Life & Health: Kidney Stones

You’ve probably had a friend or relative who has had kidney stones, or maybe you’ve even had them yourself. Dr. Christopher Yingling explains the ins and outs in this week's Life & Health!
You’ve probably had a friend or relative who has had kidney stones, or maybe you’ve even had them yourself. 
According to Dr. Christopher Yingling, a Urologist with Mount Nittany Physician Group, a kidney stone is “a solid mass that is formed in the kidney, when abnormal substances in the urine become highly concentrated.  Kidney stones can either stay in the kidney or travel down in the urinary tract.  Varying in size, kidney stones can pass on their own with little or no pain, or they may cause severe pain and bleeding if they become stuck along the urinary tract, blocking the flow of urine.”
Dr. Yingling went on to say that kidney stones can be caused by many factors, but most commonly by a lack of water.  “They can appear golf-ball-sized and brown, small and smooth, or jagged and yellow,” said Dr. Yingling.
While anyone can get kidney stones, Dr. Yingling says men are more susceptible to them than women are, and they are more common in people who have:
  • Weight Issues (overweight/obese)
  • A Family History
  • Gout
  • High Calcium in the Urine
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Taking Certain Medications
Those with kidney stones will also experience pain.  The most common being pain while urinating, a sharp pain in the lower back or abdomen, or pain so severe it causes nausea or vomiting.  Dr. Yingling says this pain can either be brief, or extend over a period of days.
According to Dr. Yingling, “small stones usually pass through the urinary tract with little to no treatment, larger stones may require treatment by a family physician or urologist.  These procedures typically include breaking up the stones by shock waves or by the use of small surgical equipment.”
He says you can play it safe by drinking plenty of fluids, reducing sodium intake, limiting animal protein, and making sure your diet includes enough calcium.

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