Chances are, you or someone you know has had a kidney stone. According to the National Institutes of Health, kidney stones are one of the most common urinary tract disorders, affecting approximately 1 in 11 people in the world. But what exactly are kidney stones? Keep reading to find out about crystals in urine.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in your kidneys when there is too much of a certain substance (such as calcium) in your urine. When these substances become concentrated, they can form crystals. The crystals can then cluster together to form a kidney stone.
There are several types of kidney stones, but the most common type is made of calcium. Other types of kidney stones include those made of struvite, uric acid, and cystine.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, including
- Dehydration: When you don’t drink enough fluids, your urine becomes more concentrated and more likely to form crystals.
- Diet: Eating a diet that’s high in protein, salt, and sugar can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
- Family history: If you have a family member who has had kidney stones, you’re more likely to develop them yourself.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as gout and Crohn’s disease, can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
- Medications: Some medications can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, such as diuretics and calcium supplements.
- Obesity: Being obese increases your risk of developing kidney stones because it raises the levels of substances like calcium in your urine. -Previous kidney stone: If you’ve had a kidney stone before, you’re more likely to develop another one.
What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
The most common symptom of a kidney stone is severe pain in your side or back (known as renal colic). This pain usually starts suddenly and gets worse quickly. Other symptoms of kidney stones include blood in your urine (hematuria), cloudy or foul-smelling urine (pyuria), nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, and an increased need to urinate (frequency).
Diagnosing Kidney Stones: If you’re experiencing symptoms of a kidney stone, your doctor will likely order a urine test to check for crystals or infection. They may also order a blood test to check for high levels of calcium or other substances in your blood that could be causing the formation of crystals.
By knowing the facts about kidney stones, you can be prepared if you ever experience one yourself.