Is this painful condition on the rise among women?
If you’ve experienced them, you know the pain is unbearable, and women may be getting them more often. What are they?
Hard, pebble-like deposits that form for a variety of reasons, kidney stones are composed of chemicals normally secreted in the urine. Solid crystals form in the kidney when there is an excess amount of waste in a small amount of liquid. These crystals join together to make kidney stones that hopefully exit the body in the urine.
Stones come in all shapes and sizes and can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. The bigger the stone, the more noticeable the symptoms, which also include fever, chills, nausea and vomiting and extreme, sharp pain in the back or side.
Recently, Mayo Clinic researchers conducted a study, determining kidney stone diagnoses are increasing. By analyzing the health records of more than 7,200 individuals from nearly 30 years, they found the number of kidney stone diagnoses rose faster among women than men. The biggest increase was among women ages 18-39. Researchers did point out, however, that the results may be caused by better diagnostic testing over time.
“My general recommendations for the prevention of stones that will help the vast majority of patients with a history of kidney stones are the following:”
- Drink enough water to produce two to three liters of urine per day
- Limit both salt intake and animal protein intake
“Beyond these general recommendations, some people will form stones regardless,” says Dr. Tran. “These patients tend to have an underlying metabolic reason for forming stones and typically will require more extensive work up and may need to be placed on medications that can help prevent stones along with the general recommendations.”
About the Author
Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks and playing with her dog, Bear and cats, Demi and Elle.