According to scientific research, around 15% of the world’s population is living with kidney stones. Among these people, 20% are men while 5% are women. Kidney stones is a condition which is very common especially in men. It is also among the most painful infections since it affects the urinary system.
This is a condition that leads to the formation of stone-like crystals in the urinary system of a person. These stones form when substances filtered from the kidney solidify instead of dissolving into the urine.
The function of the kidney is to filter excess materials from the blood. These substances are supposed to dissolve in the urine for excretion. In cases where there are less fluids in the body, these substances concentrate in the urinary system to form the stones. This happens in the ureter and the bladder. Most of the substances that form kidney stones include oxalates and phosphates.
This condition causes pain in the abdomen and the lower back. It also exhibits fever, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. The condition also leads to blood in urine as a result of rubbing stones against the urethra wall as they are passed out in the urine.
Knowing the types of kidney stones is beneficial in managing and living a health life with the condition. The types of kidney stones include:
- Calcium stones: they are kidney stones made up of calcium compounds such as calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. High levels of calcium and oxalates may increase the risk of calcium stone development.
- Uric acid stones: they are stones formed due to the accumulation of uric acid. Uric acid is a metabolic waste which is eliminated from the body though urine.
- Struvite stones: they are stones formed due to urinary tract infections. They could be very serious since they can become very large depending on the type and intensity of the infection.
- Cystine stones: they are uncommon kidney stones made out of cystine chemical.
Here are some of the tips to apply when living with kidney stones.
1. High Intake of Water
This is one of the simplest and the common methods for people with kidney stones. Since kidney stones form when minerals and salts excreted fail to dissolve in the urine, dehydration increases the formation of these stones. Intake of water helps to dissolve minerals hence preventing further formation of the stones.
Water also helps in increasing the amount of urine passed out in a day. This works by flushing out as many stones as possible.
You should never undermine your sweat at any cost. The more you sweat, the less you urinate. This allows the kidney stone components to settle in your kidneys. You should redehydrate your body with plenty of water which is enough to increase your rate of urination when engaging in exercise and sporting activities that are likely to cause a lot of sweating.
2. Watch Your Diet
There are a number of foods which contribute towards the formation of kidney stones in the body. These are foods highly rich in chemicals such as oxalates and phosphates. Oxalates are chemicals that naturally occur in some foods such as fruits, chocolate, grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, tea and legumes. Some other foods which may contain oxalates in high levels include sweet potatoes, spinach, peanuts, beets, rhubarb and chocolate. Taking the above mentioned foods in moderate quantities can be an important step in preventing the recurrence of kidney stones. Cutting down oxalate-rich foods in your meal alone cannot help reduce calcium oxalate stones. Most calcium oxalate kidney stones are formed during the process of urine formation in the kidney where calcium binds with oxalate. Drinking and eating calcium and oxalate rich foods together in a meal will make calcium and oxalate bind together in the gut before they are being processed by the kidneys. Thus it is important to avoid regular intake of oxalate-foods to stop the formation of stones further.
What if you have uric acid stones? Uric stones are common stones which can be triggered by different foods such as red meat, shellfish and organic meat. High concentration of these foods is called “purine”. High intake of purines can lead to uric acid stone formation. To help get rid of formation and recurrence of kidney stones, you should avoid high-purine foods such as shellfish, organic and red meat. Patients who have recovered from uric acid kidney stones or has kidney stones should stick to foods such as fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products and whole grains. Limiting alcohol, high-sugar foods and animal based proteins as well as eating more vegetables and fruits can help get rid of uric acid stones.
3. Intake of Calcium Rich Foods
Intaking calcium for kidney stones might seem awkward but it is a recommended method. Mostly calcium is known to be the core factor in the formation of kidney stones. However, it helps in flushing out the stones. Calcium combines with oxalate and crystallizes making it easy to pass out the stones. It tends to confuse some people who believe that high calcium intake can lead to kidney stones. Contrary to this idea, a diet with low calcium is the one likely to cause kidney stones. You should consume calcium rich foods and balance sodium containing foods to pair with the foods containing oxalates. Foods containing calcium may include milk, butter, leafy greens and nuts.
4. Use of Painkillers
This is a method where the patient uses very strong painkillers to relieve pain as they pass out kidney stones. It is advisable to use painkillers to pass as many stones as possible to prevent the formation of bigger ones.
5. Taking Lime, Vinegar and Lemon
These are substances that provide the body with enough fluids to dissolve the stones. They also provide sufficient alkaline to neutralize the acids hence preventing the formation of kidney stones.
The Bottom Line
Living with kidney stones require patience and sacrifice. If a person is ready to follow the 5 tips, he or she is capable of managing kidney stones. These measures also prevent the recurrence of kidney stones.