Kidney Stone Causes And Best Preventive Measure

Fact: Approximately 9 percent of adults in the U.S. are at risk of developing kidney stones during their lifetime. Another fact: Climate change is increasing the risk of having this condition because the human body easily gets dehydrated as the climate warms.

Given these facts, it is important to know how kidney stones form and what’s causing these hard rocks to form inside the bean-shaped filtration organs of the body. The problem with kidney stones is they could lead to the manifestations of discomforting symptoms like severe pain in the side and back and below the ribs. The pain also radiates to the groin and the lower abdomen.

Kidney Stones Explained

The American Kidney Fund defines kidney stones as the clumps of waste that are formed when there’s too much of certain wastes in the body and not enough fluid in the circulation. These wastes can build up and form a hard mass in the kidneys.

Generally speaking, there are four major types of kidney stones based on their composition: cystine, uric acid, calcium oxalate/calcium phosphate and magnesium ammonium phosphate. The origin of these wastes vary. Calcium oxalate typically form from foods that are high in oxalates, such as nuts, chocolate, spinach, tea and potatoes. Calcium phosphate stones, on the other hand, form when one has hyperparathyroidism, renal tubular acidosis and urinary tract infections.

Magnesium ammonium phosphate, which is also referred to as struvite, is usually the result of bacterial infections that cause the urine pH to be more neutral or alkaline. When the urine becomes more acidic, uric acid stones can form. However, it should be noted that this is not because there’s too much uric acid in the circulation. Uric acid stones simply form when normal levels of uric acid get dissolved in acidic urine and crysallizes. Meanwhile, cystine stones form from excessive amounts of the amino acid cystine in the system, as pointed out by Harvard Health Publishing.

Anyone could form kidney stones. The biggest factor that triggers this condition is dehydration. It’s just that other people are predisposed to this condition more when they have any of the aforementioned conditions, or if they consume foods that contribute to stone formation. When there is not enough fluid in the body, the wastes can readily build up and form small crystals that would later on cause a number of painful symptoms.

Best Preventive Measure

Knowing that that biggest risk factor of kidney stone formation is dehydration, it makes sense that the best preventive measure we could all take is hydration. Drinking lots of water is proven to prevent the formation of any of the stones in the kidneys.

Scientists who conducted a randomized trial on the idea that hydration is the best preventive measure against kidney stones found that imbibing 2 liters of fluid a day actually reduces the likelihood of stone formation or the recurrence of the condition among stone-forming individuals.

Kidney Stones (2) A child receives a medical check for possible kidney stones at a hospital in Suining, Sichuan province September 17, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer