Kidney stones form inside your kidneys when substances in your urine begin to crystalize and stick together. Over time, these crystals can grow large enough to cause pain and discomfort. Left untreated, kidney stones can cause permanent damage and even more severe complications.
If you’re looking to find out how to get rid of kidney stones, let me tell you that it’s a lot easier to prevent this condition by adopting a good diet plan.
If you want to discover how to get rid of kidney stones, it’s essential to learn more about what they are, how they form, how to prevent them, and how to prevent them from returning again if you’ve had an episode in the past.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard, solid masses that form in the kidneys. The stones can be made up of minerals and salts that form crystals, or they may contain uric acid. They usually contain calcium but can also include other minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, or uric acid.
Kidney stones are usually small but can grow to as much as 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter. They often cause severe pain in the side and back below the ribs.
Kidney stones sometimes get stuck in the urinary tract, causing blockages that prevent urine from passing out of the body. This condition is called ureteral obstruction.
Kidney stones are prevalent and occur most often between ages 20 and 40. The pain from kidney stones makes it hard to ignore this condition and often leads people to seek medical treatment.
The good news is that most kidney stones pass through the urinary tract without any problem, especially when you drink plenty of liquids and increase your fluid intake if you’re dehydrated.
However, if you don’t pass the stone naturally or if it gets stuck in your bladder or ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder), you may need surgery to remove it.
Top 5 Causes of Kidney Stones?
1. Calcium Stones
Calcium is essential to bone health, muscle function, and nerve signaling, but too much calcium in the urine can lead to kidney stones.
This is especially true in people with conditions that cause them to produce more urine than average or those with diets high in salt or refined carbohydrates.
2. Uric Acid Stones
Uric acid stones form when there is too much uric acid in your body because your kidneys cannot filter it out properly due to certain medical conditions such as gout or chronic kidney disease.
Uric acid stones often cause no symptoms at first; however, they may lead to kidney damage if left untreated over time because they may lead to further complications such as infection in the kidneys or ureters.
Gout is inflammatory arthritis caused by deposits of uric acid crystals in joints and tendons. The most common places for gout are the big toe, ankles, and knees.
Doctors often prescribe medications to prevent or treat gout attacks but don’t cure them. If you have gout, you’re more likely to develop kidney stones than someone who doesn’t have this condition.
4. Genetic Disorders
Some genetic disorders affect how the body handles certain chemicals or minerals. For example, cystinuria is a rare genetic disorder that causes your kidneys to leak small amounts of amino acids into your urine.
These amino acids may form crystals that collect in your kidney and cause pain-free kidney stones (also known as cystine stones). Cystinuria affects both men and women equally; however, most people with cystinuria don’t realize they have it until they experience symptoms like pain during urination or blood in their urine.
5. Struvite (Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate) Type
Struvite stones are the most common type of kidney stone. They form when urine contains certain bacteria, usually E. coli, which produce ammonia. This process causes magnesium to bind with other elements in the urine to form struvite crystals.
The body can dissolve these crystals if they are small enough to pass through the ureter and bladder without causing damage or pain.
Why Do Kidney Stones Start?
There are many causes of kidney stones, but they all have something in common: they increase the number of crystals in your urine.
Here are some factors that can increase your risk of developing kidney stones:
- Overeating salt or other foods high in sodium (salt). Sodium makes urine more acidic. This makes it easier for tiny crystals to form.
- Drinking too much soda or other sugary drinks can increase the risk of calcium oxalate stones, which form when calcium combines with oxalate from certain foods, such as spinach and beets.
- Having a high uric acid level in your blood — might be caused by taking certain medications or having certain medical conditions like gout or leukemia.
Kidney Stone Symptoms
The pain is often described as a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing pain that may come and go. The most common symptom is severe pain in your back or side that lasts for a few minutes to several hours.
Kidney stone symptoms include:
- Pain when urinating (peeing).
- Pain in the back or side of the groin.
- Pain that spreads to the thigh or genitals.
- Blood in your urine (hematuria).
- Nausea and vomiting.
- An urge to urinate that’s difficult to control
- Frequent urination (especially at night).
- Cloudy urine.
- Fever and chills are common with bacterial cystitis or pyelonephritis (kidney infection).
Top 5 Ways to Treat Kidney Stones
If you have a kidney stone, you may want to try one or more of these five natural home remedies.
1. Drink Lots of Water
The standard treatment for kidney stones is to increase the amount of fluid you drink, which helps dilute the urine and flush out the stone.
Drink at least eight glasses of water daily and up to three liters if possible. You can also drink fruit juices, but avoid sodas and other sugary drinks as they can worsen your condition.
2. Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV lowers uric acid levels in the blood, helping prevent further stone growth. Try drinking 1 tablespoon of ACV diluted in 8 ounces of water twice a day for two weeks before your next scheduled doctor’s appointment with your urologist or nephrologist (kidney specialist).
3. Take Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium citrate supplements may help prevent calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate kidney stones from forming by binding with excess calcium in the gut.
And prevent calcium from being absorbed into the bloodstream, where it could cause crystals to form within the kidneys or urinary tract during urination. Magnesium citrate tablets are sold over-the-counter.
4. Endoscopic Surgery
Endoscopic surgery is an outpatient procedure that uses a tiny camera and instruments inserted through a small incision in the back or side of the abdomen (side-hole lithotripsy).
This treatment is usually used to treat large or multiple stones that cannot be broken up with other medicines or if there are other kidney problems or ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder).
Lithotripsy uses shock waves, or high-intensity focused ultrasound energy to break up kidney stones so they can be passed through the urinary tract.
Lithotripsy can be done in two ways: percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). PCNL is done under anesthesia, while ESWL requires no anesthesia and may be done on an outpatient basis at some medical centers.
6. Drink Water
Most kidney stones are made up of calcium, and drinking plenty of water helps flush out excess calcium in your urine. If you have to pee more than six times a day, you’re probably not drinking enough water.
7. Eat Less Animal Protein
Overeating animal protein can increase the risk of kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. It may also increase your body’s uric acid, leading to gout if it gets too high.
8. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
Sugar binds with calcium in your digestive tract, which means there’s less calcium available for healthy bones and teeth. It also increases your body’s uric acid, leading to gout if it gets too high.
9. Take Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is essential for keeping the right balance of minerals in your body — especially calcium — so if you don’t get enough sun exposure (or eat enough oily fish), taking supplements could help prevent kidney stones.
How iCare Urgent Care Help You to Treat Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can sometimes be treated at an urgent care using prescription medication. However, there are many times when the kidney stone is larger that other treatment options may be necessary. This is why iCare in Argyle is such a great option for kidney stone treatment! In the event your kidney stone requires further treatment we are connected directly with Wise Health Emergency Center where these options are available.