At the International Kidney Stone Institute, our goal is nothing less than the cure.
Calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common type of stone, tend to run in families. While a family history does not guarantee stone formation, it does increase the likelihood of forming stones.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005 found that obesity and weight gain are associated with higher risk of stone formation, even after correcting for dietary influence, age and fluid intake. In addition, several studies have shown that insulin resistant patients, who are typically obese, form very acidic urine. This puts them at increased risk of uric acid stone formation.
The common American diet contains excesses sodium/salt and protein which both increase risk of stones; the former is most relevant for calcium stone formers, while the latter is important for both calcium and uric acid stone formers. Restaurant and prepared foods such as frozen entrees tend to be very high in sodium. A diet high in fresh foods, with moderate protein and minimal added salt may be beneficial for stone prevention.
Anything that decreases the amount of urine production can increase the risk of stones. When less urine is produced, the same amount of waste products are concentrated in a smaller volume of urine. Evaporative loss of fluid through the skin should be made up for with extra beverage intake.
The goal for stone formers should be to urinate more than 2 quarts, or 64 ounces, per day. Highly concentrated urine, associated with low fluid intake, is a risk factor for stone formation.
If you have had a kidney stone in the past, you are at increased risk of forming more stones in the future.
Blood in the urine, or hematuria, can come from any part of the urinary tract: the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. The most common causes of hematuria are infection, stones and tumors. It is important that the source of bleeding be determined to rule out cancers or stones that are causing blockage.
One type of stone, called struvite, forms in the presence of certain urinary bacteria. Because they have more infections, women and people with urinary drainage tubes or ostomies are at highest risk for this kind of stone.
When urine sits in part of the urinary tract longer than usual due to anatomic blockage, the risk of stones increases. Stones can form in the kidney if the ureter drainage tube is blocked. They can also form in the bladder if an enlarged prostate is preventing the bladder from emptying.
Alterations in bowel function or length of bowel from surgery affect how and what is absorbed by the intestine. As a consequence, urine is altered and these patients may form stones more readily.