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Kidney Stones by Jessica Unruh

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Being diagnosed with kidney stones means you have the tendency to form them, but this can be considered quite trivial. Yes, extreme pain and discomfort can occur, but as long as you understand what they are, how they form, and how to prevent them, before long they can be considered insignificant.

A kidney stone is a hard deposit made of minerals and acid salts that are formed in the kidney and can pass through your ureter tract into the bladder and out through your urethra. Stones can vary in size; from a small grain of salt to the size of a golf ball. If a stone is too big to pass a doctor may have to remove it with surgery. Stones typically tend to develop in adult males; though research has shown any individual can form kidney stones. Those who are overweight, those who do not drink enough fluids, or those whose intake of sodium enriched foods is higher can be at risk as well.

A few symptoms of kidney stones include; moderate to severe abdominal pain, consistently needing to urinate, pain and pressure during urination, nausea and vomiting, and colored urine such as pink, red or even brown. The most common symptom among an individual who has a kidney stone or stones is lower/side back pain, anywhere from severe to moderate depending upon the location and the size.

Kidney stones can form in various ways; there is not one particular cause for them. A kidney stone forms when your urine levels are too concentrated and allow minerals to stick together and crystallize. A few causes for this can be low intake of fluids; mainly water and higher intake of fruits or vegetables, those stones are known as calcium stones. Calcium stones are considered the most common stones. Stones can also form in response to an infection; known as struvite stones, these can grow quick and become quite large. People with a high protein diet may form stones called uric acid stones. Finding out which stone is forming in your kidney is important and in order to do that certain tests can and should be done. A blood test can be taken to reveal if there is too much calcium or uric acid in your blood. A 24 hour urine culture which can detect what is passing through your urinary system. Image testing can be done as well to see the location and size of a stone. Most valuable test is an analysis of the actual stone, which would be caught through a strainer.

Once the stones have been identified by a doctor or specialist, then treatment can be done. Treatments for kidney stones can be as simple as increasing your water or liquid intake. If a stone is small enough to pass through your ureter then pain pills may be given as well as medication to break up the crystalized stones into smaller fragments. If the stone is too large to pass, then surgery is an option. Prevention is the most important factor when diagnosed with kidney stones. To prevent stones from forming you should increase your liquid intake, mainly water, watch your sodium intake, and restrict certain foods from your die; such as high amounts of sodium or oxalates like chocolates, soy, and nuts. Calcium enriched foods are still good to eat just keep away from calcium supplements.





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