According to the WHO, an estimated 10% of the population has had a kidney stone, a solid material that forms in the kidney as a result of substances that are present in the urine.
As the MedlinePlus webpage explains, kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a pearl. Most kidney stones are eliminated from the body without the need for medical intervention. Sometimes, however, they can involve a more complex process as they can get stuck in the urinary tract, block the flow of urine and cause significant pain.
What are their symptoms?
According to the U.S. Nacional Kidney Foundation, a kidney stone may not cause symptoms until it begins to travel out of the kidney and through the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). Here are some signs and symptoms to remember:
- Pain that extends towards the lower part of the abdomen and groin. This may occur in waves and its intensity may vary.
- Discomfort when urinating.
- Pink, red or brown urine. In some cases an unpleasant odor is also evident.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Constant need to urinate.
- Fever and chills (these can occur when there is an infection).
How to prevent kidney stones
- Drinking two liters of water a day helps prevent kidney stones from forming. This helps prevent these organs from overworking, allowing them to constantly excrete excess substances out of the body, little by little.
- Do light exercise for 30 minutes a day in clean air environments.
- Reduce the consumption of foods that are high in calcium, and when there are issues with the kidneys, maintain a diet that is low in red meat and avoid foods that are high in oxalates such as cocoa, coffee, spinach, strawberries, tea, beets, nuts, and wheat.
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