What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones form in the kidneys when urine has too high concentrations of minerals. These minerals come together and from crystals. The crystals then can merge and bond together forming tight and extremely hard stones. A kidney stone can appear as small as a grain of sand or big enough to block the flow of urine and cause extreme pain throughout the body. (1) Many people have even compared the pain of passing a kidney stone to the pain of childbirth.
Kidney stones are more common than many people realize. One in every 20 people will have a kidney stone in their life. (2) Because kidney stones are so common, people should know what causes them so they may prevent the stones if possible.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
The main cause of kidney stones is a lack of hydration. The kidneys desperately need water to flush minerals and other substances through the body. With little water intake, substances have no problem building up and forming painful stones.
- Calcium stones. These are the most common form of kidney stones. They are either calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Calcium binds to other minerals in the intestines to form these stones.
- Uric acid stones. These are caused when the urine becomes too acidic. The normal levels of uric acid dissolve into the urine where it crystalizes into stones. An altered pH of the urine can put a person at risk for these.
- Struvite stones. Struvite stones are made of magnesium ammonium phosphate and form in alkaline urine. They are often caused by infections which raise the pH of urine.
- Cystine stones. These are the least common type of kidney stones. These form in people with Cystinuria, a genetic condition which causes high levels of cystine in the urine which easily form into kidney stones.
Who is More at Risk?
It is so important we will mention it again: dehydration is the main cause of kidney stones. Drinking less water puts you at risk. Other factors which increase the risk of kidney stones are: (5)
- A family history of kidney stones
- Being over the age of 40
- Sex, kidney stones are more common in males
- A diet high in protein and sodium
- High Blood Pressure
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Kidney stones are often a side effect of many medications. Check with your doctor to see if your medications put you at risk.
How to Prevent Kidney Stones
If you are concerned about developing a kidney stone, start by drinking plenty of fluids every day and keeping yourself hydrated. Choose hydrogen water made from Synergy Science™ water machines to add helpful antioxidants also into your body. Carry a water bottle around at all times and make decisions to take frequent sips.
Eat a healthy diet and cut back on sodium and protein when possible. Choose to eat more fruits and vegetables.
With serious concerns, consult your medical professional to create a plan to keep your body free of kidney stones.