Symptoms of kidney stone and what you should do next!
Apr 19, 2017
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones or Nephrolithiasis is a common urinary tract ailment characterised by the formation of a solid, crystalline mineral stone within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones are formed when the normal constituents of your urine become too concentrated and begin depositing into stone-like sediments. These sediments or kidney stones either remain in your kidney or may move through your urinary tract and be expelled along with your urine. One in every 20 individuals suffers from kidney stones at some point in their life. Dehydration is claimed to be the biggest cause for kidney stone formation.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
When small, kidney stones pass easily without any pain or other symptoms. However, large stones tend to block urine flow, which can be quite uncomfortable. Pain is the most predominant symptom of kidney stones. In extreme cases, when the kidney stone gets lodged in the ureter, a tube that connects your bladder to your kidneys, the pain can be severe.
Contrary to common belief, the size of the kidney stone doesn’t always correspond to the intensity of the pain. Very often it is the construction of the area in which the kidney stone is positioned that causes discomfort. The frequency and intensity of the pain differ from person to person. You may face a persistent pain, or the pain may fluctuate, occurring for a few minutes and subsiding, and then reoccurring again after a few minutes. Alternatively, the pain may last longer while fluctuating in intensity. The severity of pain may increase or decrease as the stone moves to a different spot along your urinary tract.
The pain can occur in the lower back, below the ribs and spread to the lower abdomen and groin. Furthermore, you may experience pain during urination. Your urine too will show signs of kidney stones such as discolouration, cloudiness coupled with a foul smell. If the stone infects your kidney, you may experience nausea and vomiting as well as fever and chills.
How can you keep kidney stones at bay?
Drink the right amount of water
Drive yourself to drink at least eight glasses of water daily. If you have a history of suffering from kidney stones, make sure you drink extra water to dilute the substances in the urine that lead to stones. Drinking citrus beverages, like lemonade and orange juice, helps prevent stone formation.
Prevent excessive sweating
While hot yoga and saunas might be rejuvenating, if indulged in too frequently, these sweat-intensive activities may lead to kidney stones. Excessive loss of water through perspiration causes lesser urine production resulting in stone-causing minerals to settle as stones in your kidneys and urinary tract. Ensure that you are well hydrated during summer months as well as when engaging in activities that cause a lot of sweating.
Manage your calcium levels
Getting too much or too little calcium in your diet can cause kidney stones. Low calcium levels cause oxalate levels to rise leading to kidney stones. At the same time, too much calcium causes calcium-based stones. Thus, it is essential to consume only the right amount of calcium appropriate to your age.
Keep sodium in check
Excessive sodium consumption increases the level of calcium in your urine leading to stone formation. A low-sodium diet does not only help prevent the formation of kidney stones but is also good for your blood pressure and heart.
Stay away from stone-forming foods
If you have suffered from kidney stones in the past, it’s best you avoid oxalate-rich foods like beets, chocolate, spinach, tea, and nuts. Also refrain from drinking colas, which are known to be rich in phosphate that can give rise to kidney stones.
While most often, kidney stones eventually exit from the kidney through the ureter and bladder and finally through the urethra on their own, medical treatment is required when the pain is severe. If you suffer from kidney stones, make sure that you consume ample fluids to facilitate the passage of kidney stones and seek medical advice to curb the pain.
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