Kidney Stone Q + A
Though they are usually quite small and are only in your system temporarily, kidney stones can inflict some serious pain. The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to keep them from forming. Here are answers to questions about recognizing, treating and preventing these tiny, painful pebbles.
Q. What is a kidney stone?
A. Kidney stones are made of salt and minerals from your urine that build up and stick together to form a pebble. They’re usually no larger than a grain of sand.
Q. How do I know if I have a kidney stone?
A. Sudden severe pain that gets worse in waves is the most common symptom. This occurs when the stone leaves the kidney and travels through the urinary tract. Some women describe it as the worst pain they’ve ever experienced. Other warning signs include nausea, blood in the urine or painful urination. If you experience any of these, be sure to see a doctor right away to find out what’s ailing you for sure – some of these symptoms are also signs of urinary tract infection.
Q. How do I get rid of a kidney stone?
A. Almost 90 percent of kidney stones will pass through the urinary tract on their own, usually taking between one and three weeks to clear your system. The smaller the stone, the more likely it is to pass on its own. Larger stones may require further treatment – they can be removed surgically or broken up into smaller pieces.
Q. How can I avoid getting kidney stones?
A. The No. 1 way to avoid painful kidney stones is to drink more fluids. This will better balance the salt and minerals in your body, making it difficult for stones to form. Eating more fiber and calcium rich foods – and eating less beef, pork, poultry and salty foods – can also make a difference.
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