Did you know that one in ten people will have a kidney stone over the course of their lifetime? Studies show that kidney stone rates are on the rise across the country. It is important that we should know what causes kidney stones, signs you’ve got one, and how to prevent this painful health condition.
Dr Bhoopat Singh Bhati, Consultant Urologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune, will help you stay stone-free by debunking some of the major kidney stone myths.
Kidney stones form when certain substances, such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid, become concentrated enough to form crystals in your kidneys. These crystals grow larger into “stones.”
Signs of kidney stone
Symptoms of kidney stones may not occur until the stone begins to move down the ureters.
- Sharp pain in your back, below your rib cage, in your lower abdomen, or in the inner aspect of the thigh.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Needing to urinate often
- Burning sensation during urination
- Blood in your urine
- Fever and chills
Causes of kidney stones
Diet is one of several factors that can promote or inhibit kidney stone formation. Body weight, fluid intake and environment could be the other factors.
Even though kidney stones can be common and recur once you’ve had them, there are simple ways to help prevent them with what is known as kidney stone diet.
- Drink enough water. It is found that people who produced 2 to 2.5 litres of urine daily were 50% less likely to develop kidney stones than those who produced less.
- Skip high-oxalate foods. Such as spinach, beets and almonds raise oxalate levels in the body. However, moderate amounts of low-oxalate foods such as chocolate and berries are OK.
- Enjoy some lemons. Citrate, a salt in citric acid, binds onto calcium and helps block stone formation.
- Watch the sodium. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones. Limit it to 2 to 4 grams per day
- Cut back on animal protein- meat, eggs and seafood contains purines which break into uric acid in the urine. Restrict it to once a week
Most of us have a sedentary lifestyle and are tied to our desks. During the day, we fail to drink adequate water and this has an adverse effect on our kidneys. Dehydration is a major risk factor and so is obesity, a high-protein diet, diabetes and high blood pressure.
In some cases, dietary changes may be enough to prevent kidney stones from occurring. In other cases, additional treatment including medication to break the stones up or surgery to remove the stones may be needed.