If you've ever had a kidney stone, you know how painful it can be, especially if you've had it more than once. Having a kidney stone once is unfortunate enough, but what can you do if they keep coming back?
Recurring kidney stones happen for various reasons, including genetics and obesity. If you continue to have pelvic pain, flank pain, and painful urination, it's essential to find out what's causing the problem.
At Collaborative Women's Care in Miami, Florida, Dr. Eduardo Valdes specializes in women's health, including getting to the bottom of pelvic pain. He offers lifestyle treatments to help control your weight and correct any other issues that may be contributing to recurrent kidney stones.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are small, complex objects from chemicals that build up in the urine. Different forms of kidney stones develop when there's not enough liquid in the urine.
Too little liquid in the kidneys allows waste products to build up, which promotes crystal formation. As the crystals grow, they form stones made from various chemicals in the urine.
The stones begin to cause problems when they try to exit the kidneys. If they're big enough, they block the ureter, causing pain and discomfort in the abdomen, flank, and pelvis.
Signs of a kidney stone
Kidney stones cause various symptoms, depending on where they are in the kidney and their size. Some kidney stones are incredibly tiny, while others could be the size of a small pebble.
Generally, the more severe the symptoms, the larger the stone in the kidney. Many people with large stones experience the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the urine
- Cloudy urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Abdominal pain
- Flank or pelvic pain
- Chills or fever
Kidney stones cause pain when they lodge in the ureter or lower end of the kidney. They lead to irritation in the kidney, which causes extreme pain.
Most kidney stones pass independently without significant damage to the ureter or kidney. Still, they often are severely painful during the process.
Why do kidney stones come back?
Kidney stones may be frequent for many reasons. Genetics, as do lifestyle habits, plays a role in your chances of developing multiple kidney stones.
For example, not drinking enough water or fluid throughout the day increases your risk of kidney stones. Eating foods that contain a lot of salt or sugar also increases the risk of recurring kidney stones.
Obesity also contributes to kidney stone development. Often, people who are obese eat a lot of food that contains sugar and salt, both of which can develop into kidney stones.
People who are living with obesity or type 2 diabetes or eat a diet high in animal proteins are more likely to develop uric acid kidney stones.
Women are also at a higher risk for recurring struvite kidney stones due to chronic urinary tract infections. The proximity of the urethra to the anus and vagina in women makes it more likely for them to develop urinary tract infections.
Steps to reduce the risk of kidney stones
Dr. Valdes carefully evaluates your health and lifestyle habits to determine what could be causing recurrent kidney stones. If you have pelvic pain, he rules out other issues to get to the bottom of the problem.
If lifestyle factors cause kidney stones, he helps you determine what you can change to decrease your risk. Some lifestyle tips to prevent kidney stones include:
- Drink plenty of water
- Cut back on salt and sugar
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Wipe front to back after going to the bathroom
- Get treatment for UTIs right away
- Eat a healthy diet
Dr. Valdes also offers weight loss counseling, which helps you lose excess fat and weight to promote a healthier lifestyle with fewer medical issues and complications.
Call our office today at 305-200-3878 for tips on preventing kidney stones, or schedule a consultation with Dr. Valdes online.