Saturday, November 12, 2011

Prevent Kidney Stones

Did you know that you can prevent kidney stones?

Several weeks ago a patient brought in two kidneys stones she recently passed.

How miserable and painful is passing a kidney stone? Extremely!

Many say it’s the worst pain they have ever had. Women who have experienced both labor and passing a kidney stone say that a kidney stone is far worse than labor.
So wouldn't you think that people who have had a kidney stone would want to do all they could to prevent kidney stones from forming in the first place?    I think so. 

And half the people who have had one stone will have another over the next few years. Some people have many stones in their kidney just waiting to pass at some later date.

Those people who have more than one stone we call recurrent stone formers.
Yet it's amazing that so few stone formers are doing anything to prevent kidney stones from forming.

Maybe that's because they just don't know any better.

Most people have been told that drinking more fluids can help prevent kidney stone formation. That’s true but there is a lot more that can be done.

Sadly, few doctors seem to take an interest in or have knowledge of how to prevent kidney stones. Urologists are surgical sub-specialists.

Urologists usually focus on treating the stone once it’s there causing problems.
I often wonder whether urologists would take more interest in how to prevent kidney stones if they themselves had had a stone.

Two Kidney Stones

But besides knowing what to do, it takes a lot of physician time and energy and working closely with each patient in order to prevent kidney stones.
Just what steps to take to prevent kidney stones depends on the stone composition.

For example, is the stone made up mostly of calcium oxalate or uric acid or something else? The chemical makeup of the stone former’s urine is the other key factor to understand in order to prevent kidney stones.

Detailed analysis of the urine can allow us to design treatment to reduce the chance of another stone. Treatment for each person is often different. No one size fits all.

Sometimes treatment to prevent kidney stones involves modest changes in diet. But that does not mean eating a low calcium diet like avoiding such dairy products as milk, cheese or yogurt.

Did you know that low calcium diets actually may make matters worse for stone formers? Experts do not recommend reducing dietary calcium in those with calcium containing kidney stones.

Often safe, cheap medication is needed to help prevent kidney stones. There is fairly good scientific evidence for kidney stone prevention.

Not everyone’s kidney stones can be prevented but specific treatment can reduce chances of another stone by up to 80%. 
I offer kidney stone prevention to all my patients who have had one or more kidney stones.
I would want that for myself.

Have you suffered from one or more kidney stones?
Maybe we can help prevent your next stone from forming.

1 comment:

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