Kidney stones can vary in size. Some have been known to grow as large as golf balls.
The leading cause of kidney stones is a lack of water in the body.
Stones are more commonly found in individuals who drink less than the recommended eight to ten glasses of water a day.
When there is not enough water to dilute the uric acid (a component of urine), the urine becomes more acidic.
An excessively acidic environment in urine is conducive to the formation of kidney stones.
Symptoms of kidney stones
- Severe pain in the groin and/or side
- Blood in urine
- Vomiting and nausea
- White blood cells or pus in the urine
- Reduced amount of urine excreted
- Burning sensation during urination
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Fever and chills (if there is an infection)
Kidney stones are more common among males than females. Most people who experience kidney stones do so between the ages of 30 and 50. A family history of kidney stones also increases one's chances of developing them.
Similarly, a previous kidney stone occurrence increases the risk that a person will develop subsequent stones in the future if preventative action is not taken.
Certain medications can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Scientists found that topiramate (Topamax), a drug commonly prescribed to treat seizures and migraine headaches, can increase the likelihood of kidney stones developing.
Additionally, it is possible that long-term use of vitamin D and calcium supplements cause high calcium levels, which can contribute to kidney stones.
Additional risk factors for kidney stones include diets that are high in protein and sodium but low in calcium, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high blood pressure, and conditions that affect how calcium is absorbed in the body such as gastric bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic diarrhea.
TREATMENT OF KIDNEY STONES
If you are in severe pain, your GP can give you pain relief by injection. A second dose can be given after half an hour if you're still experiencing pain.
Medication can also be injected to treat the symptoms of nausea (feeling sick) and vomiting. This is called an anti-emetic (anti-sickness) medication.
You may also be given a prescription for painkillers, anti-emetics, or both, to take at home.
You may be advised to wait until you pass your kidney stone when you go to the toilet, and to try to collect it from your urine. You can do this by filtering your urine through gauze or a stocking.
Give the stone to your GP so that they can have it analyzed to help determine any further treatment you may need.
You should drink enough water to make your urine colorless. If your urine is yellow or brown, you're not drinking enough.