Kidney Stones

–  Dan Magrill, Consultant Urologist

Just over 10% of people in the UK will suffer from kidney stones before the age of 70. Consulting a specialist is therefore very worthwhile – a twenty-minute consultation can help establish your risk level, arrange any necessary tests, and get an appropriate referral. As with most conditions, it is far better to identify and treat kidney stones at an early stage.

Could I be suffering from kidney stones?

With more than 1 in 10 people suffering from kidney stones at some point in their lifetime, this is a question many of us will be asking ourselves. Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful for around 10% of sufferers. Tell-tale symptoms include loin pain, blood in your urine, and pain when you urinate. Kidney stones may spring to mind if your family members (especially parents) have been afflicted by them. 

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Severe loin pain
  • Back pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blood in your urine

Who can be affected by kidney stones?

In short, anyone can be affected by kidney stones, though they are more common in adult males.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases has suggested that the risk of developing symptomatic kidney stones significantly increases for women during pregnancy and that this increased level of risk can continue for a whole year after pregnancy.  

You may be at greater risk of kidney stones if:

  • You have had kidney stones yourself 
  • Someone in your family has had kidney stones
  • You have a history of kidney or urinary infections
  • Your diet is high in protein and/or low in fibre 
  • You are not drinking enough fluids
  • You use certain medications (such as aspirin, antacid, and some antibiotics)
  • You are male (men are three times more likely to get kidney stones than women)

What causes kidney stones?

The kidneys are the organs responsible for removing waste (such as water and minerals) from the blood – this is urine. Sometimes, these minerals can build up into solid material within the urinary tract – these are kidney stones. 

Drinking plenty of water helps to flush minerals from the body and the opposite is true – when people fail to drink enough fluids, this can lead to an unhealthy build-up of mineral deposits in the kidneys. If untreated, kidney stones can grow (in size and/or number) and lead to complications.

Most commonly, they are found in the kidneys, bladder, or ureters (tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder). Kidney stones are fairly common, with more than 1 in 10 people affected – occurring most often in those aged 30-60.

An appointment with a specialist consultant can help assess your risk level, based on genetic and environmental factors.  

Find and book a video appointment with a specialist consultant now.