Kidney stones cause a lot of pain to understate the problem. Victims describe the pain as excruciating and compare it to the pain of childbirth. There are several types of stones, but if you suffer from the pain, it probably does not make much difference.
You want to avoid kidney stones if you don’t have them and get rid of them if they show up. Understanding the health problem might make things easier.
Here are 5 key facts about kidney stones:
- Women suffer from kidney stones, but they really are a man’s problem. Harvard Health says, “they are about two times more common in men … one of every eight American men will develop a kidney stone at some time during his life.”
- 80% of stones are made of calcium, and 5-10% are formed elements in uric acid. Others are formed from urinary tract infections (UTIs) or an abundance of the amino acid cystine.
- Diet has a lot to do with kidney stones. Poor hydration and high salts, too much calcium or sugars — they are all factors in forming stones. According to KidneyStones.com researchers, “Adding a bit of lemon to your water or sprinkling its tart juices on your foods can also help with stones, because it assists your body with breaking down the stone naturally.”
- Blood in the urine is a clear sign of a kidney stones problem as is a blockage that slows or stops urine flow. But, excruciating pain through the genitals, groin, lower abdomen, and back are symptoms of renal colic and a reason to get the doctor immediately. The urethra is narrow, but you can pass small stones, sometimes without noticing.
- Surgical solutions depend on the size and location of the kidney stones. The Mayo Clinic lists treatments starting with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) that uses shock waves to break the stones down. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy uses small scopes and tools to surgically remove the stones through an incision in the kidney area of the back. And, parathyroid gland surgery will remove the part of the thyroid that aggravates your calcium level by generating too much hormone.
What can improve your health?
Given the severity of kidney stones-related pain, you should understand as much as possible about the problem. It you are a man at the peak age of 30 with a family history of kidney stones, you may be a potential victim.
Under these conditions, you must watch your diet, calcium and magnesium intake, high animal protein, and too must salt and sugar. Obesity remains a leading contributing cause, your diet is something you can control.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet, for example, promotes beans and legumes, fish, fresh fruit, low- and non-fat dairy, nuts, poultry, seeds, and whole grains. Moderate exercise, blood pressure management, and reduced alcohol and caffeine help, too.
Considering the pain and the intrusive surgical remedies for kidney stones, it just makes healthy sense to increase your daily water consumption!