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Breaking down Kidney Stones

Breaking down Kidney Stones

  • October 17, 2019
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The kidneys are part of your urinary tract system. Their job is to control the fluid and chemical levels in the body by cleaning the blood, then creating urine from the waste and the excess fluid in the body. Sometimes, the urine in the body contains a high level of minerals and salts that form hard deposits inside of your kidneys. These are kidney stones.

Kidney stones may start out small, but can grow quite large in some cases. They sometimes don’t have any symptoms, and remain inside the kidneys without issue or, they may travel through the urinary tract to the bladder, where they exit the body through urine. Passing a kidney stone can sometimes take several weeks and may be quite painful. If the stone is too large, it may become lodged in the urinary tract, creating even more problems.

Kidneys stones can sometimes interfere with urination, this can create blockages, which may make it difficult to pass urine. Kidney stones may also make you feel like you need to urinate more often. You may feel an urgent need to use the bathroom. Sometimes this can lead to leaks if you are unable to make it to a bathroom in time.

Types

Calcium stones: These are the most common type of kidney stones. Certain diets or metabolic conditions or medications may contribute to an increase in calcium in urine.

Struvite stones: These types of stones form in response to an infection, like a bladder infection. Although rare, these stones can be more common in people prone to getting urinary tract infections. Uric acid stones: These happen to people who drink too little fluids or who eat a high protein diet. Certain conditions can also lead to uric acid stones, such as type 2 diabetes, or gout.

Cystine stones: A hereditary condition causing the kidneys to produce too much of certain amino acids.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a kidney stone may vary depending on the location and size of the stone. Some stones are so small they may not cause any discomfort at all. (Although even small stones can cause a lot of pain.) Or, the symptoms may change as the stone shifts and moves from the kidney to the bladder.

Typically, symptoms of kidney stones may include pain in the back or sides, the groin, or the lower abdomen, pain when urinating, red, pink or brown tinted urine, happens when blood enters the urine. Cloudy or bad smelling urine along with burning sensation, urge to urinate often, or feeling an intense need to empty your bladder along with nausea and vomiting.

Treatment

Waiting for the kidney stone to pass is the most common form of treatment. This can take from a few days to a few weeks. Luckily, over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve most of the discomfort you may feel. However, if you’re in unbearable pain, or the stone becomes lodged for too long, surgery to remove the stone may be required.

What can you do?

Some people are more prone to develop kidney stones, based on heredity or their own history of stones. People who have had kidney stones in the past are more likely to develop another in the future. However, there are some things that you can do to help prevent those hard mineral deposits from forming in the first place. Stay Hydrated. Ensure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated. By maintain a good amount of fluid in the body, the kidney is better able to filter calcium, making it less likely that a build up will occur.

Watch Your Diet. If you suffer from frequent kidney stones, avoid high protein diets, and reduce your sugar, and especially your salt consumption. Watch your calcium intake too to ensure you’re not overdoing it (pay attention to vitamins and supplements, especially if you’re already eating calcium rich foods).

Reduce Your Weight. Losing weight can reduce your risk for kidney stones. This is in part because reducing your weight may lead to a healthier diet, with less salty food or animal fats. Incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables into your diet and practice regular exercise to reduce the weight.

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