PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Back pain is something many of us experience. But sometimes that pain has nothing at all to do with your back. The source of that discomfort could be coming from your kidneys.
Anybody who’s ever had kidney stones will tell you how painful they can be. As Eyewitness News Healthbeat Reporter Mark Hiller explains, what’s troubling is they’re becoming increasingly common.
More Americans are suffering from kidney stones than ever before. That’s the finding of a recent three decade study done in the U.S. The research shows the number of men suffering from the condition doubled while women saw a fourfold increase. Kidney stones can affect any part of your urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder. When asked how painful kidney stones can be, Geisinger Urologist John Danella, MD said, “Extremely painful. Most women who have given birth and have had kidney stones will tell you kidney stones are more painful.”
Kidney stones are hard deposits composed of minerals and salts that crystalize in the kidneys. Dr. Danella says the symptoms are usually pretty classic. “Pain on one side or the other that sort of radiates around to the groin area. It’s not pain that goes across the back. It’s usually associated with nausea and vomiting.”
So what causes kidney stones? The reasons could be genetic or environmental but Dr. Danella says it’s usually what you’re not consuming. “The main thing is people should concentrate on hydrating… drinking a lot more water. That’s healthy for you for a lot of reasons so, you know, clearly, that’s something that we should all be doing.”
While 8 to 10 glasses of water a day can help prevent kidney stones, certain foods can increase your risk according to Dr. Danella. “If you have too much protein in your diet that can lead to certain types of stones. If you have too much sodium in your diet that can lead to certain types of stones.”
Surgery is rarely need to remove a kidney stone. Plenty of water and some pain medication to help you cope while passing it usually does the trick. Dr. Danella said, “If you do form a stone, the stone should be analyzed because not all stones are the same and depending on what the composition of the stone is there might be different recommendations going forward.”
Dr. Danella said the pain from kidney stones isn’t the result of passing a stone. The stone itself is pretty small but big enough to backup the flow of urine causing all that pain. The two biggest takeaways? Include more water and less salt in your diet.