Kidney Stones and Dehydration: An Overview
Little, dense mineral crystals called kidney stones develop in the kidneys. The stones may be as tiny as a sand grain or as large as a golf ball, and when they move through the urinary tract, they can be quite painful and uncomfortable.
Dehydration is frequently the cause of kidney stones because it can result in a concentration of minerals and other compounds in the urine. These compounds can precipitate and form crystals, which can then develop into bigger stones if the quantity of these substances in the urine exceeds their solubility.
If left untreated, kidney stones can cause serious complications, including urinary tract infections, blockages in the urinary tract, and kidney damage.
To prevent the formation of kidney stones, it is important to stay well-hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Dehydration can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, so it is essential to drink enough fluids to keep the body hydrated and prevent urine from becoming too concentrated.
In addition, limiting the intake of foods high in oxalates and sodium can also help reduce the risk of kidney stones. By following these guidelines and seeking prompt medical attention if symptoms occur, individuals can prevent the formation of kidney stones due to dehydration and maintain good kidney health.
Symptoms of kidney stones can include severe back pain, pain in the lower abdomen or side, nausea, vomiting, fever, and urine in the blood.
Treatment for kidney stones depends on the size and location of the stone and the severity of the symptoms. Small stones may pass through the urinary tract with the help of pain medication and increased fluid intake.
In contrast, larger stones may require medical procedures such as shockwave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy to break up or remove the stone. Lifestyle changes such as drinking more water and reducing intake of certain foods may also help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Kidney Stones and Dehydration: Types
Although calcium and oxalate make up the majority of kidney stones, some also contain uric acid, phosphate, cystine, ammonia, and xanthine. Dehydration contributes to the formation of kidney stones because your urine becomes more concentrated.
The various forms of dehydration-induced kidney stones that can impact how they form and what they are made of are as follows:
- Calcium phosphate stones (phosphate and calcium)
- Struvite stones (ammonia, phosphate, and calcium)
- Xanthine stones (xanthine)
- Calcium oxalate stones (oxalate and calcium)
- Uric acid stones (uric acid)
- Cystine stones (cystine)
It is evident from the research studies that 70% of kidney stones in patients are calcium oxalate stones.
Can Dehydration Cause Kidney Stones?
Dehydration is a common cause of kidney stone formation. The kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from the blood, which are then eliminated through the urine.
When enough water is absent in the body, the kidneys have to work harder to concentrate urine, which can result in kidney stones.
Dehydration causes the urine to become more concentrated, forming crystals that can clump together and form kidney stones. These stones can cause pain, nausea, and other symptoms.
Moreover, dehydration can also decrease urine volume, which can cause minerals and other substances in the urine to become more concentrated.
These compounds can precipitate and form crystals, which can then develop into bigger stones if the quantity of these substances in the urine exceeds their solubility.
This is why dehydrated individuals are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones. It is essential to drink enough fluids to keep the body hydrated and prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Kidney Stones and Dehydration: Prevention
Kidney stones can be avoided in many different ways. Avoiding dehydration is one of the most crucial things you can do to stop kidney stones from forming.
This helps to keep the urine diluted and prevents minerals and other substances from becoming too concentrated and forming crystals. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily, and even more if you exercise regularly or live in a hot climate.
Another important factor in preventing kidney stones is to watch your diet. Limit your intake of foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, and nuts, as these can contribute to forming calcium oxalate stones.
Similarly, limit your intake of foods high in sodium, as this can increase the amount of calcium in the urine and lead to the formation of calcium stones.
Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are also important, as obesity and inactivity can increase the risk of kidney stones. Following these guidelines can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and maintain good kidney health.
Kidney Stones and Dehydration: Symptoms
Symptoms are typically absent until a kidney stone moves around or enters one of the ureters. Ureters link the kidneys and bladder.
A kidney stone stuck in the ureters can restrict the urine’s flow, inflame the kidney, and cause the ureter to spasm, all of which can be excruciatingly painful. You can then experience the following signs:
- Severe pain in the back, side, and below the ribs
- Pain in the form of waves
- Burning sensation with pain during urination
- Red, pink, or brown urine
- Cloudy or stench-filled pee
- A constant need to urinate, urinating more frequently than normal, or urinating infrequently
- Nausea and diarrhea
- Infection, fever, and chills
Kidney Stones and Dehydration: Diagnostic Tests
There are several diagnostic tests available for kidney stones. One of the most commonly used tests is a urine analysis, which can help identify urine substances that may contribute to the formation of kidney stones, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid.
Blood tests can also be performed to check for elevated levels of certain minerals, such as calcium, which can indicate the presence of kidney stones. Imaging tests (X-rays, CT scans) and ultrasounds can also be used to visualize the stones and determine their size and location.
Sometimes, a ureteroscopy may be performed to visualize the stones and remove them directly. During this procedure, a thin tube with a camera is inserted into the urethra and passed through the bladder and up into the ureter, where the stone is located.
Once the stone is identified, it can be removed using specialized tools. This procedure is often done under general anesthesia and is typically outpatient. Ultimately, the diagnostic tests used will depend on the individual case and the severity of the kidney stone.
In conclusion, dehydration is a common cause of kidney stone formation. When the body lacks enough fluids, the urine becomes more concentrated, forming crystals that can clump together and form kidney stones.
This is why it is crucial to drink enough fluids and stay well-hydrated to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones can cause serious complications if left untreated, making it important to seek medical attention promptly.
HG Analytics offers diagnostic tests for kidneys to identify and treat kidney stones effectively.