kidney stones .

Calcium Supplements And Kidney Stones

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The connection between calcium supplements and kidney stones is somewhat controversial. There were some concerns that calcium supplements can cause kidney stones, although most of the studies show no increase in stone risk with high calcium intake. In fact, some evidence suggests the opposite, where calcium intake is shown to lower the risk of developing kidney stones.. Furthermore, according to the medical literature, a diet too low in calcium can actually increase the risk of getting calcium stones .

The general recommendation is to maintain moderate dietary calcium intake, and when needed take calcium supplements with a meal. If you are at risk of developing kidney stones, you should consult your doctor in order to monitor the calcium levels and the related kidney stones parameters .

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Blocked Ureter And Kidney Infection

A kidney stone that blocks the ureter can lead to a kidney infection. This is because waste products are unable to pass the blockage, which may cause a build-up of bacteria.

The symptoms of a kidney infection are similar to symptoms of kidney stones, but may also include:

  • a high temperature of 38C or over
  • chills and shivering

Kidney stones are usually formed following a build-up of certain chemicals in the body.

This build-up may be any of the following:

  • calcium
  • ammonia
  • uric acid a waste product produced when the body breaks down food to use as energy
  • cysteine an amino acid that helps to build protein

Certain medical conditions can lead to an unusually high level of these substances in your urine.

Youâre also more likely to develop kidney stones if you donât drink enough fluids.

How Do Health Care Professionals Treat Kidney Stones

Health care professionals usually treat kidney stones based on their size, location, and what type they are.

Small kidney stones may pass through your urinary tract without treatment. If youre able to pass a kidney stone, a health care professional may ask you to catch the kidney stone in a special container. A health care professional will send the kidney stone to a lab to find out what type it is. A health care professional may advise you to drink plenty of liquids if you are able to help move a kidney stone along. The health care professional also may prescribe pain medicine.

Larger kidney stones or kidney stones that block your urinary tract or cause great pain may need urgent treatment. If you are vomiting and dehydrated, you may need to go to the hospital and get fluids through an IV.

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