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Kidney Stones 101

By HERWriter
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Kidney Stones related image Photo: Getty Images

According to the National Kidney Foundation, "more than half a million people go to the emergency room annually for kidney stones." The Foundation states, "The prime age for kidney stones is between the ages of 20 through 50."

Men and women both suffer from kidney stones. However, men are twice as like to have kidney stones. African-Americans are less likely to suffer from kidney stones.

Symptoms for kidney stones are the same for both men and women. Since some women have a higher threshold of pain, some women may ignore their symptoms and classify their pain as menstrual cramps, back pain or sore muscles.

Additional symptoms of kidney stones include:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Fever
• Chills
• Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
• Burning feeling when you urinate
• Severe pain on either side of your lower back
• More vague pain
• A stomach ache that doesn’t go away
• Blood in your urine

People who are at risk for developing kidney stones include those who have:

• Chronic diarrhea
• Diabetes (especially in younger women)
• Family members who have had kidney stones
• High blood pressure
• Kidney cysts might increase the risk of stones
• Obesity
• Osteoporosis

There are four types of kidney stones:

• Calcium stone
• Struvite stone
• Uric stone
• Cystine stone

These stones can range in size from the size of a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. The stones are usually brown or yellow in color and they can have jagged or smooth edges.

If you are prone to kidney stones, your doctor may ask you to strain your urine to capture the stone. The capture of the stone will determine what type of stone your body is producing. The type of stone you have will also determine what course of action your doctor will take to prevent future stones.

Possible causes of kidney stones include:

• Too much exercise
• Too little exercise
• Not drinking enough water
• Obesity
• Weight loss surgery
• Eating food with too much salt or sugar
• Eating too much fructose (table sugar and high fructose corn syrup)

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.