CAUSES – Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine. Gout results in chronically increased amount of uric acid in the blood and urine and can lead to the formation of uric acid stones. High calcium in the urine causes stones in more than half of cases. In this condition, too much calcium is absorbed from food and excreted into the urine, where it may form calcium phosphate or calcium oxalate stones.
TREATMENT – Most kidney stones eventually pass through the urinary tract on their own within three to six weeks, with ample fluid intake. Home care includes the consumption of plenty of fluids and aspirin for pain relief. If kidney stones do not pass on their own, a procedure which uses shock waves is used to break up a large stone into smaller pieces that can then pass through the urinary system. Surgical techniques have also been developed to remove kidney stones when other treatment methods are not effective.
PREVENTION – It can be especially helpful to drink more water, since low fluid intake and dehydration are major risk factors for kidney stone formation. People who have a tendency to form calcium oxalate kidney stones should limit their consumption of foods high in oxalate, such as chocolate, celery, grapes, bell peppers, beans, strawberries, spinach, asparagus, beets, and black tea.