Kidney Stone Causes

Kidney stone causes: not everything is known about kidney stones but what is could help prevent an occurrence of this painful condition.

While well known because of their association with pain, fortunately kidney stones are not a common condition. That is probably of little consolation to the approximately two of every thousand people affected each year. Men are affected at almost twice as often as women.

The exact process that causes kidney stones is not yet fully understood. The chemistry involved seems simple enough and some common sense conclusions can be drawn, but the mechanism that triggers the formation of kidney stones has not been fully researched.

The uric acid in the kidneys reacts with certain minerals to form crystals that mass together as kidney stones. Often these stones are small enough to pass unnoticed but sometimes they are large enough that they stretch the urethra causing excruciating pain. In very rare cases, kidney stones remain lodged in the kidneys where they can grow to be the size of a golf ball and need surgical procedures to remove.

It is said that kidney stones are the male equivalent of giving birth. Those who have witnessed a woman enduring pre-delivery pains would be quite surprised to see the similarities in a man suffering through a kidney stone attack. The pain typically starts in the lower back area, extends around the side, and works its way down toward the groin area. Similarly, there is no position that seems to give relief from the pain. As for an imminent mother, the strategy becomes a case of engaging moving, stretching, and breathing techniques that shift the focus away from the pain. This phase can last for hours and can come in reoccurring cycles.

One dubious advantage that the man has is that there is no baby to be concerned with. If he reaches the point that doctors and hospitals need to get involved, they can use heavy duty drugs such as morphine to dull the pain; an option clearly not available to a pregnant woman.

Obviously the preferred tack would be to avoid having kidney stones at all. For some time it has been advised to reduce the intake of certain minerals, particularly Calcium, as a precaution against the condition. More recent research is indicating that this is not necessarily the case. Scientists are discovering that the way that Calcium is ingested plays a major factor. Experiments with different foods rich in Calcium, as well as supplement tablets, indicate that kidney stone incidence may even be lowered using some combinations. Additionally, the benefits of maintaining sufficient Calcium levels to combat bone deterioration far outweigh the odds of contracting kidney stones.

There are two other factors worth considering. The first is that certain people are more prone to getting kidney stones, meaning they will probably get them more than once. While it is not known why this is so, it does mean that if you have never had them, your chances of contracting them become increasingly more remote as you pass through the middle aged years.

Fortunately, the one single factor that does appear to play a significant role in the formation of kidney stones is also the easiest to control: dehydration. When the body is low in fluid levels, typically resulting from high activity levels in warm environments, there is less flushing of the minerals through the kidneys. This appears to afford more opportunity for the minerals to cluster and form stones. Drinking plenty of water and keeping your body hydrated may well be the best single defense against this uncommon but highly undesirable condition.

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