What is a Kidney Stone?


Kidney Stones can be quite large.

If you have never had a kidney stone before, you should be happy. So what is a kidney stone? A kidney stone is a small crystal formed in the kidneys. It is estimated that 13 percent of men and 7 percent of women will have a stone in their lifetime. A stone can be as small as grains to as large as golf balls. Most stones will pass during urination without pain. Some stones are painful to pass during urination and some stones need to be surgically removed.

What is the urinary tract?

The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra. The kidneys have several functions. The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste from the body. The kidneys also filter chemicals throughout the body.  They also produce hormones and regulate volume. Every day the kidneys filter more than one quart of waste and excess water. The bladder stores urine. The urethra carries waste from the bladder and out of the body.

What are the stones made of?

Most stones are made of calcium. Ten percent of stones are made of uric acid. Uric acid is formed when urine is too acidic. The least common stones are made of struvite. Struvite is composed of magnesium, phosphate and ammonium. These stones commonly occur due to the breakdown of bacteria in the urine. Struvite stones are usually accompanied by a urinary tract infection.

What are the symptoms of a kidney stone?

Bloody urine, painful urination, abdominal pain and vomiting are all kidney stone symptoms. Most stones do not show symptoms until they are lodged between the bladder and kidneys. There are some common symptoms of a stone that include the presence of blood in the urine, pain and obstruction in urinating. Other symptoms include frequent pain in the lower abdomen and vomiting. Some people may only notice slight pain during urination. Stones are diagnosed by straining a urine sample. If stones are found in the urine, the doctor will identify the type of stone that is present in the urine.

How are the stones treated?

Men are more likely than women to get a stone. They are more prevalent in people with a family history of stones. They are also common in people between the ages of 20 to 50. The stones usually go away without medical treatment, but large stones need to be removed by a doctor. There are several different treatment methods to pass a kidney stone. One method uses a shock wave to crush the stones. Another method requires a surgeon to make an incision into the kidneys to crush the stones. Lastly, the surgeon can insert a laser into the urethra to break apart the stone.

Medications and supplements


Pain relief can be a necessity for kidney stones.

There are cheaper and less invasive ways to treat a small stone. A stone not treated with surgery can be treated with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Most people take over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and natural supplements to treat a stone. Ibuprofen and aspirin are the most popular over the counter medications. Hydrocodone is the most popular prescription medication. Prescription pain medications are often taken after using OTC medications and natural supplements. There are several natural supplements that are used to treat stones. Nettle leaf and carrots are often used to treat stones. Parsley will also treat stones. If you find it hard to eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, you should try juicing your fruits and vegetables to get the nutrients you need to keep your kidneys healthy.

Kidney stones causes and preventions

The majority of kidney stone causes are the result of too much calcium in the diet. Stones can be prevented by drinking several glasses of water every day.  If you already have a stone, you can help it pass by drinking a gallon of water in a 24 hour period. Cranberry juice can relieve the pain associated with stones. If you are dehydrated, you are more likely to develop stones.  You should stay away from foods and supplements high in calcium. Limit your intake of protein, and eat more citrus foods.  Besides changing your diet, you can prevent kidney stones by getting regular massages. If you notice pain in your abdomen and blood in your urine, you should see a doctor to get a treatment plan for your stones.

Being mindful of your water intake, eating more fiber and getting more sleep can help keep your urinary tract system healthy. The chemicals in cigarettes can also harm your urinary tract. People who smoke cigarettes are more likely to develop kidney failure and bladder cancer. Scientists have found the chemicals in cigarette smokers urine cause lung cancer. Leading an overall healthy life can help keep kidney stones away and painful symptoms away. Best of all, you will keep your urinary tract healthy.

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