A kidney stone is not a friendly thing, anybody who has experienced it can tell you that. Perhaps you can relate to, or better yet, learn from this painful first-hand account of an unfortunate kidney stone encounter:
I had one a few years ago. It came out of nowhere, waking me early in the morning.
I impatiently roused my dad, dancing around the side of his bed like a leprechaun. He half-guided, half-carried me out to the minivan, and I was bent over double for most of the car ride to the doctor’s office. I was mostly worried that my appendix had burst, but only an hour later, I was sitting in the doctor’s office, pain-free and wide-eyed.
After an x-ray and a healthy dose of pain medication, the nurses (who were unbelievably friendly for having to work with a surly kidney stone victim in the wee hours of the morning) told me I needed to drink more water, drink less soda, drink cranberry juice, etc.
The also-friendly doctor explained to me that they haven’t isolated one cause of kidney stones, nor have they isolated one method of stone-prevention. According to the Mayo Clinic, kidney stones “form when the components of urine—fluid and various minerals and acids—are out of balance.” When things are out of balance, urine can start to store more crystal-forming substances like “calcium, oxalate and uric acid than the available fluid can dilute.”
In fact, my friendly doctor said, it depended on what type of kidney stone you have. There are four basic types of stones (with a few rare exceptions):
- Calcium stones: This is what most kidney stones are, and they’re usually formed by a little guy called Calcium Oxalate. This is found in your liver, as well as in some fruits, vegetables, nuts and chocolate. Risks may be increased by intestinal bypass surgery, high doses of vitamin D and several different metabolic disorders.
- Struvite stones: These stones, which can grow quite large, form in response to urinary tract (and other types of) infections.
- Uric acid stones: This is one of the more preventable type of kidney stones. They usually form as the result of high-protein diets, gout complications and in people who are dehydrated.
- Cystine stones: These are rare, and form only in people with the hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete over-large amounts of cystinuria (an amino acid).
The doctor sent me on my way, with the instruction to drink more water. Kidney stones are tricky, and occasionally quite painful, but the lasting effects are not bad.
Here are some smart ways to avoid getting a kidney stone: Risk Factors for Kidney Stones
If you’re worried about kidney stones or are currently having problems with them, get in contact with one of your MountainStar Medical Group doctors located in Northern Utah and across the Wasatch Front.