Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. Other chemical compounds that can form stones in the urinary tract include uric acid and the amino acid cystine.
Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are rock like structures formed in the kidney. The stones are made out of certain substances that are found in the urine and can block the flow of urine and cause bladder inflammation. The kidney stones can appear in the kidney and the ureters and cause pain during urination. It is possible to reduce the kidney stones by drinking lots of water.
Drinking more fluids. You need to drink enough water to keep your urine clear, about 8 to 10 glasses a day. Try to drink 2 glasses of water every 2 hours while you are awake. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and are on fluid restrictions, talk with your doctor before increasing your fluid intake.
The formation of stones in the kidneys or urinary tract is not an uncommon disorder. The stones are formed from the chemicals usually found in the urine such as uric acid, phosphorus, calcium, and oxalic acid. They may vary in consistency from grit, sand, and gravel-like obstructions the size of a bird’s egg. Stones may form and grow because the concentration of a particular substance in the urine exceeds its solubility. Most kidney stones are composed either of calcium oxalate or phosphate, the latter being most common in the presence of infection. About ninety per cent of all stones contain calcium as the chief constituent. More than half of these are mixtures of calcium, ammonium and magnesium, phosphates and carbonates, while the remainder contains oxalate.
Keep a cap on your calcium. “Of all the stones we see, 92 percent are made of calcium or calcium products,” says Dr. Fugelso. If your doctor says your last stone was calcium-based, you should be concerned about your intake of calcium. If you’re taking supplements, the first thing to do is check with your doctor to see if they are really necessary. The next thing to do is check the amount of calcium-rich foods—milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy foods—you eat on a daily basis. The idea is to limit—not eliminate—calcium-rich food in your diet.
Chief among these is acid to quickly dissolve those jagged edges and thus reduce that agonizing pain. Don’t be alarmed at the prospect of drinking acid, because many of the beneficial foods we eat contain acid. For example, that freshly squeezed Florida orange juice — a great way to start your breakfast — contains citric acid. And cranberries, prunes and plums are among some of the best health-giving foods, yet are rich in benzoic acid. Even that old favorite for keeping the doctor at bay: the apple has high levels of malic acid, which give the fruit its clean, sharp taste.
Your doctor may ask you to catch the kidney stone by passing your urine through filter paper or a tea strainer. The stone can then be analysed to find out what type it is to help guide your treatment.