Health Watch: Preventing Kidney Stones

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Kidney stones has been described as the worst pain a human can feel.  Subtle signs of kidney stones include pain on one side of the back or abdomen.  Living a sedentary lifestyle or having chronic illness can cause kidney stones, but so can being an elite athlete.

Kidney stones are most commonly formed when there are elevated levels of calcium in the blood. Causes include dehydration, obesity, pregnancy, sedentary lifestyle, bariatric surgery, as well as chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, gout, polycystic kidney disease and hyperparathyroidism. Kidney stones send men and women of all ages to the emergency room with severe, one-sided back pain that doesn't go away regardless of body position. Symptoms may also include nausea and vomiting.

SLUCare urologist, Dr. Lindsay Lombardo encourages patients to drink enough water every day so that urine is light yellow, not dark.  Surprisingly, white colas, in moderation, have shown to have preventative impact.  "There have been studies that show that Sprite Zero was preventative toward stones."  Dr. Lombardo says any low-sugar drink with lemon added can help keep kidney stones from forming in the first place.

The size of a kidney stone determines how — or if — it is treated. Some stones are small enough to pass on their own. Others require intervention. But, anyone with symptoms should see a urologist to find a cause, course of prevention and if necessary, a treatment.

To learn more about kidney stone treatment or to find a SLUCare Urologist, click here. 

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