Contributed by: Abshar Faheem
Kidney stones are firm deposits of minerals and acid salts that cling together in concentrated urine. Nephrolithiasis is the medical terminology used for kidney stones. They may be disturbing or painful when crossing through the urinary tract, but normally they don’t lead to permanent damage. Kidney stones normally begin to grow in your kidneys although they can occur anywhere along your urinary tract, which consists of kidneys, urethra, bladder, or ureters. At least one in 20 people may get kidney stones at some point in their life.
How do you feel when you have kidney stones?
Seldom, you don’t feel any warnings or signs and never feel that you had kidney stones. But some other times, you may feel you have kidney stones. General signs and symptoms of kidney stones include sharp, cramping pain in the back, below ribs, testicles, lower, abdomen, or belly. This feeling of pain oftentimes flows to the lower abdomen area. The pain usually begins all of a sudden and comes in waves. The pain may come and go as your body tries to clear out the stone. Other signs of kidney stones include a burning sensation during urination, the desire for frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, or sometimes pink, red, or brown blood in your urine. Sometimes, a kidney stone is too tiny that doesn’t match the intensity of pain. Tiny or smaller stones can be more hurtful than big ones, or sometimes big stones can make you feel a dull ache.
Why do kidney stones occur in your body?
Kidney stones develop when your pee holds a huge concentration of minerals and other elements like calcium, oxalate, and uric acid that get together to form crystals. Crystals cling together to form one or more stones. Stones occur when your urine doesn’t hold adequate fluid and other materials to prevent them from occurring. A kidney stone may be as small as a speck of dust, and it can move out while urinating without your knowing. But a huge one can hinder your urine flow and can hurt you a lot. Some individuals state that the pain can be more painful or severe than giving birth to a child.
Several things can contribute to forming kidney stones, including your diet and specific medications. If someone in your family had a kidney stone, there are more chances that you can get kidney stones. Kidney stones usually have no specific cause although various factors such as lack of water, diet, obesity, type 2 diabetes, gout, or genetic diseases may contribute to increasing your chances of getting them.
What can you do to avoid kidney stone pain?
Individuals who want to stop kidney stones from occurring in the initial phases or lessen the chance of recurrence and individuals who already had stones can add some habits in their routine such as drinking excess water, restricting salt or animal protein to a limit, restricting food rich in oxalates and consume adequate calcium in their diet.
As kidney stones are of different types and may differ according to the minerals they carry, dietary instructions might also differ or vary. Firstly, A person should speak to their doctor regarding which foods form kidney stones. Hence, it will assist them to decide what they should and should not add to their diet. It will also assist them to evade the development of stones in the future. You can also read our article on kidney stones: the dietary do’s and don’t do’s
The following are some recommendations on what to add to a diet to evade or reduce the development of kidney stones.
- Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are a fundamental part of any diet. Expanding the portion of vegetables in your diet can support a person in preventing stone development. You can also add fruits that may be dried, frozen, or fresh. Fruits containing plenty of citric acids, such as oranges and lemons, have also proved a concrete effect in stopping kidney stones. People should learn the fruits and veg that have plenty of oxalate content, including spinach, almonds, beets, cocoa powder, and try to curb the volume in the diet. On the other hand, people can also mix them with foods that contain plenty of calcium.
- Drinking plenty of water: Absorbing extra water reduces the elements in urine that lead to stones. Aim to drink enough liquids to pass 2 liters of urine a day, which is approximately eight usual 8-ounce cups. You can also include some citrus beverages, like lemonade and orange juice. The citrate in those beverages aids to prevent stone formation.
- Reduce sodium: A rich sodium diet may cause kidney stones because it raises the quantity of calcium in your urine. So, a low-sodium diet is suggested to reduce the chances of stone formation. Some guidelines advise limiting total daily sodium consumption up to 2,300 mg. If sodium has played a role in the formation of kidney stones in the past, strive to reduce your daily consumption to 1,500 mg. This will also help you to maintain your blood pressure and heart health
- Calcium-rich foods: Dietary calcium ties oxalate in your intestines and this helps to drop the amount of oxalate that gets consumed into the bloodstream and then eliminated or passed by the kidney. This reduces the concentration of oxalate in the urine, so there will be fewer chances that it will tie urinary calcium. This leads to a reduced chance of kidney stone formation.
- Limiting animal protein: Consuming excess animal protein such as red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, increases the level of uric acid and may cause the formation of kidney stones. A rich protein diet can also lessen levels of urinary citrate, the substance in urine that assists in preventing stones from forming. If you have more chances to get stones, restrict your daily meat consumption to a quantity that is no heavier than a pack of playing cards. This can also be a healthy portion for your heart.
The bottom line
Kidney stones can be painful if left untreated. Talk to your doctor and follow all the instructions given by him. Your diet may help you to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation if you follow it properly.