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Kidney Stones?! Ouch!

My body is experiencing technical difficulties right now.

I sometimes joke with my friend’s husband that I have a voodoo doll in his likeness that I stick pins in to cause him pain. Before you think ill of me, he says the same thing to me. The only difference is when I say it I am kidding. When he says it I am not so sure. I have been feeling unexplained jolting pains lately…Anyway, today I want to talk about the pain of kidney stones. Since the full extent of my knowledge about them is that they are very painful, sometimes will pass out of the body on their own and if they don’t there is a medical procedure that will destroy them. Since that’s not enough credible information for a blog, I went to the Mayo Clinic’s website and Harvard’s website to get more specifics on this condition. That information follows:

“Kidney stones often have no definite, single cause, although several factors may increase your risk. Kidney stones can form when calcium, uric acid, oxalate, or cystine builds up in excessive quantities in the body. Most kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand, so they pass in the urine without causing any symptoms. If the stones grow larger, however, reaching the size of a pebble or even a golf ball, they cannot pass through the urinary tract and cause pain and other symptoms. Symptoms to look for:

Sharp Pain

Pain is the most widely experienced symptom of kidney stones. Where in the body the stone is lodged determines where the pain is felt most strongly. It is common to feel pains in one or both of the sides of the lower back, but if the stone is lower down, pain can intensify in the groin. Sometimes the pain starts in the back and moves around to the stomach, causing severe spasms or continuous throbbing.

Painful Urination

When a kidney stone becomes lodged in the urinary tract, urination becomes extremely painful. The kidney stone is blocking the flow of urine through the ureter or moving around against the sensitive lining of the kidney or other areas of the urinary tract. Pain when urinating is most common when the stone lodges in the area where urine enters the bladder.

Feeling Sick

The presence of a kidney stone can lead to nausea and vomiting in some instances. Nausea may be a reaction to the pain. Vomiting can lead to dehydration and loss of essential nutrients and electrolytes, and should always be medically evaluated if it lasts more than two days.

Profuse Sweating

People with kidney stones can break out in heavy sweats even when they are not exerting themselves. This sign can be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and may occur due to the general discomfort the body is experiencing.

Bloody Urine

Bloody urine can be a frightening sign of a kidney stone. It is a good idea to see a doctor if this sign presents.

Foul-Smelling Urine

Cloudy urine that smells more noxious than usual can indicate a kidney stone. When a kidney stone lodges in the urinary tract, bacteria can build up behind it and cause a urinary tract infection. Around 8% of people with kidney stones develop an infection related to the stone. This is more common in women. One symptom of a urinary tract infection is foul-smelling urine and urine that's cloudier than normal.

· Severe, sharp pain in the side and back, below the ribs

· Pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin

· Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity

· Pain or burning sensation while urinating

Factors that increase your risk of developing kidney stones include:

· Family or personal history. If someone in your family has had kidney stones, you're more likely to develop stones, too. If you've already had one or more kidney stones, you're at increased risk of developing another.

· Dehydration. Not drinking enough water each day can increase your risk of kidney stones. People who live in warm, dry climates and those who sweat a lot may be at higher risk than others.

· Certain diets. Eating a diet that's high in protein, sodium (salt) and sugar may increase your risk of some types of kidney stones. This is especially true with a high-sodium diet. Too much salt in your diet increases the amount of calcium your kidneys must filter and significantly increases your risk of kidney stones.

· Obesity. High body mass index (BMI), large waist size and weight gain have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.

· Digestive diseases and surgery. Gastric bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea can cause changes in the digestive process that affect your absorption of calcium and water, increasing the amounts of stone-forming substances in your urine.

· Urinary tract infections also can increase your risk of kidney stones.

· Certain supplements and medications, such as vitamin C, dietary supplements, laxatives (when used excessively), calcium-based antacids, and certain medications used to treat migraines or depression, can increase your risk of kidney stones.”

Five ways to help prevent kidney stones:

· Drink plenty of water

· Eat calcium rich foods

· Reduce sodium

· Limit animal protein

· Avoid stone-forming foods such as: beets, chocolate, spinach and nuts.

Hopefully this information will shed light on what to do if you experience any of these symptoms and also what you can start doing now to prevent kidney stones from forming. I have never had them and since I have such a low tolerance for pain I plan to start implementing some of these recommendations immediately. And I also plan to ask my friend’s husband to take out that pin!

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