What Causes Kidney Stones?

February 10, 2024

What Causes Kidney Stones?

It is usually assumed that kidney stones only affect adults, but the truth is they can affect anyone at any age, even babies. Those who have experienced kidney stones often wish they hadn’t!

To learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Mooresville team continue reading.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits made up of substances that have crystallized in the kidneys causing over half a million Americans to head to the emergency room for treatment each year.

Kidney stones can be caused by a variety of things, like a poor diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications. Most often, though, kidney stones form when urine becomes too concentrated and the kidneys have a tough time filtering out substances such as phosphates, uric acid, and calcium. When there is an excessive amount of waste in too little urine, the waste substances combine to form crystals that are referred to as kidney stones. The stones often range in size from that of a grain of rice to a pea. They can be smooth or jagged in shape and can be brown or yellow. There are four main types of kidney stones: calcium, uric acid, struvite, and cystine.

If you are experiencing the symptoms listed below, you might be dealing with a kidney stone.

Typical Kidney Stone Symptoms

  • Severe pain on either side of your lower back
  • Vague pain or stomach-ache that doesn’t go away
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills

The good news is that kidney stones can be treated, however the best option is to prevent them in the first place.

What Can Be Done to Treat Kidney Stones?

If you have been diagnosed with kidney stones, you will usually be advised to drink plenty of water. Being properly hydrated can aid in the removal of a kidney stone by providing more liquid to help wash it out, and adequate hydration can help prevent new stones from forming.

In most cases, kidney stone passing can last for a month; however, each person’s experience with kidney stones is unique. The most effective treatment methods are described below.

Common Kidney Stone Treatments

  • Drinking water. Most kidney stones are small and will eventually pass through your urinary system. Drinking a lot of fluids will dilute urine and give you the best chance of passing a kidney stone quickly and with less pain.
  • Pain relievers. Passing kidney stones does not feel good. To relieve pain, OTC medications like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can be helpful. Ask your doctor before taking ibuprofen as it can increase the risk of kidney failure during an acute kidney stone attack.
  • Medical therapy. In some cases, your doctor may give you a medication called an alpha-blocker to help pass your kidney stone. This type of medication relaxes the muscles in your ureter, which will help you pass the kidney stone more quickly and with less pain.

Feeling less than your best? Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Mooresville team today.

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