It’s estimated that roughly 1 in 11 people will have an experience with a kidney stone at a certain point in their lives. If you’ve never had one, you might not know what to expect. And if you have had one, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about kidney stones.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
There are many things that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. For example, kidney stones can be caused by dehydration, which concentrates the minerals in your urine and makes them more likely to form crystals. Eating a diet high in sodium, sugar, animal protein, or calcium can also increase your risk of calcium oxalate crystals in urine. And having a family history of kidney stones puts you at greater risk as well.
Can Kidney Stones be Prevented?
There are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. For example, staying well-hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet can prevent some cases. Your doctor may also prescribe medication or suggest dietary changes if you have a particular condition that puts you at higher risk for kidney stones.
How Do I Know If I Have Kidney Stones?
The most common symptom of kidney stones is pain. The pain usually starts suddenly when a stone moves from your kidney into your ureter—the tube that drains urine from your kidney to your bladder. The pain is often severe and comes in waves. You might also experience nausea, vomiting, or blood in your urine.
How Are Kidney Stones Treated?
The treatment for kidney stones depends on their size and location, as well as how much pain they’re causing. Small kidney stones may pass on their own without any treatment. But if you’re dealing with larger stones or a lot of pain, you may need medication or surgery to remove them.
What are some things to avoid if I have kidney stones?
You should avoid foods high in sodium, sugar, and animal protein. You should also limit your calcium intake unless your doctor directs otherwise. And be sure to stay well-hydrated to prevent future stones from forming.
Are there long-term risks associated with kidney stones?
There can be long-term complications from kidney stones, such as chronic kidney disease or urinary tract infections. Therefore, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment and prevention to decrease these risks.
Dealing with kidney stones can be painful and frustrating. But understanding what causes them and knowing what to expect can help make the process a little bit easier. If you think you have stones in your kidney, visit a doctor so they can diagnose and treat them accordingly.