When your urinary tract isn’t working as it should be, your body might signal you with pain in your side and back below the ribs, pain while urinating, oddly colored or smelling urine, nausea or vomiting, and a change in urination habits. These symptoms could also be accompanied by fever, chills, or radiating pain that comes in waves. If you’re experiencing this combination of symptoms, you very well could be suffering from a common ailment known as kidney stones.
What Is A Kidney Stone And Who Gets Them?
Kidney stones are a common problem caused by urine that is high in minerals and salts. When the level of these crystal-forming substances is too high and fluid in your urine is too low, the stones can form. While there is no single cause of kidney stones, there are risk factors that can contribute to someone forming them. There are also multiple types of kidney stones that can be caused by anything from calcium to infections. Stones can also form due to dehydration or hereditary disorders. One in 10 people develop kidney stones during their lifetime.
Although there is no single way to predict whether you will develop kidney stones, there are some common risk factors. They occur more frequently in men, and also in people between ages 20 and 49. Once you have had a kidney stone, you’re more likely to develop another one in the future. There are certain medical conditions that can also put you at risk, like hyperparathyroidism, hypercalciuria, which causes high calcium content of the urine, diabetes, high blood pressure, or inflammatory bowel disease. Your diet may also put you at risk, most notably people who don’t drink enough fluids and are dehydrated. High intake of animal protein, diets high in salt and sugar, and high intake of vitamin D supplementation have also been known to contribute to kidney stones. Obesity is also factor, so it’s best to maintain a healthy BMI. Lastly, patients who have had digestive surgeries like gastric bypass are more likely to develop kidney stones since the surgery changes the way your body absorbs water and calcium.
When Should I Seek Medical Care?
Most people describe kidney stones as being accompanied by excruciating pain, often sending them to an emergency room. The stones can be diagnosed via CT scans, abdominal X-rays, or ultrasounds. Most stones will pass on their own within 48 hours with proper hydration and fluid intake, and doctors will prescribe medication to manage the pain and symptoms to make you comfortable once the stone has passed. In some cases, if the stone is too large and can’t be passed, there is a surgical procedure that can be performed.
One of the easiest ways to prevent kidney stones in otherwise healthy individuals is through managed diet and proper fluid intake. If you have experienced a kidney stone in the past or are prone to them due to health risks or lifestyle, visit us at Mississippi Urology Clinic to discuss your concerns. Our team of doctors aim to not only treat your condition, but to also educate you on how to prevent stones from forming in the future.