August 29, 2013 – Wow! Where did the month go?
August is my favorite month of the year and this year it just seemed to slip away. The month was punctuated with several memorable visits and gatherings which I enjoyed so much. And, we have plans to share this the last summer long weekend with friends.
Granted I wasn’t up to functioning at a high level this month and maybe that’s a good thing as I do tend to overdo every summer. But I didn’t expect to have a crash course in what kidney stones were all about.
Learning about kidney stones
“Kidney disease usually does not cause pain, but in some cases pain may occur. A kidney stone in the ureter (a tube leading from the kidney to the bladder) can cause severe cramping pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin. The pain disappears once the stone has moved through the ureter.
A kidney stone can develop when certain chemicals in your urine form crystals that stick together. The crystals may grow into a stone ranging in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. Most stones form in the kidneys. Very small stones can pass through the urinary system without causing problems. However, larger stones, when traveling from the kidney through the ureter to the bladder, can cause severe pain called colic. Most stones (70 to 80 percent) are made of calcium oxalate. A smaller number are made of uric acid or cystine.” Read more.
Kidney stone prevention and treatment
Those with calcium stones are advised to lower their intake of salt. The major inhibitor of calcium stones is citrate which is naturally occurring in citrus fruits. Four ounces of lemon juice mixed with 2 liters of water has been shown to increase urinary citrate levels. Citrate supplementation can be done effectively with potassium-magnesium-citrate.
High oxalate foods can trigger pain and inflammation, as well as kidney stone formation so a low oxalate diet is important, but one needs enough calcium to bind to the oxalate in order to prevent stones from forming. The paradox is that if calcium is too low, then more oxalate is available to be excreted through the urinary tract to form calcium oxalate stones. Hence, there’s a fine balance that needs to be maintained.
For those with uric stones, a low proteins diet is recommended. Cystine stones due to a genetic predisposition occur in about 2% of all kidney stone cases and are often not visible on most x-rays, CT’s, and ultrasounds. In all of instances of kidney stones, keeping hydrated is vital.
Kidney stones and pain
Some people have equated the pain of passing a kidney stone to that of child-bearing labor. Smaller kidney stones can dissolve naturally but passing them can be extremely painful. Alpha-blockers are prescribed for moderate size stones but in the case of recurring stones other medications can be prescribed. Surgical removal is the last resort in the treatment of larger kidney stones.
Related post found in this blog : Life on hold
My diet is a low oxalate diet. I’m also drinking gallons of lemonade and limeade. Cranberry juice and Grapefruit are contraindicated. The medications are keeping the pain at bay as I continue to suffer through recurring kidney stone episodes. Next week when all the test results are in and my doctor is home from vacation I will make a decision re: further treatment. If the future holds surgery for me – so be it. This too shall pass and I’ll face whatever comes fully determined to recover as quickly as possible.
My deepest thanks for all the readers who have supported me throughout this pain-filled month. I love you dearly for being such faithful friends.
- VIDEO: Hospitals try to improve kidney care (bbc.co.uk)
- Kidney Stones In Women On The Rise In The US; What’s The Reason Behind It? (medicaldaily.com)
- Exercise Cuts Kidney Stones Risk in Women (plseniorcare.wordpress.com)