What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits consisting of minerals and salts that develop inside your kidneys. They are also known as renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis. When urine becomes concentrated, minerals can crystallize and stick to one another and lead to stones.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones can be caused by a variety of factors, including diet, excess body weight, various medical conditions, specific supplements, and drugs.
Other risk factors include:
- A diet with high levels of protein, salt, or glucose
- Inflammatory bowel diseases that increase calcium absorption
- Taking medications such as triamterene diuretics, anti-seizure drugs, and calcium-based antacids.
Although passing kidney stones can be extremely painful, if they are caught early enough, they typically don’t result in permanent damage. You might only need to take painkillers and drink a lot of water to clear a kidney stone, depending on your condition. Surgery might be required in other situations, such as when stones become trapped in the urinary tract, are linked to an infection, or result in complications.
A kidney stone that becomes stuck in the ureters can restrict the urine’s flow, inflame the kidney, and cause the ureter to spasm, all of which can be excruciatingly painful. You can then experience the following signs:
- Severe, stabbing pain below the ribcage on the side and back
- Discomfort in the groin and lower abdomen
- Pain that fluctuates and varies in severity
- When urinating, there may be pain or burning.
Other warning signs and symptoms could be:
- Red, pink, or brown urine
- Urine that is cloudy or has a bad odor
- A constant want to urinate, urinating more frequently than normal, or urinating infrequently
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
Ways to prevent kidney stones
Staying hydrated is key to prevent kidney stones. It is advised to consume enough fluid to produce at least 2.5 liters of urine each day. It helps to cleanse the kidneys when you pass more urine.
To help you consume more fluids, you can substitute fruit juice, ginger ale, and lemon-lime soda for water. Citrate juices may aid in the prevention of stones if the cause of the stones is low citrate levels.
You can lessen your risk of kidney stones by limiting your intake of salt and animal proteins as well as oxalate-rich meals.
To prevent the production of calcium and uric acid stones, your doctor may prescribe medicines. Consult your doctor to learn the best ways to prevent kidney stones if you’ve already had one or are at risk of getting one.
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