Duraiswamy Reddy Street, West Tambaram, Chennai - 45
Kidney Stone for Women
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are small, hard bits of crystals that have grown in the kidney, minerals like calcium that are filtered by the kidney. Kind of like hard water that develops hard bits in your tea kettle. They can be small, much smaller than a pea, but they don't feel small. They're usually without symptoms when they're growing in the kidney but when they pass down the very small tube called the ureter, they can get stuck and cause severe pain called renal colic. Renal colic is an intermittent severe pain in your back or side that might move into your pelvis as the stone is passing down to the bladder. It's often associated with nausea and vomiting and frequent urination. There may be blood in the urine. There's really nothing quite like it except childbirth.
Who Is Most Affected by Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones aren't new. Evidence of bladder stones was found in a seven thousand year old Egyptian mummy. Bladder stones were well-known in Hippocrates' time in Ancient Greece. But kidney stones are becoming more common in the India and more common in women. We used to think that kidney stones were a problem for middle aged men but now, they're becoming more common in middle aged women and can also be a problem in pregnancy.
Once someone's had one kidney stone, they have about a 50/50 chance of getting another. Ow! Kidney stones now affect about one in ten men in their lifetime and one in twelve women. There are different kinds of minerals in kidney stones but the most common are calcium containing stones. There are some diseases that are associated with kidney stones like gout or overactive parathyroid gland and others but the most common stones just happen.
What Factors Increase Women's Risk of Kidney Stones?
Why is the incidence of kidney stones increasing in women? Well, the risk for stones include obesity, high-salt diet, increased sugar in the diet, and diabetes. All these risks have increased for women over the past 30 years. Some recent studies looked at the risks for kidney stones in women. 82,000 post-menopausal women were followed in the women's health initiative study. Women who didn't get stones had the highest intake of fiber, fruits and vegetables and lower sugar intake.
Unfortunately, women who've already had stones didn't seem to lower their risk of getting them by having a diet high in fiber, fruits and vegetables. So once you're a stone former you're kind of stuck, or the stone is stuck. Another study of many thousands of women showed that a diet high in calcium was a little bit of a risk but taking calcium supplements wasn't.