The Symptoms of Kidney Stones and How to Prevent Them from Building up

You may have heard of kidney stones and how painful they are. Chances are, a few of you have had to suffer through them already because ten percent of people will have a kidney stone at least once in their life.

One of these unfortunate souls claimed he passed his stones while riding a roller coaster! Researchers followed up on his claim and found that the bumps and jolts of a roller coaster can help kidney stones make their way through the body, with a 64% chance you’ll pass the stone! Crazy, right?

But what exactly are kidney stones and how do they get in your body?

kidney-stones

Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiasis, are small, hard mineral deposits formed in the kidneys that pass through the urinary tract and leave the body through the urethra.

For those of you that don’t know, *whispers* that’s where your pee comes out. They typically occur when some of the minerals in your pee become highly concentrated. See, your urine has over 3,000 different compounds in it, including salts and a wide variety of minerals.

When the amount of fluid gets out of balance with the minerals, or when your urine lacks the right substances to break them up, they may clump together, forming a kidney stone. One of the most common types is formed when a compound called calcium-oxalate becomes highly concentrated. These are aptly named calcium stones. Kidney stones, in general, vary in shape, texture, color and size. They can be as small as a grain of sand, as big as a golf ball, smooth, jagged, or even sharp.

Most kidney stones are passed out of the body in a few days, but they can sometimes take weeks. Ouch!

The buildups can cause excruciating pain in your side, back and lower abdomen, frequent and painful urination, nausea, and bloody urine. Some people have even said that passing a kidney stone is more painful than childbirth!

The amount of pain you’ll feel is pretty dependent on the type of stone. Smaller ones can easily be passed with the help of lots of water and some pain medication. But more serious stones may not come out that way. Sometimes they’re too big to exit the urethra and sometimes they’re wreaking too much havoc on the kidneys and urinary tract to be left alone.

Stones that can’t be passed naturally will need to be broken up by shock waves, surgery, or a scope that’s inserted up the urethra. So obviously the best thing is not to get these bad boys at all.

One of the main causes of the buildups is not drinking enough water, which allows the salts and minerals to build up and stick together. Your diet can also make a difference. Certain foods, like spinach, nuts, and chocolate, have a high concentration of calcium oxalate. And medical conditions like gout, urinary tract infections, and certain metabolic disorders can increase your likelihood of getting the stones. Even your genetics could play a part because kidney stones can run in families. So if your gramps has had’em, be sure to keep an extra eye out for any symptoms.

Have you had kidney stones before? Was it as painful as it sounds?

Let us know in the comments down below!

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