In recent decades, our eating habits have changed – and perhaps not for the better – and cause problems that existed less when people still ate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Now we have pizza, hamburgers – and we see the results!
For instance, kidney stones occur more frequently. They are small (or larger) masses that are created when the minerals found in urine turn into solid crystals. These crystals will grow and will move from your kidney into the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. If the stones get stuck, it may cause an infection and even to permanent damage in the kidney.
Men get kidney stones more likely, but recently the number of women who suffer from them is rising. As mentioned before, this has to do with a change in our food patterns. You may be at risk if you only eat junk food, if you don’t drink enough water, if you excess in the intake of vitamins C and D, if you consume alcohol or take medication. Also, middle aged people are more at risk than younger people.
When the kidney stones are small, they may not cause pain yet. You’ll only start to feel them once they get bigger. The pain will mainly concentrate in the lower back or abdomen.
Symptoms of kidney stones are a sudden or constant pain in your side, lower back, groin or even the genitals. Lots of women feel a pain in the lower abdomen during menstruation. This can point to kidney stones, but not necessarily. A visit to the doctor is always best, in case of doubt!
The presence of blood in the urine can also point to kidney stones. Blood in the urine is always an indication that something is wrong, that there is damage to the tissue inside the kidney.
When a stone has found its way to the ureter (the tube connecting your kidneys and bladder), you’ll find that urination may be painful and very frequent. It may also be accompanied by a urinary tract infection.
Other symptoms may consists of fever, a loss of appetite, occurrence of vomiting and nausea, constipation or – on the other hand – diarrhea, a lot of sweating and a general feeling of tiredness.
The treatment of kidney stones can often exclude surgery. Depending on the size of the stone (smaller than five millimeters), a stone may be removed by drinking lots of water and being physically active. Here the doctor can prescribe some meds to reduce the pain or treat an infection.
In other cases, surgical ways to remove kidney stones can involve the use of shock waves, under local anesthesia, to target shock waves which break kidney stones into crystals. A stone in the ureter can be removed by a cystoscope, a narrow flexible instrument. Out of the ureter, the stone is broken down by laser beams.
But it doesn’t need to come to this. Take care of your physique and your eating habits, and you may never suffer from kidney stones.