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 .
What You Need To Know About Passing Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are more common than you think. About 1 in 10 Americans experience them at some point throughout their life.1 If youve had them before, you understand how painful and debilitating they can be. If youve never had kidney stones, its important to understand what to expect. Not everyone will develop kidney stones and those that do might not experience any pain or discomfort. Regardless, you will need to pass them. To prepare yourself and get a better understanding of the underlying cause, weve put together this article on what you need to know about passing kidney stones.
Causes Of Kidney Stones
The most common cause of kidney stones isdehydration. Youre not drinking enough water to dilute the concentration of minerals in your urine . Recommended water consumption is about two liters or half a gallon of water a day.
Water is the best fluid to drink in order to prevent kidney stones, Dr. Abromowitz explains. But water from a well is very high in solutes, which increases your chance of kidney stones. So i f you’re drinking well water, you ought to have a purification system on it. Every year I see patients who develop a kidney stone for this reason.
Other kidney stone risk factors include:
- Too little or too much exercise
- Being overweight
- Eating food with excess salt, sugar, and animal protein
- Weight loss surgery
- Kidney infections. Infections increase the risk of kidney stones by slowing urine flow or changing the acid balance of urine.
- Family history of kidney stones
- Some drugs used to treat AIDS, seizures, and migraines can cause kidney stones.
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Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Many people with kidney stones have no symptoms. However, some people do get symptoms, which may include:
- a gripping pain in the back usually just below the ribs on one side, radiating around to the front and sometimes towards the groin. The pain may be severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting
- blood in the urine
- cloudy or bad smelling urine
- shivers, sweating and fever if the urine becomes infected
- small stones, like gravel, passing out in the urine, often caused by uric acid stones
- an urgent feeling of needing to urinate, due to a stone at the bladder outlet.
How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will discuss your medical history and possibly order some tests. These tests include:
- Imaging tests: An X-ray, CT scan and ultrasound will help your healthcare provider see the size, shape, location and number of your kidney stones. These tests help your provider decide what treatment you need.
- Blood test: A blood test will reveal how well your kidneys are functioning, check for infection and look for biochemical problems that may lead to kidney stones.
- Urine test: This test also looks for signs of infection and examines the levels of the substances that form kidney stones.
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Hydration Is Keyboth For Passing And Prevention
Staying hydrated while passing kidney stones is crucial. Kidney stones need to be flushed out of the body, and drinking lots of fluids will help move them along. Water is best , and there are a few liquids that should be avoided while passing a kidney stone.
You should do your best to eliminate alcohol, coffee, tea and soda during this time. Do your best to drink as much water as possible. Dehydrating fluids like alcohol and coffee will not help you pass your kidney stones and may make the pain worse.
Curious about the role alcohol plays in kidney stone prevention? Read our blog
Take Steps To Bypass Kidney Stones
Even though kidney stones can be common and recur once youve had them, there are simple ways to help prevent them. Here are some strategies that can help:
1. Drink enough water. A 2015 meta-analysis from the National Kidney Foundation found that people who produced 2 to 2.5 liters of urine daily were 50% less likely to develop kidney stones than those who produced less. It takes about 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily to produce that amount.
2. Skip high-oxalate foods. Such foods, which include spinach, beets, and almonds, obviously raise oxalate levels in the body. However, moderate amounts of low-oxalate foods, such as chocolate and berries, are okay.
3. Enjoy some lemons. Citrate, a salt in citric acid, binds to calcium and helps block stone formation. “Studies have shown that drinking ½ cup of lemon juice concentrate diluted in water each day, or the juice of two lemons, can increase urine citrate and likely reduce kidney stone risk,” says Dr. Eisner.
4. Watch the sodium. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Federal guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams . If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily sodium to 1,500 mg.
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How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones
There are several ways to decrease your risk of kidney stones, including:
- Drink water. Drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses every day . Staying hydrated helps you urinate more often, which helps flush away the buildup of the substances that cause kidney stones. If you sweat a lot, be sure to drink even more.
- Limit salt. Eat less sodium. You may want to connect with a dietician for help with planning what foods you eat.
- Lose weight. If youre overweight, try to lose some pounds. Talk to your healthcare provider about an ideal weight.
- Take prescriptions. Your healthcare provider may prescribe some medications that help prevent kidney stones. The type of medication may depend on the type of stones you get.
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.
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What You Need To Know About Kidney Stones
Aug 07, 2019Cedars-Sinai Staff
Passing a kidney stone is said to be some of the most severe physical pain a person can experience.
You may picture someone passing a kidney stone in excruciating pain while a small rock moves through their bladder, but according to Dr. Brian Benway, director of the Comprehensive Kidney Stone Program, pain peaks much earlier in the stones journey.
Nothing subtle about a kidney stone
Contrary to popular belief, passing a kidney stone once it reaches the bladder isnt the painful part, says Dr. Benway.
The pain usually starts once the stone has migrated from the kidney into the ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
Basically, for the first-timer with a kidney stone, the symptoms are not subtle.
The pain is usually sudden and quite severe on one side of your back and it can cause immediate nausea and vomiting, says Dr. Benway
Basically, for the first-timer with a kidney stone, the symptoms are not subtle.
This sudden pain will begin to ebb and flow after the first few hours, gradually getting better after a few days. Dr. Benway says you shouldnt wait for the pain to easeseek evaluation right away.
Along with pain, kidney stones can sometimes be associated with infection, which will present itself as a fever, he says.
Go to the ER right away if you have strong pain with nausea or fever.
Follow Up With Your Doctor Or Kidney Specialist As Directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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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.
Avoiding Recurrence Of Kidney Stones
If you have had one kidney stone, some tips that may help to prevent a second stone forming include:
- Talk to your doctor about the cause of the previous stone.
- Ask your doctor to check whether the medications you are on could be causing your stones. Do not stop your medications without talking to your doctor.
- Get quick and proper treatment of urinary infections.
- Avoid dehydration. Drink enough fluids to keep your urine volume at or above two litres a day. This can halve your risk of getting a second stone by lowering the concentration of stone-forming chemicals in your urine.
- Avoid drinking too much tea or coffee. Juices may reduce the risk of some stones, particularly orange, grapefruit and cranberry. Ask your doctor for advice.
- Reduce your salt intake to lower the risk of calcium-containing stones. Dont add salt while cooking and leave the saltshaker off the table. Choose low- or no-salt processed foods.
- Avoid drinking more than one litre per week of drinks that contain phosphoric acid, which is used to flavour carbonated drinks such as cola and beer.
- Always talk to your doctor before making changes to your diet.
Drinking mineral water is fine it cannot cause kidney stones because it contains only trace elements of minerals.
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Medication For Kidney Stones
For most people with recurrent calcium stones, a combination of drinking enough fluids, avoiding urinary infections, and specific treatment with medications will significantly reduce or stop new stone formation.
Certain medications such as thiazide diuretics or indapamide reduce calcium excretion and decrease the chance of another calcium stone. Potassium citrate or citric juices are used to supplement thiazide treatment and are used by themselves for some conditions where the urine is too acidic.
For people who have a high level of uric acid in their urine, or who make uric acid stones, the medication allopurinol will usually stop the formation of new stones.
Pain Originates In Your Lower Back Near Your Kidneys
MYTH BUSTED: When the pain hits, it will most often center a little below your abdomen after the stone journeys into the ureter. The ureter is funnel shaped but gets much narrower the closer you get to the bladder. A kidney stone is like getting a rock through a straw, thats why the pain is so intense. You have an organ that has so many nerve endings and when it is irritated the pain is excruciating. The stones begin to block the urine flow, causing urine to fill up in the kidney and descend. This then causes nausea and pain beyond your imagination.
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Drinks For Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are solid masses of crystal. They can be incredibly painful and somewhat frightening. Staying hydrated is a crucial way to stop kidney stones or even treat them once they happen. Still, drinks for kidney stones arent all created equal.
You need to choose carefully, as some drinks will even make matters worse. For example, cola and coffee can be a problem as they may dehydrate you, which increases your risk of kidney stones.
Similarly, keep an eye on drinks that are high in fat, like smoothies, Bulletproof coffee, and many drinks from Starbucks. Sticking to a low fat diet is often recommended as a way to decrease the risk of calcium stones, so high fat drinks could be a bad decision.
The drinks featured in this list, on the other hand, can help to keep you hydrated and healthy. Some decrease the risk of kidney stones in other ways too.
- Herbal Teas
Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone
Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.
Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.
The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:
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Are Home Remedies Effective For Kidney Stones
For some people who have had many kidney stones, home care may be appropriate. When passing a kidney stone, drinking lots of fluid is important. In fact, this is the most important home care measure. Medications may help control the pain . However, if it is the first time one has had symptoms suggestive of a kidney stone, it is important to see a doctor right away.
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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Easy Ways To Prevent Kidney Stones
Did you know that one in ten people will have a kidney stone over the course of a lifetime? Recent studies have shown that kidney stone rates are on the rise across the country. Those in the know believe that some major misconceptions may be the culprit.
The National Kidney Foundation has teamed up with Dr. Allan Jhagroo, a kidney stone specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, to help you stay stone-free by debunking some of the major kidney stone myths and misconceptions.
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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.
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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.
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 .
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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.