What Do You Know About Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones have been found throughout history. Scientists found evidence of kidney stones in a 7,000-year-old Egyptian mummy. Kidney stones can also be called renal stones, renal calculi, or by the medical names nephrolithiasis and urolithiasis.

Kidney stones (calculi) are solid or semi-solid mineral-like substances occurring in the urinary tract. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. These stones can form anywhere within the urinary tract, within the kidney, within the ureter (the tube draining urine from the kidney), or in the bladder. Kidney stones are crystalline masses that form from minerals and proteins in the urine. Kidney stones form when a change occurs in the normal balance of water, salts, minerals, and other things found in urine. These stones may contain various combination of chemicals. The most common type of stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate.Depending on their composition, they may be smooth, round, jagged, spiky or asymmetrical. In fact, these kidney stones may be as small as a grain of sand or larger than a golf ball.

Kidney stones are more likely to form in hot climates or in the summer time. They are already more common in the warmer Southern states than in the North. Be informed that the formation of these stones are more common in men, up to three or four times more common than women. When people become dehydrated, the minerals in their urine become more concentrated. Therefore, the most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Besides, kidney stones can also result from infection in the urinary tract; these are known as struvite or infection stones. It has been diagnosed that they are very common in individuals that have a diet that is high in oxalates. Another known cause for formation of kidney stones is high alkalinity or high acidity of urine. However, genetics also can play a role in causing kidney stones. A person who has had kidney stones often gets them again in the future. Actually, you have a 50% chance of recurrence within 8 years of the first episode.

Crystals that remain small enough will travel through the urinary tract and pass out of the body in the urine without even being noticed. However, kidney stones can become an obstruction and get stuck as they are trying to pass, which can cause sharp, intense pain. Pain from the kidney stone is first realized in most people when it drops from the kidney and travels to the bladder. The larger the stone is the more severe pain that is felt as the stone moves through the ureter. Pain usually begins abruptly on one side of your body, then becomes constant and intense. If the pain shifts downward, toward the groin, the stone is traveling downward through the ureter closer to the bladder.

Kidney stones are a painful condition that you want to get rid of any way you can. Their existence can also bring about nausea and vomiting, blood in the urine, fever, pain with urination.

Eating less meat, fish, and chicken may help patients with calcium oxalate stones. Patient should at least eat 3-4 apples every day. Similarly, raw watermelon or watermelon extract is also very good for health. Foods with a high magnesium-to-calcium ratio include oats, barley, bran, bananas, brown rice, avocado, corn, coconut, rye, and potato. Limit high-calcium, low-magnesium, vitamin D-enriched milk products. Patients with HIV who take the medication indinavir (Crixivan) can form indinavir stones. Other commonly prescribed medications associated with stone formation include dilantin and antibiotics like ceftriaxone (Rocephin) and ciprofloxacin (Cipro).

Doctors usually try to control hypercalciuria, and thus prevent calcium stones, by prescribing certain diuretics, such as hydrochlorothiazide. These medicines decrease the amount of calcium released by the kidneys into the urine by favoring calcium retention in bone. Doctors may prescribe painkillers to help alleviate discomfort associated with passing a stone. They may also prescribe medicine to relax the ureter and facilitate the passage of the stone. Doctors often prescribe potassium citrate to disrupt kidney-stone formation. Lemonade also contains citrate, and some research shows that lemonade therapy reduces the rate of kidney-stone formation (Journal of Urology, April 2007).Medication, such as alpha blockers, can help patients pass these stones, and Stroup’s research suggests that it is twice as effective as regular therapy. But when medication fails, stones must be surgically removed