Kidney stones are notoriously painful, impacting over 600,000 Americans each year. For many, the pain means a trip to the emergency room and for others an uncomfortable reminder that another kidney stone is starting to form.
Kidney stones develop when crystal-forming minerals begin to oxalate in the urinary system. Foods high in calcium, salt and uric acid are usually balanced by water in the urinary system, flushing out the minerals before they become concentrated in your urine.
If these minerals begin to crystallize, they form kidney stones. As many who suffer from kidney stones know, they can range from the size of a seed up to a golf ball. Unfortunately, if you’ve had kidney stones before, your chances of developing kidney stones again increases.
Lifestyle factors are commonly associated with the formation of recurring kidney stones. If you’re eating too much animal protein, chiefly red meats and organ meats, you’re consuming high amounts of uric acid and decreasing chemicals needed to stop these minerals from crystallizing.
Obesity has also been connected to higher levels of uric acid in the urinary system, alongside overconsumption of sodium and lack of adequate hydration.
For those who suffer from recurrent kidney stones, start by addressing your diet. Can you begin to work red meat out of your diet or at least consume it less frequently? Avoid drinking and eating foods high in sodium and instead consume more fruits and vegetables. Keeping a food log can greatly improve your awareness of the foods you’re consuming.
However, simple changes to your diet aren’t always the answer to preventing recurrent kidney stones. Some individuals’ hereditary and genetic conditions can cause kidney stone development. Disorders and conditions that can increase your risk of kidney stones include, but aren’t limited to:
- Kidney Disorders
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Renal Tubular Acidosis – A disorder in which the kidneys don’t remove acids from the blood as intended, leading to increased acidity in your blood. This can also impact other bodily functions.
- Cystinuria – A disorder in which elevated levels of cystine, an amino acid that can crystallize and form stones in the urine, are present. Cystine stones can be found in the ureter, bladder and kidney.
- Primary Hyperoxaluria – A potentially life-threatening disorder where the kidneys don’t filter fluid and waste correctly.
- Cystic Fibrosis – A disorder which can increase oxalate in the urinary system and decrease chemicals that break down oxalate, due to malabsorption.
- GI conditions including: Crohn’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), hyperparathyroidism, gout, diabetes and having undergone gastric bypass.
Arkansas Urology performs detailed metabolic tests of your blood, urine and kidney stones to determine the best course of treatment and ensure you’re able to make well-informed decisions about your future. Treatments at Arkansas Urology include: medication, extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL), percutaneous nephrolithotomy, ureteroscopy. In rare cases, surgery will be recommended.
If you’re having an immediate kidney stone issue, call us at 1-844-NOSTONE for a same-day appointment.
We know how painful kidney stones are. If you’re experiencing discomfort, seek out the medical professionals and advanced treatment provided at Arkansas Urology. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Our team can change your life.