Kidney Stones and Water - The Correlation

It’s no secret that we need water to survive. Yet simply put, many people don’t drink enough water!  What we often forget is that every part of our body needs water to function. Water not only hydrate our bodies, but it keeps unpleasant health ailments away…like kidney stones.

Water helps our kidneys remove icky waste from our blood. Water also opens our blood vessels so that blood can make it’s way to our organs and deliver vital nutrients. If you’re dehydrated, then it makes it difficult for this natural delivery system to work.  Which most often than not, can result in painful kidney stones.

How painful?

According to Medicalnewstoday.com, passing a kidney stone is often described as one of the most painful things a person will ever experience.

So if you are not getting enough water, it’s time to change things around, at least for the sake of your kidneys. We know that it’s hard to drink water, either we forget, or some people don’t prefer the bland taste of water. So to help you along the way, we’ve added some helpful tips and tricks to make drinking water fun, easy, and safe.

We hope by the end of this article, you’ll think twice about neglecting your daily intake of H2O, today and in the future. So with that said, let’s dive in!

What Are Kidney Stones? 

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits that come together to form little rocks.

What causes these rocks?

Well as your kidneys filter waste from the blood, it creates urine. When you’re dehydrated, urine gets accumulated with higher concentrated levels of minerals. These minerals in the urine stick together and form kidney stones.

Kidney stones develop inside the kidney and can travel to other parts of your urinary tract. They can grow to a size of a sugar crystal or as large as a ping pong ball. In fact, some kidney stones can become so large they take up the entire kidney.

Healthline.com reports that roughly 1 out of every 11 people in the United States will get a kidney stone. And according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 300,000 people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems a year.

Kidney Stone Pain 

Agonizing pain is the most common symptom of kidney stones. This pain can come and go in 10 to 30-minute cycles.

Some people may experience sharp pain in their back, below the rib cage, or in their lower abdomen. If a stone blocks the stream of urine, then the backed-up urine can put extra pressure on the kidney.

Stones can result in ureter spasming when they enter and travel down the ureter. The location of the pain can change as the stone moves from your kidney to your bladder.

If the stone is stuck where the kidney connects to the ureter, the pain can be severe. As the stone moves down the ureter, it can even simulate the color of other conditions.

For instance, if the kidney stone is on the right side of your body, it may feel like inflammation in the appendix. If the kidney stone moves into your bladder, it can feel like a urinary tract infection.

Larger stones are more painful as they are less likely to pass and more likely to block the urinary tract. But, even when a person has a small stone, it can still cause significant pain. This is because the ureter is so tiny that even a small stone can cause a blockage.

Kidney Stones Fast Facts

  • Kidney stones are common, and their occurrence in the U.S is rising
  • Kidney stones are debilitating and painful
  • Recurring stones lead to poor quality-of-life  and even kidney damage
  • The lifetime incidence of kidney stones is about 13 percent in men and 7 percent in women
  • Both young children and infants can get kidney stones

4 Types of Kidney Stones

There is a common misconception that there is a single type of kidney stone. Unfortunately for us, not all kidney stones are the same. There are four major types of kidney stones:

Calcium

Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone. They’re often made of calcium oxalate. To avoid this type of stone, you can try eating less oxalate-rich foods. Some foods to eat less of include potato chips, peanuts, chocolate, beets, and spinach.

Uric Acid

Look out fellas. This stone forms when urine is too acidic and is more common in men than in women. Uric acid can also occur in people with gout issues or people going through chemotherapy.

Note: A diet rich in purines can increase your urines acidic level.

Struvite

Roughly 10-15 percent of all kidney stones are from struvite and are more common in women than in men. Struvite stones is a mineral that’s produced by bacteria in your urinary tract. This stone is in women with urinary tract infections. They are large, causing a urinary obstruction and even causing damage to your kidney. Struvite stones can proliferate and block your kidney, ureter, or bladder.

Cystine

Cystine stones are rare. They occur in both men and women who have the genetic disorder cystinuria. With this type of stone, cystine (an acid that naturally occurs in the body) leaks from the kidneys into the urine. Cystine stones tend to recur and are usually larger than other kidney stones.  Most people with cystinuria have recurring stones that never heal.

The First Signs of Kidney Stones

Luckily your body will give you a few early warning signs if you do have a stone brewing inside your kidneys. Here are10 things to look out for:

1. You Keep Needing to Urinate

One of the earliest signs is a sudden and puzzling need to urinate. This sudden need to urinate will happen, even when you haven’t been drinking vast quantities of fluid.