What are Kidney Stones?
A kidney stone is a crystalline and hard mineral material that gets formed within the kidney or in our urinary tract. Kidney stones are a common cause of hematuria (blood in urine) and often cause severe pain in the abdomen, groin or in the flank. Kidney stones are also called renal calculi. Urinary stones, mostly develop in patients who are between 20-49 years and people who have suffered more than one attack of this illness are always prone to further stone development.
People with chronically elevated uric acid levels are also more prone to the formation of uric acid related kidney stones. Pregnant women, though the numbers are few, at times develop kidney stones. Factors that may contribute to kidney stone formation during pregnancy include a slowing of the passage of urine, due to decreasing bladder capacity because of her enlarged uterus and increase in the progesterone levels in her body.
Often dehydration from reduced fluid intake, over time, leads to the formation of kidney stones. This illness is more common in men than in women. The condition of having a stone or multiple stones in the kidney is known as nephrolithiasis. However, having stones in other locations in the urinary tract is known as urolithiasis.
What are the first signs of kidney stones?
Kidney stones may develop to anyone irrespective of the age. It is a stone-like collection of minerals and salt which are made up of uric acid or calcium. The stones develop inside the kidney and travel to other body parts. The sizes of kidney stones vary and if the kidney stone is left untreated, it will become large in size and develop more complications and it will occupy the entire kidney.
Smaller stones won’t cause any symptoms until it reaches the ureters. The first signs of kidney stones are a pain in the belly, back or groin side, burning sensation or pain during urination, an urgency to urinate, foul smell urine, nausea and vomiting, chills and fever, oliguria, blood traces in the urine.
What are risk factors for kidney stones?
- Dehydration is the prime cause of kidney stone and it forms due to lack of fluid in the kidney. So, drinking insufficient water increases the risk factors of kidney stones.
- It is known that obesity plays a significant job in kidney stones. It might lead to single and recurrent episodes of kidney stones.
- Patients who suffer from chronic urinary tract infections may have chances of forming larger stones in the kidney. These are commonly called infection or struvite stones.
- Metabolic conditions such as renal tubular acidosis, hyperparathyroidism, cystinuria, may increase the risk of kidney stones.
- Obstruction in the kidney or ureters, horseshoe kidney, Ureterocele, Calyceal diverticulum, Vesicoureteral reflux, Ureteral stricture, and Medullary sponge kidney are other risk factors of kidney stones.
- Diet plays a key role in the development of kidney stones and it has been found that high-sodium foods have the tendency to develop renal stones.
Which foods cause kidney stones?
- Perhaps the most ideal approaches to maintain a strategic distance from kidney stones is to avoid exorbitant salty nourishments, meats, and other creature protein.
- To avoid calcium oxalate foods because the calcium in your pee combines with oxalate and forms such stones.
- Avoid taking high-calcium oxalate foods such as Cocoa powder, Sweet potatoes, Almonds and cashews, Baked potatoes with skin, French fries, Raspberries, and okra.
- Eating salt raises the measure of calcium in the urine. Hence limit your fast foods, condiments, canned foods, and packaged meats.
- Farthest point creature protein, for example, cheddar, fish, meat, pork, eggs as they may raise the odds of most sorts of kidney stones.
- Nutrient C has the inclination of making the body produce oxalate. So, take only 500 mg of vitamin c a day.
How kidney stones are diagnosed?
Diagnosis of kidney stones is a controversial procedure. Usually to confirm the diagnosis of this illness, imaging tests are performed on the patients. In case of medical emergency non-contrast CT scans are done on the patients, since this can be done rapidly and it helps to rule out other causes for flank and abdominal pain.
However, in the recent times, as it is believed that CT scan exposes the patients to significantly more radiation, ultrasound scans along with plain abdominal X-ray is used for diagnosing kidney stones. When patients are put on medication, it has been observed that small stones pass out naturally through the urine. However, for larger stones (beyond 9-10mm) lithotripsy is done to break up the larger stones into small pieces, with the help of shock waves, so that they can pass out through the urinary system.
What are the treatment options for kidney stones?
According to the type of stone, treatment is provided to the patient. Generally, the person is advised to drink at least eight glasses of water to increase the urine flow. People who suffer from severe dehydration, nausea or vomiting may be advised on intravenous fluids.
Kidney stones removal:
- Narcotic and pain killers are advised for pain and to treat infection antibiotics are advised.
- In extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, sound waves are used to break the large stones so that they can easily move to ureters and the same can be urinated easily. Local anesthesia is administered to the patient during the procedure. The patient may suffer from bruising or bleeding after the procedure. The same can be treated with pain killers or other necessary medicines.
- Ureteroscopy is another procedure in which the stuck stone in the bladder or ureters can be removed with an instrument called ureteroscope.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy is a surgical procedure and in this procedure, the surgeon removes the stones through a small incision in the back.
What are the ways for the prevention of kidney stones?
There are many ways through which you can prevent kidney stones: Best way to prevent kidney stones are staying hydrated all the time as dark urine indicates strong dehydration and it makes the calcium deposit as stones.
- Drink at least 8-12 glasses of water to stay away from the risks of renal stones. Intake of excess sodium causes water retention that easily leads to dehydration.
- Avoid taking baked foods, fried foods, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrate to say bye to renal stones.
- If you are an alcoholic, reduce the intake of it because alcohol leads cells to increase fluid output. This ultimately causes dehydration.
- Caffeine has the tendency of speeding up metabolism. It simultaneously causes dehydration. Adults are recommended to take only 4 cups of coffee and any drinks that contain caffeine.
- Taking vitamins and minerals such as fish oil, pyridoxine supplements, potassium citrate, vitamin B-6 helps in refraining from kidney stone formation.
How to prevent kidney stones naturally?
To prevent kidney stones naturally following things can be done:
- Avoid stone-forming foods: Rich in oxalate products such as Beets, rhubarb, spinach, chocolate, and tea and rich in phosphate foods such as colas can develop kidney stones. If you already suffer from kidney stones either avoid these items or minimize the quantity of intake.
- Limit animal protein: Eating abundance animal protein, for example, red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and fish support the uric acid level and it may prompt kidney stones development High-protein diet helps in diminishing citrate levels in urine accordingly averts kidney stones arrangement.
- Get enough calcium: Oxalate levels can be rise when your diet has little calcium that eventually causes renal stones. It is better to maintain the essential level of calcium either from foods or from calcium supplements.
What is the diet chart for kidney stones?
If you suffer from a kidney stone, try out the following that would give the best results:
Kidney stones diet:
- Vegetables: Bitter gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd, bottle gourd, ladies finger, ivy gourd, tinda, green leafy and vegetables
- Pulses: Kidney beans, Moong dal, Chickpeas, soybeans, and Masoor dal
- Cereals: Oatmeal, Brocken wheat, Quinoa Brown rice, Ragi
- Fruits: Pears, Grape, Custard Apple, Watermelon, Apple and Oranges
- Meat, Fish and Egg: Chicken Breast, Swordfish, Tuna, Cod, Lean Meat, Salmon, Tilapia
- Sugar: 1 Tsp/ day
- Milk and Milk products: Paneer, Skim milk, Yoghurt Cottage Cheese
- Oil: 1.5 Tbsp/ day (Mustard Oil, Olive oil, Canola oil, Rice bran Oil)
What are the precautions for kidney stone?
1. Choose more fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits, milk, yogurt and whole grains, small portions of fish, unseasoned meat and unsalted seeds and nuts. If your renal stone comes under calcium oxalate, then limit the amount of nuts intake each day as they are rich in oxalate.
2. Aim at least 12 cups of fluid intake daily. People with cystine stones should aim at least for 16 cups. If you are not used to drinking this much water or fluid, try to increase each cup day by day.
3. Do not add sugary drinks such as fruit drinks, tea or coffee while adding your fluid intake as they may increase the risk of kidney stones.