The Northwest Medical Group draws attention to kidney stones and their risks. Northwest Medical Group says you may have a kidney stone if you experience severe pain in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin, or if you have blood in your urine – a condition that is common and increases. If left untreated, kidney stones can cause severe complications in addition to severe pain. John Lynam, DO, FACOS, urologist at Northwest Medical Group, makes sure patients know that timely treatment can prevent permanent damage.
Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like pieces of material that form in one or both kidneys when there are high levels of certain minerals in your urine.
Kidney stones vary in size and shape – as small as a grain of sand or as big as a pea and rarely as big as golf balls.
A small kidney stone can get through your urinary tract on its own and cause little or no pain or other symptoms. A larger kidney stone can get stuck along the way and block the flow of urine. If left untreated, kidney stones can cause blood in the urine; strong pain; Urinary tract infections (UTIs), including kidney infections; and loss of kidney function.
Four diet tips from the National Kidney Foundation can help prevent painful kidney stones.
- Drink plenty of fluids when you exercise and sweat. The loss of sweat water leads to less urine production, which allows stone-causing minerals to settle and bind in the kidneys and urinary tract.
- Eat and drink foods high in calcium and oxalate together during a meal to increase the chance that they will bind together in the stomach and intestines before the kidneys start processing them. High levels of oxalate are found in peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, chocolate and sweet potatoes.
- Maintain your calcium intake, but reduce sodium. A diet low in calcium increases the risk of developing kidney stones.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and less animal protein to reduce urine acidity, which can reduce the chance of stone formation.
If you suspect you have a kidney stone, see a urologist or your general practitioner. For help finding a doctor, visit the Northwest Medical Group website be connected with one of their qualified urologists or general practitioners in your area.