Kidney Stones Prevention And Treatments

Kidney stones prevention and treatments. Kidney stones can be one of the most excruciatingly painful ailments. There are some measures, however, which are said to help prevent and treat this condition.

A kidney stone is a solid chunk of mineral salts containing calcium, oxalate or uric acids that have bonded together inside one or both kidneys. These formations can also be found in the bladder. Without treatment, they continue to increase in mass as long as they are present in the kidneys.

Most kidney stones are composed of calcium and oxalate. Oxalates are mineral salts not processed in the body that pass in the urine. These are present in foods such as green vegetables, chocolate, nuts, strawberries and tea. Rhubarb has a very high oxalate concentration.

Kiney stones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. They usually cause intense pain as they move along the ureter, the tube through which urine passes.

Kidney stones can be caused by several factors. Among them are:

---heredity-family history of kidney stones

---excess calcium in the diet

---excess uric acid in the body (gout, etc.)

---dehydration caused by intense activity or living in a very hot climate

---urinary infections

---urine blockage caused by other ailments

---absorption problems in the body

---diet high in oxalates

Symptoms of a kidney stone attack can include severe pain involving the back that often spreads to the abdomen and groin. The pain, caused by the stretching of the urinary tract, can be excruciating. These stones are usually visible on x-rays. However, with urinalysis and other tests to determine the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, a physician can make a diagnosis even for stones that do not show up on x-rays, as with uric acid kidney stones.

During an attack, it is recommended that large amounts of water be consumed, at least three quarts daily. Physical activity is also encouraged since this might help to pass the stone. Passing a small stone may be accomplished without medical assistance. A doctor may prescribe medication to relax the muscles of the ureter to ease passage of the stone. For larger stones, a doctor might resort to surgical removal since large stones can permanently damage the kidneys. In surgical removal, the kidney is cut open and the stone is removed. This is not often the first option used, however, since some degree of kidney function is lost when this procedure is performed. Repeated surgeries could cause serious consequences aside from the kidney stones.

Lithotripsy is a procedure that use shock waves to break kidney stones into small pieces that may be passed from the body. The passing process happens gradually, usually within two to three months after the procedure and can be severely painful. Another non-invasive method is ureteroscopy, in which a medical instrument is placed inside the ureter to remove the stone manually. Laser disintegration is another option.

Some methods to prevent kidney stone formation include:

---eating a diet containing a variety of foods rich in magnesium and potassium such as avocados, rice and broccoli, which lower the level of oxalate

---eating more fiber, which helps to reduce the level of calcium in the urine (calcium being a component of the stones) It should be noted, however, that drastically reducing the amount of calcium in the body could be detrimental to those suffering from osteoporosis. Before making this diet modification, a physician should be consulted.

---eat a varied diet of fruits and vegetables and, if necessary, take diet supplements to reduce oxalate

---reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption

Untreated, kidney stones may cause urinary tract infections, kidney damage or loss of kidney function. If pain disappears during an attack, this may not be a sign that the condition has reversed itself. A stone might have blocked a kidney and shut down its function without causing pain. Whenever a kidney stone attack is experienced, it is wise to seek medical help if a stone has not passed. Also, if there is prolonged pain, fever, blood in urine, burning upon urination or a frequent urge to urinate, a physician should be contacted.

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