Kidney Stone Prevention
Kidney stones may be more common than you think. One in ten people will have a kidney stone throughout their life. Often causing no damage, a stone may pass on its own, but when one occurs, the chance of having another increases. Here’s how to identify the symptoms and reduce your risks:
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Symptoms vary on the size of the stone. Stones can be as small as a grain as sand, while others may be larger, some even reaching golf ball size. The larger the stone, the more obvious the symptoms will be. Though passing a stone is often done without serious damage, that doesn’t mean it’s a painless process. When a kidney stone is present, one or more of the following symptoms often occur:
- Severe pain on either side of the lower back
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
When symptoms begin, it’s best to increase fluid intake and visit your doctor as soon as possible
Reducing the Risk
Kidney stones are created from chemicals in the urine. Staying hydrated can help prevent the build-up of these chemicals. When properly hydrated, urine should be light yellow to clear. A diet high in fruits and vegetables also helps make the urine less acidic, making stones harder to form. A diet high in animal protein and sodium can increase the chances of a kidney stone. If you’ve experienced stones in the past, a registered dietitian can help you build a meal plan to reduce the chances of another stone.
How are Stones Treated?
Often, the stone will pass on its own. In some cases, when the stone is too large, it may be removed through surgery or broken up with shock-wave lithotripsy so that it’s easier to pass. Once passed, the pain will subside.
To prevent future stones, the person may be asked to increase fluid intake and/or be given medication to help make your urine less acidic.
If you experience a kidney stone, be sure to talk to your kidney doctor and dietitian early, to make sure you get the treatment and advice that’s right for you.