Passing a kidney stone is said to be the worst physical pain a person can experience. The pain is typically sudden and intense, and can cause nausea and vomiting. Kidney stones cause more than half a million people to visit emergency rooms each year. If you had kidney stones, I hope this article finds you and many others.
Diet, as you may know, can play a roll in the development of kidney stones, however that's not always the case. I recently had the most fantastic unintentional conversation with a friend who wasn’t feeling well and mentioned they were suffering from kidney stones. What she said caught my attention. “I can’t believe I have kidney stones again. I know better, but the real kicker is I know how to prevent them! Well anyway…!” Then she goes into what we are actually meeting about and I just had to stop her midsentence. “What do you mean you know how to prevent them?” Then my friend goes on, “My husband had my stones analyzed and I haven’t had stones in 20 years. I recently had COVID, which has left my brain in a fog. I wasn’t thinking clearly and I had ice cream. Shortly afterwards, and in less than 24 hours I had diet coke. When I combined those two together my body makes kidney stones.” Needless to say, I had a few more questions for my friend, and I began to do my own research.
My father-in-law gets kidney stones. Knowing exactly what could be causing these rotten little boogers is news to me. Why hasn’t this been mentioned? In the worst-case scenario, people lose kidneys because they believe they will pass, and if they don’t, the kidneys become nonfunctional. So how can you prevent kidney stones ever again? How do you prevent them from forming in the first place?
Can you find out what you’re doing to cause the formation of your stones?
According to my own research what you eat can play a big role, but unfortunately it isn’t an exact science. Dehydration seems to be the most common cause, so keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of WATER! This is important. Stone formation can occur when your urine contains a higher concentration of stone-forming compounds than your urine can dilute. Kidney stones are more likely to occur if you have certain medical problems or take certain drugs. A urinary tract infection can be linked to the formation of a stone. A number of factors, including genetics, can cause kidney stones. If you have a family member who has had problems in the past, the chances of developing stones are higher.
How to reduce your risk?
Knowing what caused them in the first place is always a good start. It is important to get your stones analyzed. An analysis of your stones determines what the stone is made of, like calcium and oxalate, which is a natural chemical found in food. According to WebMD, it is important to know which type of stone you have, calcium, struvite, uric acid, or cysteine stones. Knowledge is power, knowing which type of stone can help determine the possible cause, and help prevent or decrease your risk.
Choose to do additional testing.
Schedule an appointment with your primary provider. Blood and 24 hour urine test can help identify other contributing factors and underlying conditions, including infections. The more your provider knows the better.
Stones can form from a variety of reasons. The most common cause of stone development is from dehydration and diet. Eating foods high in sugar and salt increase your risk. The type of stone depends on the chemical component and can help you reduce your risk and identify the likely cause.
This article is merely to inform, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your health care provider and dietitian for questions regarding your health and medical conditions.
If you would like more information go to kidney.org, and type “kidney stone” in the search field. They have wonderful articles on kidney stones and it is an excellent source for any information regarding the kidney including kidney disease.
Author: Jennie WelterShare