Kidney stones are a common and painful condition that affects many people, especially during the hot summer months when dehydration is more likely. At Samaritan Medical Care Center, we aim to provide you with valuable information on kidney stones, what causes them, and how to prevent them with simple lifestyle changes. 

What Are Kidney Stones? 

Kidney stones are solid masses that develop from crystals in the urine. Normally, urine contains chemicals that prevent these crystals from forming. However, if the balance of these chemicals is disturbed, kidney stones can form. 

Types of Kidney Stones: 

  • Calcium Stones: Often made of calcium oxalate. 
  • Struvite Stones: Associated with infections. 
  • Uric Acid Stones: Linked to low fluid intake. 
  • Cystine Stones: Due to a genetic disorder. 

What Causes Kidney Stones? 

Several factors contribute to the formation of kidney stones: 

  • Diet: High in salt, sugar, and animal protein. 
  • Dehydration: Low fluid intake concentrates urine. 
  • Obesity: Increases risk. 
  • Medical Conditions: Such as hyperparathyroidism and recurrent urinary infections. 
  • Medications: Certain diuretics and calcium-based antacids. 

Symptoms to Watch For 

Symptoms may not appear until a stone moves or causes an obstruction. Common symptoms include: 

  • Severe pain in the back and side 
  • Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin 
  • Pain during urination 
  • Discolored urine 
  • Foul-smelling urine 
  • Frequent urge to urinate 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Fever and chills if an infection occurs 

How to Prevent Kidney Stones 

Preventing kidney stones involves several lifestyle adjustments: 

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses a day to keep urine diluted. 

Limit Sodium: Reduce intake of salty foods. Excess sodium causes more calcium to be excreted in urine, increasing the risk of stones. 

Control Oxalate-Rich Foods: Balance intake of oxalate-rich foods like spinach, nuts, and tea with calcium-rich foods. 

Moderate Animal Protein: Animal protein increases uric acid. Choose plant-based proteins and lean meats. 

Include Citrate-Rich Foods: Citrate prevents stone formation. Include citrus fruits like lemons and oranges in your diet. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is a risk factor for kidney stones. Regular exercise and a balanced diet help maintain a healthy weight. 

      What to Do If You Suspect a Kidney Stone 

      If you experience symptoms of kidney stones, seek medical attention. Immediate medical care is crucial if you have: 

      • Severe, persistent pain 
      • Nausea or vomiting 
      • Blood in your urine 
      • Difficulty urinating 
      • Fever and chills 

      Taking proactive steps can help prevent kidney stones and maintain kidney health. Stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and monitor your health. For professional advice and care, contact Samaritan Medical Care Center. We’re here to help you stay healthy.