There are 4 main types of kidney stones:
1. Calcium stones
These kidney stones are the most common. Made out of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate, calcium stones can be caused by a number of factors including a diet high in oxalate (spinach, beets, chocolate, nuts), high doses of vitamin D, or some metabolic disorders.
2. Struvite stones
Struvite stones can be caused by kidney infections and urinary tract infections. These kidney stones have been known to grow large and are often present with infection symptoms.
3. Uric acid stones
Uric acid stones are caused by a lack of fluids, too much animal protein, or genetic factors.
4. Cystine stones
Cystine stones are created from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak through the kidneys into the urine, forming crystals that make up the kidney stones.
Even though kidney stones are caused by different factors, they all share similar symptoms. It’s important to recognize the symptoms so you can visit the doctor and treat them while it’s still early.
Kidney stones symptoms include:
Severe pain in the side, back, abdomen, or groin
Painful, discolored, or foul-smelling urine
Hematuria (blood in the urine)
Nausea or vomiting with back pain
While there are no guarantees, there are many things you can do to help prevent the formation of kidney stones. These strategies include:
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. There are various recommendations for how much water each individual needs, so do your research and know your body’s signals.
Eat a balanced diet
Avoid eating too many foods high in oxalate, which include spinach, beets, chocolate, and nuts. Also, a high-protein diet can create too much uric acid, so limit your intake of beef, eggs, and fish. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet can decrease your risk of kidney stones as well.
Medication and supplements
Some medications and supplements, like antibiotics and calcium supplements, can help prevent kidney stones, but try to use these options as a last resort.
Passing kidney stones can be a painful process. Luckily, there are many treatment options, including medication and/or surgery, which can treat kidney stones in a safe an effective manner. However, it’s best to practice the prevention strategies to avoid kidney stones altogether.
To schedule an appointment with our urologist, call RAMC at 608-524-6487 or visit our urology page.