How to Avoid and Treat Kidney Stones
Have you ever had a kidney stone? If not, consider yourself very lucky! I have been one of the unfortunate who has suffered from these nasty little buggers. And I’m here to tell you . . . it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my entire life. So what exactly is a kidney stone? What causes them? And is there any way to prevent them from affecting you? Keep reading for answers to all those questions and more.
Have you ever had a kidney stone? If not, consider yourself very lucky! I have been one of the unfortunate who has suffered from these nasty little buggers. And I’m here to tell you . . . it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my entire life.
At one point I was in so much pain that I think I became a bit delirious. I do remember, however, crawling on my hands and knees to get around because I just hurt too much to stand and walk. My husband came home from work and found me curled up in a ball on the floor, tears running down my face. I also remember pleading with him, the doctor and the kidney stone gods to please just make the pain go away.
Sounds fun – huh? NOT.
Luckily my stones passed on their own without any surgical intervention required. But I will never forget that pain. And if you’ve had a similar experience, you likely won’t soon forget either.
So what exactly is a kidney stone? What causes them? And is there any way to prevent them from affecting you? Keep reading for answers to all those questions and more.
Kidney Stone Basics
A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney out of substances in the urine. They can occur in any part of the urinary system, from the kidney to the bladder, and may appear one at a time or in groups. The stones may be small or large, and are often extremely painful and accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Kidney stones are most common in people in their 30s and 40s and are three times more common in men than in women. They also tend to run in families. One in four Americans can expect to have a kidney stone at some point in their lives.
There are several types of kidney stones:
Calcium stones are the most common and occur when there is too much calcium in the urine, which can happen when the kidneys don't work properly or if too much calcium is absorbed from the stomach and intestines. Some calcium stones are caused by too much of a chemical called oxalate (found in many foods, including spinach, rhubarb, leafy vegetables, coffee, chocolate, and tomatoes), which binds easily with calcium and forms a stone. People with certain medical conditions, such as an overactive parathyroid gland (a gland in that neck that regulates calcium levels in the body) or inflammatory bowel disease, are more likely to develop calcium stones.
Struvite stones (also called infection stones) form in bacteria-infected urine.
Uric acid stones occur when there is too much uric acid in the urine. They might develop as a result of excessive dehydration, and are common in people who have gout, a disease that causes high uric acid levels in the blood.
Cystine stones are a rare form of stones that occurs in individuals with cystinuria, a disease resulting from a birth defect that causes the kidney to allow too much cystine into the urine.
If you’re lucky, your kidney stones won’t cause any symptoms and you won’t even know they existed, but severe pain is not uncommon. The stones can also lead to a urinary tract infection, with symptoms that include chills, sweats, and painful urination.
Do you have a kidney stone? If the pain is unbearable and you’re vomiting excessively, get to the hospital immediately.
To keep kidney stones from forming and treat existing ones, try these natural remedies:
Drink lots of water. Make sure you avoid getting dehydrated and keep your system clear of toxins and impurities.
Take magnesium supplements. This mineral may help prevent stones from forming or increasing in size.
Eat a low-protein diet. Protein has been shown to increase the amount of uric acid and calcium in the urine, which can lead to the formation of stones.
Hopefully you will never have to suffer through a bout with kidney stones. I honestly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! But with the above information you can take measures to prevent kidney stones from disrupting your life.