Kidney stones can cause severe pain which in some cases may send you to the emergency room. Although most of the kidney stones do not cause serious damage if you do not change your lifestyle they can appear again in 5 years.
Kidney stones are made of calcium and oxalate which block your urinary tract. Some compounds in the urine prevent these stones from forming. Some of the signs that you may have kidney stones are:
- Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain on urination
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
- Persistent need to urinate
- Urinating small amounts of urine
- Urinating more often than usual
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
13 Weird Kidney Stone Risk Factors
Why some people are more prone to having kidney stones than others? Find out which are the risk factors:
- Not Enough Calcium
Kidney stones are usually made of calcium so it is logically to think that consuming too much will cause problems. But the truth is that people who consume low-calcium food are more prone to having kidney stones.
This is because calcium in the digestive tract binds with oxalates from the food, so it prevents them from getting into the blood stream and urinary tract where they can form kidney stones.
- An Obsession with Leafy Greens
Leafy greens especially spinach are rich in oxalates. If you consume a greater amount of green leaves, you can enter a greater concentration of oxalates which form the kidney stones.
Although leafy greens are among the healthiest foods, if you have problem with kidney stones you should avoid them.
- Too Much Processed Salt
Excess sodium intake can increase the amount of calcium released by the kidneys which on other hand can lead to creation of kidney stones. You can use a sprinkle of unprocessed salt when you prepare your meals but you should avoid processed food which contains a lot of processed salt.
- Too Little Citrus (and Veggies of All Kinds)
Citrus have citrate, compound which lowers the risk of kidney stones. Just add lemon or lime in a glass of water and drink it, but you should also consume more fruits and vegetables. Vegetables are rich in magnesium which is also very important mineral as it helps your body to absorb the calcium from the food. If you consume too much calcium without magnesium, the excess calcium will become toxic and will cause formation of kidney stones.
- Too Much Iced Tea
Black tea contains a higher amount of oxalate, so if you consume a lot of this tea, it can cause stone formation.
- Drinking Soda
Soda contains phosphorus acid which acidifies your urine and this process causes stone formation. The sugar, including fructose is also problematic. Foods reach in sugar can cause formation of kidney stones as it interferes with calcium and magnesium absorption. Sugar also increases the kidney size.
- Your Parents
Kidney stones often appear in people who have a positive family history for stones. The inability to efficiently absorb oxalate may be inherited from our parents.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
If you have IBD, including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you’re prone to developing kidney stones. This happens because such conditions often cause diarrhea, which on the other hand causes dehydration- a huge risk for kidney stones.
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Regular infections of the urinary tract may be a sign that you have kidney stones as these stones can block the flow of urine which leads to UTIs. So if you suffer often from UTI you should run some test to see if you have kidney stones.
- Laxative Abuse
If you are using laxatives regularly then you should know that these medicines prevent your body to absorb and use the nutrients. This may cause electrolyte imbalance which leads to stone formation. Laxative abuse also causes dehydration which also triggers the stone formation.
- Migraine Medication
Topiramate (Topamax) is a migraine medicine which increases the pH level in the urinary tract that can increase the risk of kidney stones.
It is proven that obesity can lead to changes in the urinary tract which triggers the formation of kidney stones.
Weight loss surgery can make the problem even bigger as during the surgery the oxalate levels become much higher (oxalate is the most common type of kidney stone crystal).