A kidney stone is a small, hard solid mass made up of tiny crystals of mineral and acid salts. Kidney stones are formed when the urine contains excess crystal-forming substances-such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid more than the fluid in the urine can dilute. These crystals can develop into stones over weeks or months. Kidney stones can be caused by many factors and can affect any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder.
Signs and symptoms of kidney stones
A kidney stone may not cause symptoms until it moves around within the kidney or passes into the ureter.
Severe pain in the side and back, pain spreading to the lower abdomen and groin, pain on urination. Red or brown urine, urinating more often than usual, fever and chills if an infection is urinating small amounts of urine
Tips to reduce the risk of kidney stones
• Drink plenty of water; it helps dilute the substances in urine that lead to stones. Try to drink enough fluids to pass 2 liters of urine a day.
• Drink citrus beverages like lemon and orange juice which help block stone formation.
• Reduce salt intake or consider using a salt substitute.
• Limit animal protein such as red meat poultry, eggs, and seafood, which boosts the level of uric acid and could lead to kidney stones. A high-protein diet also reduces the levels of citrate, helping to prevent stone formation.
• Limit sugar intake as it upsets the calcium and magnesium absorption in the body.
Too little calcium can cause oxalate levels to rise and cause kidney stones. Take calcium supplements suitable for your age, but consult a doctor first, as these have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.