Many people have compared the pain from kidney stones to labor pains. It’s intense sharp waves of pain with the reality of having to pass the stone. At the end though you don’t have anything to show for the pain you experienced. Summer can also be a prime time for stones. Many stones actually form in the winter, but start moving and cause pain, becoming more apparent in the summer. During warmer weather, we sweat more and aren’t as hydrated which causes issues.
Kidney stones are relatively common with an estimated 10 percent of Americans experiencing kidney stones in their lifetime. They form when the balance of water, salts, minerals and other substances in urine is off. They develop when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances like calcium than the fluid in your urine can dilute.
Kidney stones have no single, definitive cause. However, the most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. Stones are more common in men than women, and unfortunately having one kidney stone increases your chance of having another by about 50 percent.
It’s safe to say that no one wants to experience a kidney stone. What can you do to prevent them?
- Drink Water – Since not drinking enough water is the No. 1 cause of stones, the best prevention is drinking more water. Extra water will dilute substances in your urine that lead to stones.
- Cut the Salt – A diet low in salt can also help. Your sodium intake can increase the amount of calcium in your urine, so try limiting your daily amount of sodium to 2,300 mg.
- Get Enough Calcium – Don’t consider calcium as the enemy. Be sure to get the daily-recommended amount of calcium in your diet without taking supplements. Calcium in food doesn’t increase the risk of stones; in fact, if you’ve had a calcium oxalate stone, you should include 800 mg of calcium in your diet.
- Watch Your Diet – Some foods are rich in oxalate that can make you more kidney stone prone. Avoid foods such as beets, chocolate, spinach and nuts. Eating too much animal protein like red meat, eggs, seafood and poultry can also boost your level of uric acid and lead to stones developing. For most people, particular foods and drinks will not trigger kidney stones unless they consume them in extremely high amounts.
- Lose a Few – Obesity can increase your risk of developing kidney stones significantly. This can also be related to diet, but being overweight gives you a predisposition to stones forming. The degree of obesity doesn’t have much effect, so it’s important to get within your normal weight range.
At Arkansas Urology, we recognize that no one wants to have a kidney stone. However, if you or a family member is struggling through the pain of a stone, we can help. We are conveniently located throughout Arkansas to better serve you. Give us a call today at 1-877-321-8452 whether you have kidney stones, need a routine screening or are experiencing other urological complications.