Kidney stones may be brought on by a number of different things, including a poor diet, being overweight, having a medical condition, or using certain supplements or shakes.
Kidney stones may cause problems in any portion of the urinary system. Stones often develop when urine concentration is high enough to enable minerals to crystallise and clump together.
‘Ugh, I hated dealing with kidney stones!’
From 2007 to 2008, Thina Daniel, from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape, was diagnosed and treated for kidney stones. She first felt discomfort in her back and abdomen. It required many visits to multiple physicians before it was finally determined that she had kidney stones.
“My lower back would hurt so badly that I was first associated with being pregnant. The affected organ might change depending on the source of the discomfort. The direction of the attack varied; sometimes it would come from the left, and other times the right.”
Daniel tells Health For Mzansi that physicians advised her to be mindful of her body’s demand for water. There is a wide variety of water forms, particularly those that result from the foods we eat.
“Water is my daily intake officially, and I consume mostly liquid foods.”
She adds that excessively salty meals are a no-no, and since then she has reduced her salt intake.
Who is at risk?
According to Mthatha’s Dr Mxolisi Xulu, anybody who does not drink enough water is at risk for developing kidney stones.
Alcohol is one of the issues because alcohol users urinate a lot, and when they do, they don’t drink water, leaving the body parched, says Xulu.
“Countless kidney disorders and stones affect adults beginning around age 45.
“Certain diets, consuming a diet heavy in protein, sodium (salt), and sugar may make you more susceptible to developing some kidney stones. This is particularly valid when consuming an excessive amount of salt.”
Dr Mxolisi Xulu
Symptoms and treatment options
There are many distinct types of kidney stones, including calcium, struvite, cystine, and uric acid stones, says Xulu.
“Caesium stones, often in the form of calcium oxalate, make up the majority of kidney stones.”
Having kidney stones surgically removed may heal them. However, even if your kidney stones have been removed, you are still at significant risk of developing them again, he adds.
Xulu says surgery may be required if urinary tract stones get stuck, relate to an infection, or cause complications.
A kidney stone that becomes stuck in the ureters may restrict the urine’s flow, inflame the kidney, and cause the ureter to spasm, all of which can be excruciatingly painful.
You can then encounter the following signs:
- Severe, stabbing pain below the ribcage on the side and back radiating discomfort in the groin and lower abdomen.
- Wave-like pain that changes in intensity.
- During urinating there may be pain or burning.
- Urine that is foul-smelling or pink, red, or brown.
When to visit a doctor?
If the symptoms persist, Xulu advises seeking medical attention. If this does not help, it is recommended to contact a doctor or hospital for a kidney examination.
Persons living with diabetes, as well as those who have had several surgeries on their large intestines, are at risk, Xulu explains.
“If your blood glucose levels are high, the acidity in your blood rises, which in turn causes the acid levels in your urine to rise.”
To avoid kidney stones, you should be mindful of what you consume. Xulu suggests examining the nutritional content of all foods before purchase.
“Excessive calcium supplementation, particularly when taken between meals, may cause the formation of kidney stones. Despite its bad notoriety, calcium is not the enemy.”
Xulu states that the use of supplements and shakes without a doctor’s prescription is occasionally a danger factor for kidney development and cancer.
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