The organs of the urinary system include the kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder, and urethra. These five organs act as your body’s drainage system, working in harmony for normal urination. Any disruption in the routine function of your urinary tract can cause disorders such as interstitial cystitis, kidney failure, urinary tract infections, or kidney stones. At Alliance Urology, we understand that kidney stones can cause unpleasant and inconvenient symptoms. Here are five tips on how to relieve kidney stones.
What Are Kidney Stones?
According to the Urology Care Foundation, kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. Urine naturally contains these salts and minerals, though an overproduction can cause stones to form. Family or personal history of kidney stones, hyperparathyroidism, and digestive diseases or surgeries may make kidney stones more likely. Symptoms of kidney stones can include
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea or vomiting
- Discolored or foul-smelling urine
- Fever or chills
- Increased need to urinate
- Passing only small amounts of urine
At Alliance Urology, we understand that kidney stones can cause unpleasant and inconvenient symptoms. It is essential to know the ways you can relieve kidney stones.
Water is the underlying remedy to help relieve kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps to dilute substances in urine that leads to stones. Increasing your water intake to 12 glasses per day instead of the recommended 8 per day when dealing with kidney stones can be beneficial. Monitoring the color of urine can help detect if you are well hydrated. Light yellow, clear, and near odorless urine means you are hydrated, while dark yellow, strong ordered urine may suggest you are dehydrated. Other signs and symptoms of dehydration include headache, fatigue, dry mouth, and increased feelings of thirst.
Reduce Animal Protein Intake
Research indicates that those whose diet is high in animal proteins are more likely to develop kidney stones. A National Library of Medicine study found that a high intake of animal proteins may increase calcium excretion and decrease levels of citrate. NIH advises reducing the ingestion of animal proteins, oxalate, and sodium while maintaining an intake of 800 to 1200 mg of calcium and increasing consumption of citrate and potassium. When reducing animal protein intake, it is essential to get in plant-based protein, as your body needs protein to repair cells and make new ones. Some good sources of non-animal proteins include beans, tofu, edamame, lentils, soy products, and seeds.
Decrease Salt Intake
Salt is a mineral and an essential nutrient found in many foods. Sodium helps keep normal fluids balanced in your body, yet most people tend to intake an excessive amount of sodium. Federal guidelines suggest limiting your total daily salt intake to 2,300mg of salt per day. Other recommendations suggest an even lower amount of salt per day, around 1,500mg if sodium has contributed to you developing kidney stones in the past.
Signs and symptoms do not always accompany kidney stones. Sometimes you may not even know you have a stone. Kidney stones tend to start small and get bigger over time. However, if the stones reach the bladder and become large enough, they can block the urine flow from your kidney, which causes discomfort and pain. There are several options for kidney stone treatment, such as medication to help dissolve the stones. Other medical therapy may require extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) or percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL).
For diagnosis and treatment with any problem related to the bladder, reproductive, or genitourinary system, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Our state-of-the-art services and procedures at Alliance Urology can help alleviate your urologic disorders, including diagnosing and helping to relieve kidney stones. For questions and inquiries, please call our office in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.