What Causes Kidney Stones And What Do Kidney Stone Symptoms Feel Like?
Kidney stones may be tiny, but the pain is not. Kidney stone pain has been described as excruciating as childbirth by some people. Few people who suffered kidney stones also say that no other pain they experienced is worse than kidney stone pain. Let’s know more about kidney stone symptoms and what causes kidney stones in detail.
Kidney stones are hard pieces of material that are formed from chemicals in the urine. When certain minerals are present in high levels in urine, they stick together to form a solid mass, kidney stone. They often occur when urine becomes concentrated.
Their size range can be as small as coffee grain to as large as a pea. In rare cases, even bigger stones can occur.
Kidney Stone Symptoms:
When you have a very small kidney stone, it easily passes through the urinary tract. You may not experience any symptoms. If kidney stones are larger, they will get stuck in the urinary tract and cause any of the following symptoms. Be sure to visit a physician if you have these kidney stone symptoms. If he suspects kidney stones, he will diagnose and decide the treatment option for kidney stones.
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Blood in the urine
- Sharp, severe pain in the back or lower abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urine which looks cloudy and foul-smelling
- Inability to urinate
- Constant need to urinate
- Fever and chills
What Causes Kidney Stones, And What Are The Risk Factors?
There are four major types of kidney stones based on what they are made of. Let’s see what causes kidney stones and factors which increase the risk of developing these stones.
- Calcium stones are the most common kidney stones. Usually, excess calcium in the body is flushed out by kidneys in urine. If this doesn’t happen, calcium present in the kidney combines with substances oxalate or phosphate to form stones. These are natural chemicals present in foods. Calcium stones are more likely to happen in men aged between 20 and 30.
- Uric acid stones occur in people with highly acidic urine. If you have acidic urine, a waste product found in blood called uric acid dissolves into the urine and crystallizes into stones. These stones are more common in men.
- Struvite stones occur in people who have frequent urinary tract infections. These stones can develop suddenly and become very large in a short period. These stones are composed of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate.
- Cystine kidney stone is caused due to a genetic disorder called Cystinuria. This condition occurs when there is a high level of an amino acid called cystine in urine.
Let’s See The Risk Factors Involved In Kidney Stone Formation:
Though anyone can get kidney stones, there are certain things that may increase your risk of developing them. Drinking a very little amount of water or more water loss through sweating can cause any type of kidney stone.
The next factor is personal or family history. If any of your family members have or have had a kidney stone, you are at a risk of developing it. If you previously suffered from kidney stone problems, the chances of developing new stones are high.
What food you eat and how much you eat have a role in developing kidney stones. A diet containing more amounts of sugar, sodium or protein can cause them. Being overweight or obesity is linked with a high risk of developing kidney stones.
If you had surgery anywhere in your digestive tract or having digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or prolonged diarrhoea can cause changes in the absorption of calcium and water and can increase the stone-producing chemicals in urine. Taking medications such as diuretics, calcium-based antacids, vitamin c supplements, or laxatives may also increase your risk.
Men are more likely to get kidney stones than women. They are less common in children, but children having asthma are more likely to develop them.
Based on the causes, a physician may prescribe medications which help in treating and getting rid of kidney stones.
Regardless of stone type, dehydration is the major risk factor, hence kidney stones cases are more common in summer. Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking two litres of fluids per day reduces your risk of getting kidney stones. People who are likely to develop kidney stones and are physically very active should drink 2.5 litres or even more every day. Limit your intake of sodium and animal proteins in your diet to prevent them.