Kidney stones are no joke. They can cause lots of pain, and they’re quite common among Americans: Nearly one in 10 people will deal with a kidney stone at some point in their lives.

Read on to learn more about kidney stones from our AFC Urgent Care Hixson team!

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are solid masses made of substances that have crystallized and fused together. The usually originate in the kidney, but they can develop anywhere along the urinary tract, which consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.

Kidney stones can be caused by a number of factors, including eating a poor diet, being overweight, having certain medical problems and taking certain supplements and medications. You’re most likely dealing with a kidney stone if you’re experiencing the symptoms described below.

Common Kidney Stone Symptoms

  • Severe, sharp pain in the side and back, below the ribs
  • Pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating

Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

They can, but just like other medical issues, prevention tactics against kidney stones aren’t 100% effective. Some risk factors, like family history, poor hydration and an unhealthy diet, can contribute to a higher likelihood of kidney stones.

If kidney stones run in your family or if you are over age 30, be sure you are following the prevention tactics that we’ve listed below to benefit your kidney health!

Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones

  • Stay adequately hydrated. Drinking lots of water helps the urinary system filter out waste and lower the risk of developing crystals that turn into kidney stones.
  • Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. Oxalates can be bad for the urinary system, due to the fact that they can bind to minerals in the gut and prevent the body from absorbing them. This, in turn, can cause kidney stones. If you are more susceptible to urinary tract problems, consider limiting foods rich in oxalates. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate, black pepper and soy products.
  • Choose a diet low in salt. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies. Eating healthy fruits and veggies makes urine less acidic, which makes stones less able to form.

Whether it’s a kidney stone or another non-emergency medical issue, we can provide the care you need! Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Hixson center today.