Kidney stones are formed as a result of there being irregular levels of salts, oxalates, minerals, and water in the urine. They cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, ranging from severe back pain, pain in the abdomen and groin, nausea, vomiting, extreme chills followed by fever, and of course, difficulty in passing water.
The medical term for the condition is Nephrolithiasis, and it is a condition that generally affects more males than females. Despite the pain and discomfort that the stones can inflict upon a patient, these symptoms are not in evidence all the time; there are periods when there will be little or no discomfort at all. However, some cases of kidney stones do require intensive or dramatic treatment, which is when you will be glad that you have good comprehensive health and medical insurance to cover the cost.
Understanding the Causes of Kidney Stones
The kidneys usually flush out all of the toxins in our bodies through our urine, but there are times when this process stops working effectively. For example:
- Dehydration – if we don’t drink enough water, the substances in the kidneys will not be flushed through, resulting in a build-up of salts that will eventually form stones.
- Poor Diet – A high protein diet, or a diet rich in sugars and salt can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
- Genetics – If either parent of a child has had a problem with kidney stones, it is likely that they too will experience them.
- Hormones – Hormonal imbalance can result in a build-up of calcium in the body, which can lead to the formation of calcium-based stones.
The presence of kidney stones will be confirmed with a scan. Depending upon the quantity and the size of the stones, it may be that simply increasing your fluid intake will allow them to be flushed through the kidneys and passed naturally, although uncomfortably through the urine. Painkilling medication can be prescribed to ease the discomfort that this can cause.
When a stone is too large to leave the body naturally, further treatment is required. The most common treatment is lithotripsy, which is the use of ultrasound waves to break the stone down into smaller parts, which can then be passed naturally through the urine. The cost of treatments, of course, varies depending upon where you live, which is one of the reasons why good health cover is imperative.
Prevention of Kidney Stones
Prevention is always the best option. When thinking about kidney stone prevention, there are three main methods, all of which are inexpensive and require a simple lifestyle change. You need to drink more clear fluids, enjoy a diet low in oxalates, and exercise regularly as it promotes the transit of calcium from the blood and into the bones where it is needed. Try and avoid sugar-rich fizzy drinks as they can make any existing kidney stone problem worse. By making these simple changes, you may never need to claim treatment on your health insurance.