Kidney

As a result Kidney Stones

They say the pain of having a kidney stone compares to that of childbirth.

I’ve had three kids, two of whom weighed over 9 pounds at birth, and the pain level may be the same, but it feels a lot different. Kind of like comparing being hit by a car to having your legs ripped off – you figure out which one is which.

What was surprising – and incredibly disappointing – is the amount of pain that something as small as a kidney stone can inflict. When you go through childbirth, the payoff is a beautiful baby. With a kidney stone, you get an ugly pebble – if you’re lucky.

Kidney stones are small collections of minerals and salts that stick together. The kidneys’ job is to filter waste from the blood, and sometimes that waste bulks up and creates a stone.

Kidney stones can range from microscopic to the size of a ping pong ball. As a result, almost all of the stones that are 1/5 of an inch in diameter will pass through a person’s urine, but some have to be removed with surgery if they are larger or get stuck in the urinary tract.

 

A personal toll

The passing is the problem. As these crystallized pebbles pass from the kidney through the urinary tract to the bladder, it hurts – a lot!
I remember my dad’s best friend talking about his experience with kidney stones. Glenn was a tough guy. He was only about 5-foot-8, but he had beaten everyone in his weight class to earn the state’s Golden Gloves title. Kidney stones kicked his butt. He was a pharmacist and owned his pharmacy.

He was in so much pain that he laid on the pharmacy floor and filled prescriptions because he couldn’t stand up due to the pain of the kidney stones.

Another friend’s husband, a rugged Marine pilot, woke up screaming in the middle of the night. His wife said she had never heard her husband make those sounds before. He was diagnosed with kidney stones after having been rushed to the hospital.

For me, the pain started as a backache, then nausea. My doctor sent me directly to the hospital, where they quickly prescribed pain medication and lots and lots of water. Other symptoms can be pain or burning while urinating, pink, red, brown, or cloudy urine, and continually having to urinate.

 

Causes of Kidney Stones

Doctors ask that because Kidney stones can be caused by many things, if possible, you save your urine and bring it in to be analyzed. That means not only are you going to the bathroom constantly, and you have to strain your urine to look for the evil little stone so they can try to figure out what caused it.

Calcium stones can be caused by fruits, vegetables, nuts, chocolates, high doses of Vitamin D, and certain medications. Uric acid stones can come from chronic diarrhea, diabetes, or a high-protein diet.

Cystine stones can be hereditary from people with kidneys that form too much of particular amino acid. Urinary tract infections can cause struvite stones.

Other causes are heredity, high sodium or protein diets, obesity, digestive diseases and surgery, other diseases and medications.

By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers

Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash


Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas

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