Last summer on a Saturday night, I found myself in the hospital emergency room. I had a sudden onset of flank discomfort, and the pain was unbearable. The pain was actually far more severe than when I broke my foot.
An X- ray determined that I had a kidney stone.
One sympathetic nurse who set up my IV of fluids who also had passed a large kidney stone said that her experience was more painful than natural childbirth.
Approximately 13 percent of men and 7 percent of women In the United States will have a kidney stone sometime in their lifetime, according to the University of Michigan Health System. And unfortunately, I am one of these people. More than 1 million people will have a kidney stone this year alone.
The last time I had an experience with a kidney stone was 20 years ago, so this was not a recurring issue. However, having stones prior does put one at risk for a recurrence. Fortunately, I did not have any infection so I was not prescribed any antibiotics, but some people do have a urinary tract infection as well.
What was shocking to me was that, despite running several half-marathons earlier in the year, I was not as healthy as I presumed. The urologist who treated me contended that the kidney stone mostly likely began to form in January, and was caused by chronic dehydration.
In fact, I learned that dehydration is the number one cause of kidney stones.
After leaving the hospital, I followed up with a different urologist, and found out that a diet low in salt is also advised. This is something which I was unaware of but now I am carefully monitoring my salt intake, and trying to eat foods low in sodium.
The Mayo Clinic also confirms that these are both good practices.
While kidney stones are a very painful experience that no one wants to have, there are some preventive measures that can be taken.