What causes kidney stones (and how do you get rid of them)?

July 03, 2017 | by Alison Sage, D.O.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Tiny kidney stones can cause some of the worst pain you’ve ever felt.

Some have described the pain of passing a stone as worse than childbirth. Men, trust me, saying it hurts is an understatement.

Luckily, there are things you can do to help prevent stones from forming.

As reported by the Urology Care Foundation, two of the main risk factors for kidney stones are dehydration and diet. Drinking enough water keeps your urine diluted, which makes it less likely that the minerals in your urine will form stones. If you eat a lot of meat, it may raise the acid levels in your body, which makes it easier for some types of kidney stones to form.

Obesity is a risk factor, as well as family history, some medications and medical conditions. Regular appointments with your primary care physician will help you keep your risk in check.

So how can you tell whether you have stones? The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases lists these symptoms of kidney stones:

  • Severe, sharp pains in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin
  • Pink, red or brown blood in your urine 
  • A constant need to urinate
  • Pain while urinating
  • Inability to urinate or can only urinate a small amount
  • Cloudy or bad-smelling urine

Your pain may last for a short or long time, or it may come and go in waves. Along with pain, you may have nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Urine and blood tests can determine whether you have high levels of the minerals that form kidney stones in your body. Your doctor will likely use a CT scan or X-ray to verify the diagnosis.

Small stones may pass out in your urine on their own. Larger stones may end up blocking or getting stuck in your urethra. A urologist can remove or break down larger stones using a variety of methods.

Once you’ve had kidney stones, it’s safe to say you will never want to experience them again. Your prevention plan should be tailored to the type of stones you had and your personal risk factors. It may include dietary changes as well as medication.

The urologists on staff at Edward-Elmhurst Health are able to offer a wide range of urology services for adults and children. Learn more.

Find a Healthy Driven doctor that’s right for you.

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