Have you ever wondered how kidney stones end up forming in the body? Kidney stones, although relatively common, can causes extreme discomfort and pain to those who experience them. The good news is that kidney stones are preventable and manageable.
Formation of Kidney Stones
Our bodies naturally excrete metabolites through urine, but if the urine becomes overly concentrated, minerals and crystals can accumulate over time. This accumulation, known as supersaturation, eventually leads to the crystallization of minerals, forming solid stones that can obstruct the urinary tract.
Causes of Kidney Stones
- Dehydration: Dehydration is a major contributing factor to kidney stone formation. Inadequate fluid intake reduces the volume of urine, leading to higher concentrations of minerals that can crystallize and form stones.
- Dietary factors: What you eat and drink plays a key role in kidney stone formation. A diet high in calcium, oxalate, sodium and other minerals can increase the risk of stone formation.
- Family history: You may be at a higher risk of developing kidney stones if close family members have a history of them.
Other causes can include:
- Medical conditions such as hypercalciuria and gout
- Certain medications
- Urinary tract abnormalities
- Infections in the urinary tract
Prevention and Management
Preventing kidney stones involves addressing the underlying causes with a medical professional. Prevention strategies include:
- Hydration: Stay hydrated. Proper hydration is key to reducing the risk of stone formation. Aim to drink 10-12 glasses of water per day.
- Diet modification: A well-balanced diet can help you manage kidney stones. Your healthcare provider may recommend dietary changes to reduce intake of oxalate-rich foods, sodium and animal proteins.
- Regular check-ups: If you have a history of kidney stones and other factors, regular check-ups with your urologist can help monitor your kidney health.
By addressing risk factors and adopting a proactive approach to kidney health, individuals can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing kidney stones and associated complications. At NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health, our urology team is by your side, offering comprehensive services and the education you need to manage your kidney condition. To learn more, visit us online or call 847-618-3800.