Leave No Stone Unturned – Understanding Kidney Stones

Senior man with bad back

Are you one in 11? About one in every 11 people in the United States will get a kidney stone in their lifetime – and if you are male, obese or have diabetes, the chances are even higher.

Kidney stones are hard collections of salt and minerals that form inside the kidney and can travel to other parts of the urinary tract. Stones vary in size and form when too much of certain minerals accumulate in your urine. When you aren’t well-hydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated with higher levels of certain minerals, making it more likely a kidney stone will form.

Unfortunately, kidney stones are typically very painful. Most stones will pass on their own, but some require a procedure to break up or remove stones.

Signs and symptoms of kidney stones:

  • Pain in the back, belly or side
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Urgent need to go to the bathroom
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Going a small amount at a time
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills

Prevent kidney stones

  • Dehydration increases the risk of kidney stones. Be sure to drink lots of water, especially when engaging in exercise or activities that cause a lot of sweating.
  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, including processed foods, canned soup, canned vegetables, lunch meat and condiments.
  • Eat calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, low-fat cheese or low-fat yogurt.
  • Talk to your doctor to better understand your risk for kidney stones and what you can do to prevent them.

Struggling with kidney stones? A urologist specializes in diseases of the male and female urinary tracts, which includes the kidneys. Find a St. Joe’s urologist to discuss ways to reduce your risk for kidney stones or treat an existing stone or concern.

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