Friday, September 18th, 2009

Kidney Stones

kidneysKidney stones, medically termed renal calculi, are accumulations of mineral salts that can lodge anywhere along the course of the urinary tract. They can be one of the most painful of all health ailments.

For reasons unknown, kidney stones are growing increasingly common than they were at the start of the 20th century.

A kidney stone is a hard mass developed form crystals that separate from the urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney. Normally urine contains chemicals that prevent the crystals from forming. These inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone.

The most common type of stones is calcium stones in combination with phosphate or oxalate.

Other kinds of stones that form are struvite and uric acid stones.
Stones can be of speck size, smooth or jagged, or large enough to obstruct urine flow.

Facts

  • Men are four times more likely to develop kidney stones, than women.
  • Kidney stones runs in families
  • It affects two out of every thousand people.
  • It usually strikes people in the age group of 30 to 50 years.
  • It may affect children and teenagers.
  • Kidney stones are often painless and without any symptoms. Many of them pass off in urine. However, some stones will persist in the system.

Symptoms

  • Sharp pangs of pain radiating from the upper back to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating
  • Frequent urination
  • Pus and blood in the urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Sometimes chills and fever

Treatment

  • For detecting kidney stones x-rays or sonograms are done.
  • For treating kidney stones, surgery is not the first option. Most kidney stones can pass through the urinary system with plenty of water (3-4 liters of day to help move the stone along)

Lifestyle modifications

  • Drinking 12 glasses of water everyday helps in expelling stones.
  • People with kidney stones should drink lemon juice in water, the first thing in morning, as it may prevent formation of further stones.
  • Eating food rich in vitamin A is beneficial to urinary tract and it may discourage formation of stone. Good food sources include—carrots, cantaloupes, pumpkin.
  • Reduce your intake of animal protein.
  • Do not avoid calcium, instead if you have stones, avoid supplements and antacids with calcium base.
  • Stay away from food that contain oxalic acid like—eggs, grapes, spinach, black tea, chocolates
  • Stay active.
  • If the stone persists, causes pain, surgery may be needed to remove it.

By – Dr. Anurag Khaitan, Urologist

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Category: Kidneys / Men
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