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What You Should Know About Kidney Stones


Kidney-stoneKidney stones are hard crystal formation consisting of calcium mineral. It is otherwise called as renal calculus while some doctors refer to it as nephrolithiasis. The crystalline minerals are usually formed because of the buildup of dietary minerals coming from the urine. In small sizes kidney stones are negligible however when it grows in size or drains down from the kidney to the bladder, obstruction occurs and symptoms begin to surface such as painful urination.

Types of kidney stones

There are different types of kidney stones and they are named according to their location within the urinary tract. Stone formations located in the kidney are called nephrolith, those in the ureter are called as ureterolith and urolith when it is located anywhere within the urinary tract.

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1.    Calcium oxalate stone

The most common type is the calcium oxalate stone. The stone is composed of calcium compound which at a higher level in the body may result in the development of the condition called hyperparathyroidism.

2.    Uric acid stone

The urine usually carries with it a waste product called the uric acid which when they build in large amounts in the kidney will result to the formation of kidney stones. The high level of uric acid is present in the urine owing to the consumption of high levels of proteins usually found in red meat. The uric acid level also easily form into stone when the person has a low urine output. People with gout and inflammatory bowel diseases are also prone to developing a high level of uric acid that can be a potential risk of developing a kidney stone.

3.    Cystine stone formation

One rare kidney stone formation is from the chemical cystine which is usually common only as a hereditary risk. The cystine stone formation is highly preventable with medicine. When left untreated however, the stone can grow bigger in size and can cause significant blockage in the urinary system that will make surgical treatment necessary.

4.    Struvite kidney stone

This stone formation may be accompanied with an infection to the urinary tract system and when they grow large in size it can become a serious condition that can cause kidney obstruction. The stone is responsive to antibiotic treatment but may require for its removal by surgery when they grow dangerously large enough.

kidney-stoneSources of kidney stone formation

A dehydrated body results in a low-level of urine volume and higher concentration level of the urine that can induce the formation of kidney stones. High quantities of calcium and uric acid can lead to the crystalline stone formation can result in the blockage of the urinary system. About 70% of kidney stones are due to the combination of calcium and oxate crystals. Other compounds that can induce the kidney stone formation are amino acid cysteine and magnesium ammonium phosphate.

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Infections such as a UTI can also increase the levels of struvite stone formation in the kidney. Other medical conditions can also trigger the development of kidney stones in the body such as hyperparathyroidism, hypercalciuria, cystinuria, inflammatory bowel disease, hypertension and diabetes. Dietary factors can also contribute to the risk of developing a kidney stone. Animal protein intake and excessive consumption of sugar are also regarded as risk factors. The higher level of salt in your diet may also cause stone formation in the kidney as well as the over supplementation of Vitamin D. Oxalate level in spinach is also high and people who consume spinach at high levels in their diet are also prone to developing kidney stones.

Diagnosing kidney stones

Kidney stones are difficult to diagnose without undergoing a laboratory test and procedure like a CT scan. Small stone formation in the kidney can become asymptomatic and only cause disturbing symptoms when they grow large enough as to significantly obstruct the urinary system. The initial symptoms that can signify the presence of a kidney stone include painful urination (dysuria), nausea, fever, bloody urine and pus present in the urine which is indicative of an infection. Some may also feel an urgency to urinate. Among the prescribed procedures for diagnosing kidney stones are lithotripsy, surgery, blood tests, physical examination and radiography.

Treatment for kidney stones

The symptom of pain, nausea and vomiting are usually managed by taking medications to make the person feel comfortable. Small stones usually resolve on its own especially when it is passed out in the urine. Large kidney stones however require special forms of treatment that include ureteroscopy, open surgery, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy. The choice of procedure will usually depend upon the location and size of the stone formed.

Cleansing food to take

There are certain food groups that are known to provide some relief and preventive value against kidney stones. These are radish, watermelon, parsley basil leaves, celery and fennel rose hip. Drinking a glass of apple or tomato juice once a day may be helpful. Increase your fluid intake in order to help the kidney effectively flush out the crystalline stones through the urine.

Foods to avoid

Soybeans contain high level of oxalates and eating them too much in your diet may increase the risk to kidney stone formation. The oxalate binds with the calcium in the kidney and when combined together they form kidney stones. Fermented soy based foods however are safer because the fermenting process helps to reduce the amount of oxalates. Sugar can also be a risk for kidney stone formation because it can interfere with the absorption of calcium and magnesium in the body. Excessive sugar level can also increase the size of the kidney and may cause different pathologies.

Don’t wait to get more complication for your kidney stone. Make sure to have a regular check up to prevent the progression of your kidney stone diseases.

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