Kidney stones are a collection of minerals in the urine that form crystals and grow into larger solid pieces. When the crystals are small, they are easily passed out but when they grow bigger and move through the ureters or bladder or urethra, they cause severe (usually intolerable) pain in the back along with nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.
Different types of kidney stones are formed depending on the genetics and lifestyle of a person. The composition and cause of kidney stones decide what type of stones are formed. Common types of kidney stones include:
- Calcium oxalate stones
- Uric acid stones
- Struvite stones
- Cystine stones
- Calcium phosphate
What conditions can cause kidney stones?
- Not drinking enough water or fluids every day.
Not consuming enough water or fluids increases the concentration of minerals and salts that are present in the urine. (Lower solvent + higher solute = higher concentration). The minerals present in the urine combine together to form tiny crystals which grow bigger as more and more mineral gets deposited on the crystals.
Small stones may be easily passed out but larger stones need to be broken up or surgically removed from the body.
Consuming more or enough water does not only keep your body hydrated but also reduces the concentration of the minerals reducing the risk of kidney stones formation.
- Diet with high oxalate or meat-based proteins
If your diet consists of rich oxalate foods such as spinach, beets, etc, more oxalate or uric acid are released into the urine that helping in the formation of calcium oxalate stones or uric acid stones. Increasing the intake of calcium will be advised because more calcium is absorbed in the intestine along with oxalate and they combine in the intestines instead of in kidneys.
Obesity puts you at risk of hundred other medical conditions including the formation of kidney stones. You need to make sure that you are in your ideal weight to avoid several medical conditions. Try working out regularly and keep a tab on what you eat (avoid processed and canned foods especially salt) and your weight.
Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, one of the weight loss surgeries puts a person at higher risk of kidney stones as this causes malabsorption.
- Genetic conditions.
Certain genetic conditions lead to excess release of amino acid, cystine into urine that results in the formation of cystine stones.
- Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can make the urine more acidic leading to the formation of uric acid stones. People suffering from diabetes are advised to consume more water which can help remove some of the sugar in the blood through urine. This also helps in reducing the acidity of urine and also the risk of formation of kidney stones.
Gout is a condition where uric acid crystals form in the joints due to the build-up of excess uric acid in the blood. The uric acid stones can also form in the kidneys and can be painful.
This is a problem with parathyroid glands that pump too many hormones that increases the calcium levels in blood and urine. High amounts of calcium in the urine can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate stones.
- Renal tubular acidosis. This is one kind of kidney disease that causes more acid to build up in the body.
- Certain antibiotics and medicines to treat HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Drinking a good amount of water and other fluids/juices etc is the most preferred solution to avoiding the formation of recurring kidney stones. Also, go through the symptoms of kidney stones and how the back pain due to kidney stones differs from normal back pain to understand when you need to see a good nephrologist near you or in your city.