We have all heard about kidney stones. As a kid, I used to think kidney stones were a by-product of eating stones, literally! But then I grew up. For those of you who do not know much about it, except that it pains; What are kidney stones?
Our urine is made of salt and different minerals like calcium and uric acids. Sometimes, these salts and minerals stick together and crystallizes. These crystals grow with time to form hard stones. Stones can form in the kidney, urinary tract and the urethra.
Kidney stones can go unnoticed for a long time, until they start moving. When these stones passes through the system, it gets lodged on the walls of the urethra or kidney. That is when the pain actually starts. A kidney stone is best diagnosed with the help of a ultrasound, intravenous pyleography(IVP) or CT scans.
- Intense pain in back, belly and groin areas
- Pain while urinating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in urine
Are You At Risk?
Kidney stones can occur due to a variety of reasons and can happen to anyone. It is more probable in men than women and occur between the age of 20-50. The main cause of kidney stone is dehydration. There is a decrease of urine volume and excess of crystalline substances. Genetics can also play a role. Kidney stones can also occur if there is a family history.
People with certain diseases like hypertension, gout or UTI(urinary tract infection) can also develop kidney stones. Certain medication can also induce the formation of stones. Kidney stones could also be a life-long problem. If a person has had a stone once, he is vulnerable to the formation of more stones many times in his lifetime. In the US, kidney stones are a widespread problem as an attribute of obesity. Physical inactivity is also known to increase risks.
Pregnant women are indirectly also at risk. Due to the increase of progesterone, the passage of urine is slower than a normal person. Also a pregnant woman generally has lesser intake of water due to decreased bladder capacity.
Prevention and Treatment
Kidney stones can occur and go unnoticed in a lot of people. Stones can be as tine as a grain of salt, which can pass through the ureter by drinking plenty of water and fluids. High levels of calcium, salts and proteins have been connected to the formation of these stones. So having only a small of meat and other proteins would prevent it’s formation.
But sometimes, these suckers cannot be avoided. There are several ways of treating it artificially. Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses shock waves to break a kidney stone into smaller pieces that can be more easily expelled from the body. Stones can also be taken out surgically or with the help of a uteroscope.
As a precautionary measure, one should drink 8-10 glasses of water everyday. Did you know, rollercoasters are supposed to help pass kidney stones. It is studied that the centripetal force that occcurs helps in making the stone move and pass through the bladder.
Though this gives you a medical reason to ride the rollercoaster, stones are very painful. Be sure to check with your doctor if you happen to have such pains. Eat good, stay fit and be healthy!