Skipping Rocks – Kidney Stones Causes, Types and Prevention
February 18, 2019
Types of Kidney Stones
There are a few things all Kidney stones have in common: for one, all are caused by high levels of minerals and salts in the urine. But they also come in many different forms – from “silent” and symptomless to extremely painful, from small to large, from common to rare.
Here are the four main types of kidney stones – if you’re experiencing kidney pain or symptoms of kidney stones, see a doctor and learn which could be causing your pain and discomfort.
Calcium Stones are the most common type of stone, and come in two varieties – calcium oxalate (by far the most common) and calcium phosphate. Too much calcium in the urine raises the risk of these types of stones.
Uric Acid Stones are caused from uric acid crystals being unable to dissolve in urine due to high acidity, which can be caused from being overweight, type 2 diabetes, gout, and other chronic health issues.
Struvite/Infection Stones are related to UTIs, making those prone to chronic UTIs (often due to bladder and kidney disorders) most at risk.
Cysteine Stones result from too much cysteine, an amino acid, in the urine. This disorder, called Cystinuria, is a rare, inherited metabolic disorder that can cause kidney stones to form beginning in childhood.
Not sure if you have a kidney stone or what type it might be? If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, see a doctor:
– Sharp in the back and side
– Intense need to use the bathroom
– Burning feeling while urinating
– Dark or red urine
– Nausea and vomiting
– For men, pain at the tip of the penis
Kidney Stones Causes and How to Prevent Them
Kidney stones happen when there are high levels of minerals and salts in your Urine, which can happen for a variety of reasons: low urine volume, diet, obesity, stress and medical conditions.
While there’s no hard and fast way to 100% prevent kidney stones for happening, there are some tips and tricks for keeping stones at bay:
Drink Water! Few of us drink the recommended amount of water per day – 3 liters (that’s ten, 10 ounce glasses!) Drinking enough fluids is one of the easiest ways to lower the concentration of salts and minerals in your Urine. Don’t know where to start? Try investing in a large stainless steel water bottle and keeping it filled up throughout the day to get into the habit.
Reduce the amount of salt and meat in your diet. It might be wise to make steak night an occasional treat instead of a regular indulgence. High-sodium and high animal-meat diets are linked to high urine calcium and cysteine – major causes of kidney stones. Enjoy salt and animal protein in moderation and consider smaller portions.
Get your fruits and vegetables. Mom was right – getting your 5 a day of fruits and vegetables is paramount for overall health, and Kidney Stone prevention is no exception. Fruits and veggies give you the potassium, fiber magnesium, and antioxidants known to help stones from forming. So snack on a piece of fruit on your commute and add a side salad to your dinner menu.
Get enough calcium. Talk to your doctor about your urinary oxalate levels, which can lead to kidney stones. Oxalate-rich foods tend to veer on the healthy side – spinach, rhubarb, and almonds – so rather than avoiding them, make sure you get enough calcium, which naturally lowers the oxalate level in your body. Broccoli, kefir, and yogurt are just a few calcium-rich, low sodium foods you can consider integrating into your diet.
Consider medication. If Kidney stones are a recurring problem and changing your diet just isn’t working, talk to your doctor. There are several preventative medications that they might recommend based on your personal needs and situation.
No one should have to deal with kidney stones, whether they are a one-time occurrence or a brutally re-occurring routine. At the Austin Urology Institute, we not only help diagnose kidney stones causes, but we offer top-of-the-line treatment remedies as well.
Virtual Visits Available
We offer both in-clinic and remote telemedicine consultations worldwide.