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Kidney stones are solid masses of minerals that form in the kidneys. They can be as small as a grain of sand or larger than a golf ball, depending on their composition and size.
Kidney stones can be made up of calcium oxalate (the most common type), uric acid, cystine, struvite (a combination of magnesium ammonium phosphate), or other substances.
The National Institutes of Health reports that about 10% to 20% of people will develop kidney stones at some point in their lives; however, only 5% will experience more than one episode within five years after their first episode.
Kidney stones can cause pain in the back, side or abdomen. The pain may be sudden and severe or it may come on slowly over time. The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. Some people experience mild discomfort, while others experience excruciating pain that lasts for days or weeks at a time.
Some people also have nausea (feeling sick) with kidney stones, while others don't experience any symptoms related to nausea at all. In some cases, nausea can lead to vomiting (throwing up). Vomiting blood is another sign that you might have a kidney stone--if this happens, contact your doctor immediately!
There are several risk factors for kidney stones, including:
Age. Kidney stones are most common in people between the ages of 30 and 40, but they can occur at any age. The risk of developing kidney stones increases with age because your kidneys become less able to filter out waste products from your blood as you get older.
Gender. Men are more likely than women to develop kidney stones because they have larger kidneys and produce more urine each day than women do (women have smaller kidneys). This means that men may be exposed to higher levels of minerals such as calcium or uric acid in their urine--two substances that can form crystals inside the body and lead to kidney stones if they're present in high enough amounts over time.
Diet: A diet high in sodium (salt), sugar, animal protein and low fiber can increase your chances of developing a stone because these foods increase fluid retention which puts pressure on the urinary tract organs leading them into becoming inflamed which then leads them being unable to pass anything through them properly anymore causing all sorts of problems including blockages etcetera...
To diagnose kidney stones, your doctor may perform the following tests:
Imaging tests. These include X-rays and ultrasounds. An X-ray can show if you have a stone in your kidneys or bladder. Ultrasounds use sound waves to create pictures of organs inside the body; they're often used to look at the urinary tract (the tubes that carry urine out of the body).
Urine Tests. Your doctor may ask you to collect a sample of urine for analysis in order to see if there are any crystals or other substances that could indicate kidney stones are present. The samples are sent to a lab where they're tested further by using special instruments called microscopes that magnify objects so they appear larger than normal size on film or video screens--in this case, allowing doctors better visibility into what's going on inside your body's systems!
Medication: Your doctor may prescribe a medication called an analgesic, which helps to relieve pain.
Surgery: In rare cases, surgery is needed to remove kidney stones that are too large or cannot pass on their own through the urinary tract. Surgery might also be necessary if you have recurrent kidney stones or chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): ESWL uses high-energy shock waves directed at the stone from outside your body to break it into small pieces that can then pass out of your body in urine or stool.
Drink Plenty of Water
Avoid Certain Foods
If you're suffering from kidney stones, there are several home remedies that can help ease your symptoms and speed up recovery.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy for many ailments. It has been used to treat kidney stones since ancient times. The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps dissolve calcium deposits in the urine, which are the main cause of kidney stones.
Lemon Juice: The citric acid in lemon juice helps to dissolve uric acid crystals into smaller particles so they can pass through your system more easily and prevent them from forming into larger stones that need medical attention.