What are the Causes of Kidney Stones?



INTRODUCTION

A kidney stone is a solid mass of crystallized minerals that form inside the kidneys when there’s not enough liquid to dissolve the minerals into the urine. 

The main cause of kidney stones is excess amounts of calcium, oxalate, or uric acid in the urine, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

While kidney stones aren’t life-threatening and rarely lead to death, they can be extremely painful and sometimes lead to long-term complications if they aren’t treated right away.


Chronic kidney disease


Though not all kidney stones form as a result of chronic kidney disease, a disease that causes high blood pressure and other problems, an estimated 75 per cent do. 

High levels of calcium, oxalate and uric acid can increase your risk of forming a stone. Your doctor can test for these substances to see if they are contributing to your problem. Limiting food intake and increasing water consumption may also help reduce your risk.

 If you already have chronic kidney disease or if you are at risk for developing it, talk with your doctor about further treatment options.

Diet


A Diet high in oxalate-containing foods can lead to hyperoxaluria (an excess of oxalate in urine), which may increase your risk for kidney stones. Oxalates include substances found in certain vegetables (such as spinach and rhubarb) and chocolate, as well as animal proteins like seafood and meat.

 If you have a history of kidney stones, be sure to talk with your doctor about dietary changes you can make to prevent stone formation. 

Although some medical associations recommend reducing oxalate intake for patients who form calcium oxalate stones, evidence is insufficient to say that doing so reduces stone formation.

Lifestyle factors


They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but do you know why? 

What about other fruits and vegetables? Most people probably don’t. Fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K. 

These minerals can help prevent kidney stones by keeping your blood pressure in check—and by limiting sodium intake. Drinking water is also important because it helps your body properly digest food so that there’s less chance for calcium buildup in your kidneys.

Medications


Several medications can cause kidney stones. 
These include Hormone treatments for prostate cancer, Estrogen drugs (often used to treat menopause symptoms), Antibiotics and diuretics (to help you urinate or decrease swelling). Be sure to talk with your doctor if you think that any medication you’re taking could be causing kidney stones. If a stone does form, it’s a good idea to discuss treatment options with your doctor. 

He or she may prescribe medicines to dissolve it. If surgery is necessary, there are also new methods available where patients go home on the same day as their procedure instead of staying overnight in a hospital bed. Learn more about what causes kidney stones at WebMD.


Kidney infections


The kidneys act as a filter to your blood, removing waste products like protein and salt. When they don’t work properly, waste products can build up in your urine, forming crystals that can cause kidney stones. Infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), may also contribute to calcium buildup. Having multiple UTIs increases your risk of developing kidney stones. 

Women have an increased chance of getting infected because bacteria from their vaginas will travel up their urethra into their bladders. Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more likely to get kidney stones due to hormonal changes affecting urination. 

Men may have a higher likelihood than women because men are less likely than women to strain when urinating or take bathroom breaks during the day.

 As many women try to hold it or wait until later in pregnancy before going pee when visiting the toilet is inconvenient or uncomfortable.

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