Many patients consider kidney stones as simply a very painful nuisance which has to be tolerated periodically. In fact, kidney stone disease is a complex problem with various types of stones and with many different causes. At Urology Centers of Alabama, we utilize state of the art equipment and techniques to successfully treat stones. However, careful evaluation and management options also allow us to successfully prevent recurrent stone episodes in many patients.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
Stones may develop because of one or a combination of reasons:
- Geography – hot, humid climates, such as in our southeastern part of the country, may increase the risk of stones in susceptible persons by either excess loss of fluids or inadequate fluid intake.
- Genetics – many stone patients have a family history of stones.
- Diet – see section below on stone prevention.
- Medical problems – hyperparathyroidism, gout, chronic diarrhea and several other inflammatory GI problems including some GI surgeries, and others.
What Symptoms Caused Kidney Stones?
Everyone knows about the terrible flank pain associated with kidney stones. Many think that this pain is caused by a scratching of the stone as it passes through the ureter. In fact, most of the pain is caused by obstruction of the ureter, causing a backup of urine into the kidney with resultant stretching and dilation of the tissue. Nausea and vomiting are often present during acute episodes. Some patients may have an urgency to urinate or blood in the urine. Some patients may even have no symptoms at all.
Treatment of Kidney Stones
There are various methods and equipment used for treating kidney stones, depending on the situation.
Kidney Stone Prevention
Even though we have a multitude of treatment options and equipment to successfully treat kidney stones, our goal is to help patients avoid recurrent stones. To achieve this, your urologist might recommend a change in your diet or a special medication. Calcium stone formers might be advised to drink more water, avoid salt, decrease oxalate intake and avoid calcium supplements.
Low Oxalate Diet
The following foods and drinks should be avoided when trying to maintain a low oxalate diet:
- Chocolate / Cocoa
- Wheat bran
The following foods contain oxalate , but not as much as the above products: Beans, blackberries, celery, dark leafy greens, swiss chard, draft beer, sweet potatoes, eggplant, white corn grits, instant coffee, okra, leeks, and soy tofu.