About one in ten people will suffer from a kidney stone this year. These small “stones” form from mineral and salts in the kidney. When the stone passes out of the kidney on the way to the bladder, the kidney stone tends to become lodged resulting in pink, red, or brown urine and extreme discomfort and pain. There are several causes of kidney stones, but the most common are excess calcium oxalate, urinary tract infections, or high uric acid levels.
Most kidney stones form from calcium oxalate – a substance found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and chocolate – and are relatively small. Many people who develop UTI’s will develop larger kidney stones which develop fast and sometimes require medical intervention to treat. Finally, people who do not drink enough water or suffer from gout (which results in higher uric acid levels) will more frequently develop kidney stones.
Typically kidney stones pass within a few weeks when patients drink plenty of water. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc.) help with pain and may decrease urinary spasms that cause pain. For larger stones, many patients need to be placed on medications such as Flomax (Tamsulosin). These medications relax part of the bladder which allows stones to pass quicker and easier than normal.
If you develop kidney stones talk to your doctor. It’s important to find out the reason to help avoid future issues.
Your Family Pharmacist,