Kidney stones are the most painful of the urologic disorders that are even referred to as “male childbirth” when it affects men. A huge number of people suffer from urinary stone problem all over the world. It affects people between 30 to 60 years of age. Men are more affected than women. In India, about 12 % of the population is expected to have urinary stones, of whom 50% may end up with kidney damage.

A kidney stone is a hard mass of minerals that form from crystals in the urine. Calcium oxalate is the most common type of stone, but stones may be of numerous other compounds.

Symptoms

Most of the time, kidney stone remains asymptomatic until it moves into the ureter. The common symptoms when the stones become evident include:

- Terrible pain in the groin, pain in the back, sides and lower abdomen

- Blood in urine

- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

- Vomiting and nausea

- Presence of pus cells in the urine

- Lesser amount of urine excreted

- Burning sensation during urination

- Constant urge to urinate

- Fever or chills if there is an infection

 Causes

There is no definite single cause, but several risk factors may increase your risk (dehydration, family history, dietary habits, obesity and digestive disorders).

Kidney stones form when your urine holds more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid than the fluid in your urine can dilute. Urine may also lack substances that avoid crystal from sticking together, making a favourable environment for stones to form.

 Treatment

Drinking plenty of fluids help most people to pass smaller stones on their own. Stones that are 5mm in size have 20% chance of passing on their own, but stones that are 9mm or larger require intervention.

 Larger Stones

Larger stones require more extensive treatment such as ESWL-extracorporeal shock waves lithotripsy. Very large stones require surgery called percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Stones in the ureter or the bladder are removed using ureteroscope.

Prevention of kidney stones involves life style changes and medication

Drinking Adequate Water:

Drinking water helps to dilute the substances in the urine that lead to stone formation. Make every effort to drink enough fluids - about 10-12 glasses of water in a day. This is the most vital thing you can do to prevent kidney stones. Include citrus beverages like lemonade, grapefruit juice, and orange juice, citrate in these beverages helps block stone formation.

Get The Calcium

Restricting calcium in your diet can cause oxalate levels to rise and cause kidney stones. To prevent this, take in an appropriate amount of calcium. It is best to obtain calcium from foods, since some studies have linked taking calcium supplements to kidney stones. Good sources of calcium include milk, yoghurt, and cottage cheese. Vegetarian sources of calcium include legumes, calcium-set tofu, dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds. Make sure to include foods high in vitamin D, which helps to absorb more calcium.

Limit Salt

A high-sodium diet can set off kidney stones because it promotes calcium build up in the urine. A low sodium diet is recommended for the stone prone. Recent guidelines recommend limiting total daily sodium intake to 2300mg.If a high salt diet has contributed to kidney stones previously then reduce daily intake to 1500mg and it is best to restrict processed foods and fast foods.

Lower The Animal Protein Intake

Adding too much animal protein such as red meat, poultry, eggs and seafood, increase the level of uric acids and could lead to kidney stones. A high protein diet reduces levels of citrate, the chemical in urine that helps avert stones from forming. As protein is important for overall health prefer plant sources -quinoa, tofu, curd, and yoghurt and limit your daily intake of animal protein to about a palm size per serving.

Avoid Stone-Forming Foods

Chocolate, beets, spinach, sweet potatoes rhubarb, tea, and most nuts are rich in oxalate. Foods high in oxalates increase the formation of kidney stones. Reduce or eliminate oxalate from the diet if you’ve already had kidney stones.

Foods and drinks are not likely to cause kidney stones unless consumed in extremely high amounts. Evidence has shown that men who take high doses of vitamin C in the form of supplements are at higher risk of kidney stone because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate.

Avoid Bottled Beverages

- Cola is high in phosphate, another chemical that promotes formation of kidney stones.

- Reduce added sugar intake

- Be watchful of the amount of sugar you eat in processed foods (cake, fruit drinks and candies), added sucrose and fructose may increase your risk of stones.