Drink More Water To Prevent Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are solid, hard, stone-like masses formed inside one of the both kidneys or within ureters. They are usually formed inside the kidney, but are sometimes found in the urinary bladder or ureter. They are often painless when in kidney but can cause severe pain as they travel from the kidneys to the bladder. They may cause bleeding or block the flow of urine.

The stones vary in size from 2 millimeter to certain centimeters. They can be smooth or rough and usually yellow or brown. Kidney stones usually form when urine becomes too concentrated which may cause minerals and other substances in urine to form crystals on the inner surface of the kidneys. Over time, these crystals may combine to form a small, hard mass, or stone. In most of the cases kidney stones can be prevented by simply drinking more water and making a few dietary changes.

Once the kidney stone has formed in a kidney, it may travel down through the other parts of the urinary system and can block the flow of urine. There are chances of severe pain, infection, kidney damage or even kidney failure. The more important thing is that kidney stone can lead to failure of the kidneys which is life threatening. Kidney stones are more likely to occur in the age of 20 to 40.

The function of the kidneys is to eliminate byproducts of the metabolism inside the body system, whereby they collect the ingredients for kidney stones like oxalate, uric acid and calcium. The ingestion of too many insufficient fluids makes a person prone to kidney stone formation. There are many potential causes for the formation of kidney stones. It is likely to come about when the normal balance of water, salts, or minerals changes. Eating foods high in oxalate(, such as dark green vegetables may be one of the causes of kidney stones. However, there are controversy in clinical nutrition research result. Kidney Stone can also be inherited. In many cases, the reasons of development of kidney stone(s) are unknown. Some metabolic disorders like in Cushing’s syndrome (a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body's tissues to high levels of the hormone cortical) may increase the risk of kidney stone(s).

There are four main types of kidney stone(s) which have different causes. They are calcium oxalate stones, struvite stones, uric acid stones and cystine stones. About 80% of kidney stones formed by adults in the U.S. are calcium oxalate stones. It is not clear from the research, however, that restriction of dietary oxalate helps prevent formation of calcium oxalate stones in individuals who have previously formed such stones. Since intake of dietary oxalate accounts for only 10-15% of the oxalate that is found in the urine of individuals who form calcium oxalate stones, many researchers believe that dietary restriction cannot significantly reduce risk of stone formation. when healthcare providers recommend restriction of dietary oxalates to prevent calcium oxalate stone formation in individuals who have previously formed stones, they often suggest "Reduce as much as can be tolerated" .

Some of the possible risk factors to the kidney stones include; inadequate drinking of fluids, inadequate intake of diet rich in vitamin A, E, B-6 and fiber, lack of exercise, urinary infection, urinary pH imbalance, magnesium and potassium deficiency and long term dehydration. Taking medicines like aspirin, antacids, calcium and vitamin-D supplements and steroids can increase the risk of kidney stones.

Signs & Symptoms:

Kidney stones often cause no pain while they are in the kidneys, but they can cause sudden, severe pain as they travel from the kidneys to the bladder. In general, symptoms are seen when kidney stones become large enough to interfere with the normal flow of urine or when they cause infection. It is also apparent that the symptoms depend on the location of stone and size of the stones. Some of the common signs and symptoms may be as followings:

  • Severe pain in the back side, between ribs and hip
  • Swelling in abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills and Fever
  • Pain during urination
  • Shivering
  • Feeling of need to urinate more often than normal
  • Cloudy and bad smelling urine
  • Blood and sediment in the urine

The intense pain associated with kidney stones usually occurs during the period of time that the stone is being slowly moved along the small ureter between the kidney and the bladder.

Treatment:

In most of the cases, kidney stones can be treated with increased fluid intake, dietary changes and medication. About 90% of stones will pass by themselves within 3 to 6 weeks. Nowadays, removal of stones is done with lithotripsy technique (where stones are broken down into small fragments by high energy shock from a device outside the body).

There are also some effective alternative therapies for the kidney stones which include dietary modification, detoxification, kidney cleansers, vitamin supplements, and herbal remedies. Lack of intake of fluid increases the mineral concentration in the kidneys and, with it, the chance that stones will crystallize.

Hydration is therefore the most important approach in the treatment and prevention of kidney stones. Lemon juice is helpful. Celery, parsley, and watermelon help to cleanse the urinary tract. Foods containing high amount of oxalic acid should be eliminated. Vitamin B6, E and A are helpful supplements as their deficiencies may be the risk factor for the kidney stone. Cranberry extract is believed to reduce urinary calcium levels. Similarly, Magnesium & Inositol hexaphosphate (IP-6) supplements either reduce or prevent the formation of calcium- oxalate crystals in the urine.

References:
  1. An Educational Resource for Sufferers with Kidney Stones by Roger Baxter (http://www.rogerbaxter.com/KidneyStone/ Pages/KidneyStone_Contact_RB.html)
  2. James F.Balch, Mark Stengler. Prescription for Natural Cures. Johnson Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey.pp349-354. 2004
  3. http://www.medicinenet.com
  4. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php? tname=george&dbid=48
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/ ask_the_doctor/kidneystones.shtml
  6. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/ kidney_stones/article_em.htm
  7. National Kidney Federation (UK) (http://www.kidney.org.uk/)
  8. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ kidney-stones.htm
  9. National Kidney Foundation (2006). 30 East 33rd Street, New York, NY, USA (http://www.kidney.org)
  10. http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/ kidneystones/KS_urinary.html
  11. http://en.wikipedia.org

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