Kidney Stones are common and the incidence is increasing! There are 5 things you need to know and do to help protect your kidneys and remain healthy.
- Know how common kidney stones are, their symptoms, and get help if you have them
- Find out the type of kidney stone you have as this will help determine the diet you will need to follow
- Know your kidney function blood test results
- Know your kidney imaging results: ask your doctor if there is any swelling otherwise known as hydronephrosis which is a condition caused by blocking of the urine flow by stones
- Know that the crystals that form stones can, by themselves cause bad kidney damage besides just stones in a whole condition called crystal nephropathy: so follow your doctors orders even when you don’t have that large kidney stone or its excruciating pain
Learn More about Kidney Stones!
Kidney Stones are common and their incidence is increasing especially with changes in lifestyle, climate change, food insecurity, infections and decreasing access to medical care and education resources. At The Kidney Protector we believe in providing everyone with more information that helps empowerment, and behavior change that promotes good health.
Kidney stones are just one of the many manifestations of crystals being present in your urinary system when they are not supposed to be there. The symptoms and signs of kidney stones include blood in the urine, red or discolored urine, burning on urination, back or side pain, fever, chills, nausea and/or vomiting, urinary tract infections, swelling of the kidney, and kidney failure in some cases.
The different kidney stone types are:
- Calcium Stones
- Calcium oxalate most common among all stone types: The King of Stones and more common than its little brother: the Prince:
- Calcium Phosphate
- Urate or Uric acid
- Struvite Stones: destructive and scary: they can form the monster stones called staghorn calculi that can grow to sizes nearly as big as your kidney (only one other stone type can do this: cystine stones)!!! These are related to urinary tract infections (UTIs) with bacteria that can split urea using an enzyme called urease. This stone type can cause kidney failure more commonly than the others if not treated properly and swiftly. They teach us to never ignore UTIs! See a ghastly photograph of a staghorn kidney stone there. The Cleveland Clinic has a very informative article on staghorn calculi: click here to read it!
- Cystine: a hereditary type of stone due to a condition called Cystinuria: it runs in families and causes formation of beautiful hexagonal crystals that resemble this beautiful art-piece below! Clue: Hexagonal Tessellation
Bonus: Special Kidney Stones Due to Medications
Bonus: Special Stones: There are medications can cause crystals and stones so if you are taking any of the following medications, please follow your doctor’s instructions, do the lab tests requested and report any new symptoms like blood in the urine, red or discolored urine, burning on urination, back or side pain, fever, chills, nausea and/or vomiting to your doctor right away!
Antiviral Medications that can cause Kidney Stones and Crystals
- Acyclovir which may be used for cold sores or other herpes virus infections
Antibiotic Medications that can cause Kidney Stones and Crystals
- Antibiotics containing sulfonamides like: Sulfadiazine, Bactrim
Miscellaneous/Other Categories of Drugs that can cause Kidney Stones and Crystals
This category is noteworthy because it contains medications that are available over-the-counter (without a prescription), prescription drugs and health food store/alternative medications,
- Methotrexate used in cancer treatment, treatment of autoimmune disorders, and in some ectopic pregnancies.
- Sulfasalazine: used in the treatment of autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid arthritis and also in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Triamterene: an antihypertensive: potassium-sparing diuretic) used to treat high blood pressure but also used to treat hyperaldosteronism, syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess (AME).
- Pseudoephedrine: a decongestant found in may over-the-counter cough, cold, flu, allergy, allergy-sinus and sinus medications
- Vitamin C: yes! vitamin C pills/capsules/tablet cause kidney stones because they are converted to oxalate which is a necessary ingredient in the most common kidney stone type. The risk is greatest with amounts of 1000mg (1g) or higher but even lower doses can be problematic in people who already have calcium oxalate kidney stones.
- Ephedrine: this is found in herbal supplements and other health food store supplements that contain Ma Huang
- Djenkol (or Jengkol) Beans and related products: these form needle-like crystals that can cause acute kidney injury even before stones are formed. Read more about them, the dishes and products here.
- Magnesium trisilicate
The most common type is Calcium Oxalate kidney stones. This flu season, please remember that vitamin C tablets increases the formation of calcium phosphate kidney stones so you should not be taking vitamin C tablets if you have calcium oxalate stones (as vitamin C is metabolized to oxalate).
See our kidney stone posters!
The above is a helpful kidney stone poster for calcium oxalate stones and more than 10 foods to avoid if you have that type of kidney stone! The poster contains educational information regarding the right dietary choices that may help to prevent both further crystal formation and stone formation regarding the most common type of kidney stones: calcium oxalate stones. There are two types of crystals that help form calcium oxalate stones: the more classically shaped calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals and the calcium oxalate monohydrate crystals which are dumbbell shaped. Find more helpful information regarding this and other types of kidney stones here!
The entire kidney stone poster is projected on a background of art of a hydronephrotic kidney (a swelling of the kidney due to an obstruction of urine flow) which is one of the most feared complications of nephrolithiasis (the medical term for kidney stones). It reminds one to seek water and citrus fruits which help to discourage kidney stones made of oxalate.
The safe amount of water to be consumed is dependent upon the individual patient’s kidney function and should be determined by their Doctor who has knowledge of their lab results. The recommended daily urine output to help deter stone formation is greater than or equal to 2.5 liters: a goal which can be achieved by increasing water consumption/intake. Patients must talk to their doctors about the right amount of water dependent on their kidney function!
This is a poster in “the kidney dialogue” series. Our kidney stone poster is not medical advice: It was produced for the purpose of education and entertainment. Always talk to your doctor as there are other types of kidney stones and you need special testing to determine the type you have and any other dietary or medication changes you will need to make.
For options for wall art and other cool related accessories, click the separate button at the bottom of this page and it will take you to a separate store for art!