Kidney stones are solid pieces of material, which form when certain substances are found in the urine. These troublesome stones vary in size and placement and the individual sufferer may experience different symptoms depending on the location and size of the kidney stones in their body. This article will discuss the symptoms of kidney stones and explore ways to prevent them.
If a kidney stone is small it might be painless, while the larger it gets the more painful the situation may get for the patient. Kidney stones can either stay in the kidneys or descend into the urinary tract. If a large kidney stone moves into the urinary tract it can obstruct urine flow and cause bleeding, which is why it is vital to get a doctor’s advice if you experience any symptoms. Kidney stones form due to high levels of calcium oxalate and phosphorus in the urine and certain foods can increase a person’s chance of developing kidney stones.
The risk of developing kidney stones increases if you have problems with digestion, experience urinary tract infections or have a blocked urinary tract. If you have a medical condition, which elevates the problematic chemicals in your urine, drink insufficient water or have a family history of kidney stones you’re also at risk of developing them. You are more likely to get kidney stones if you are over 40 years of age and eat a diet that is high in animal fats.
Symptoms of kidney stones
There are a number of symptoms that could indicate kidney stones or other problems with the kidneys. The most common symptoms are blood in the urine, sharp pains in the lower abdomen or the back and pain on urination. When a patient has a large kidney stone, they may suffer from extreme pain, nausea and vomiting. But a small stone may pass through your system without much pain at all.
If you experience vomiting, blood in the urine, a fever or chills, persistent pain, strange smelling or odd looking urine or intense pain during urination, seek medical attention immediately.
Kidney stone prevention
There are various ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. One of the most important ways to prevent these stones is to maintain a healthy weight because overweight people with a large waist circumference have an elevated risk of suffering from kidney stones. Ensure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, preferably a minimum of 2 litres daily. It is also a good idea to drink orange juice as orange contains citrate, which lowers the level at which calcium acid and oxalate acid crystallises to form kidney stones.
Other ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones is to reduce the amount of red meat you eat, along with other animal protein, including fish and dairy. Try to limit your consumption of animal proteins to 6 ounces per day. Too much animal protein increases levels of uric acid in the body which can lead to kidney stones. You can replace this protein with legumes and nuts, which are healthy, protein-rich alternatives.
Limit salt and increase potassium
It is important to cut back on salt consumption in order to reduce your chances of developing kidney stones, while increasing your consumption of potassium through healthy fruits and vegetables will reduce your risk further. Try eating bananas, squash and tomatoes for a healthy potassium boost.
Some people take a daily multi-vitamin. However, these often contain calcium and oxalates, which can increase your chance of developing kidney stones, so it is often advised that getting your nutrients solely from your diet is preferable to taking artificial vitamins. If you are at an elevated risk of kidney stones due to family history or medications, consult your doctor before regularly taking multi-vitamins.
Along with a healthy diet, perhaps the most important way to prevent kidney stones is to drink plenty of water. This alone will reduce your chances of suffering from kidney atones enormously, as drinking water helps to cleanse the body, purify the kidneys and liver, reduce waste retention and ensure the urine flow is regular. A good idea is to vary your sources of fluid, including lot of mineral water and fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies in your diet.