Last week, there I was minding my own business when all of a sudden - OUCH!! My side hurts! Oh goodness .. what is causing that pain? Uuuhhh! I started getting a really sharp pain on my right side lower back and also on my right side front below my abdomen. I decided to go back to bed and rest of a little bit in hopes the pain would have subsided. Well, low and behold, after about one hour of writhing in pain, crying, vomiting and just walking around wondering what is happening to me... I called my husband to come get me! The pain was excruciating and was not subsiding at all.
Long story short I went to a hospital type place. Our Brazilian friend took me and stayed because he had to translate for me with the doctor. I was put on drips for two and a half hours while they pumped liquid pain killers in me and stabbed my hand several times trying to find a vein to take blood! Following that I had to do a tomography test which revealed - I have a kidney stone! After spending the whole day there we got home and the advice starting coming in .. drink lots of fluids, especially water etc. I definitely had to research all about kidney stones. I named mine Stardust, after my favorite movie and because I hope that it disintegrates and becomes nothing more than just that - dust! I even blogged about it.
I want to share some of the information I gathered. This is by no means a medical article - disclaimer note - I have absolutely no medical training! I am simply sharing some information from what I read online about kidney stones. Actually, my motivation for writing this article is because I read that interestingly March is National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day is the 11th March. What a coincidence! I got my kidney stone in the National Kidney Month!
About Kidney Stones
What is a Kidney Stone?
Putting it simply, a kidney stone is a hard mass (solid piece of material) that forms from crystals that are present in the urine. A person's urine contains natural chemicals that normally prevents or inhibits the crystals from forming but these chemicals sometimes does not work for everyone and like me, they get kidney stones. Keep in mind that urine is made up of dissolved waste and too much waste in too little liquid can make the stones form. The kidney is the body's master chemist and functions to rid the body of excess waste.
Types of Kidney Stones
I can go into detail here but this is not supposed to be a technical medical article so I will state it simply that there are four (4) major types of kidney stones. These include:
- Calcium stones which are formed from calcium combining with oxalate. This is the most common type of kidney stone. Also the calcium can combine with phosphate.
- Struvite stones or infection stones
- Uric acid stones (which are less common)
- Crystine stones (rare)
Foods and Drinks Containing Oxalate
High-oxalate foods—higher to lower
- swiss chard
- wheat germ
- soybean crackers
- black Indian tea
- sweet potatoes
Medium-oxalate foods—higher to lower
- green pepper
- red raspberries
- fruit cake
Source of this entire listing: Kidney Stones in Adults
It is not always known what exactly causes kidney stones but the following are thought to be possible contributing factors for a person developing kidney stones:
- Certain foods may promote the formation of kidney stones such as foods high in oxalate like spinach, beets, chocolate and sweet potatoes. The latter two and things that I absolutely love to eat! I put a text box to the side of this with a greater listing of foods high in oxalate.
- A family history of kidney stones and infections.
- Urinary infection
- Kidney disorders
- Some metabolic disorders
- Hypercalciuria (inherited)
- Drinking too little water (I'm guilty of this)
- Exercise - too little or too much. Imagine - too much exercise. What is that?
- Obesity (guilty again)
- Weight loss surgery (I wish!)
- Eating food with too much salt or sugar. Oh no!
I also read, and I remember this, that in 2008 in China, a toxin was added to milk called melamine that resulted in many children developing kidney stones.
Healthbeat - Kidney Stones
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Everyone keeps telling me that the pain from kidney stone is even worst than the pain of giving birth and I did read that kidney stones is one of the most painful of urologic disorders.
Kidney stones come in all sizes and off course the bigger the stone is the more pain you will feel. If the pain is really small you might not get any pain at all. Usually the first symptom is extreme pain, which is what happened to me, when a stone moves in the urinary tract. My kidney stone (Stardust) was probably exiting the kidney and entering the urinary tract when I got the sudden severe pain. Sometimes the kidney stone can block the flow of urine which results in tremendous pain.
Other symptoms include:
- Blood in urine (pink urine)
- A burning sensation during urination
- Having the constant feeling of having to urinate
- Severe pain on either side of the lower back. Remember you have two kidneys that looks like red beans (kidney beans)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vague pain or stomach ache
- Fever and chills
- Sometimes the urine might smell bad or be cloudy