Kidney and bladder health

31 August 2006

The lowdown on kidney stones

Women who have had kidney stones and who have had children generally agree that having kidney stones was a lot more painful than having a child.


Kidney stones form either because of excess salts or because of inefficiency in the body's clearing mechanism. Bladder infections can also lead to kidney stones as can dehydration and the accumulation of oxalic and uric acid. Uric acid is hard to dissolve and can easily lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Interestingly enough, many people have kidney stones that cause no pain at all and are often only detected when they are examined by a doctor for other conditions.

About 80 percent of the stones are composed of calcium and vary in size from too small to be seen by the naked eye to about 1,5 cm in diameter.

The main symptoms of kidney stones are pain in the lower abdomen, excruciating pain in the flank that spreads across the abdomen to the groin area, nausea, vomiting and frequent urination.

If stones are not too large, they can be passed during urination, or they can be made smaller or dissolved by making the urine more alkaline. Sometimes large kidney stones need to be surgically removed.

What you can do to prevent kidney stone formation

  • Drink lots of water – up to 10 glasses per day
  • Eat a diet low in sugar, salt and refined foods and high in fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals
  • Eat less meat, fish and poultry, because these foods increase the level of uric acid in the urine
  • Don't reduce your calcium intake significantly, unless you were eating excessive amounts.

Read more:
Visit Health24’s Kidney and Bladder Centre


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.