Kidney stones are among the most common and painful types of urologic disorders that affect both men and women. These stones are formed from dissolved minerals and crystals that have separated from the urine within the urinary tract. Kidney stones are categorized according to the type of chemicals they are mainly composed of. These are uric acid stones, cystine stones, struvite stones, and the calcium oxalate stones. Among these four, the calcium oxalate kidney stones are accountable for about 80% of all stones that are seen in laboratory results.
The Relationship Between Calcium and Kidney Stones
Various studies have been done, and are continuously being done, to determine the relationship between calcium and kidney stones and to find out better ways on how patients can properly manage calcium oxalate kidney stones.
In one of the major studies conducted, the results showed that calcium intake is actually related to decreased risks of developing symptomatic stones in the kidney. A study was also conducted on women taking calcium supplementations. The results supported the previous finding, claiming that there is no increase in stone formation despite these women taking calcium supplements. Both of these studies, however, were contradicted by the results of a later study that says an excessive amount of calcium in the urine is related to the formation of kidney stones.
While there is really not one clear explanation as to what exactly is the relationship between calcium and kidney stones, laboratory results on urine all seem to say one thing – that presence of calcium in the stones is, at times, remarkable and that calcium oxalates are huge components of many kidney stones.
The Formation of Calcium Kidney Stones
Calcium oxalates are usually formed within the large intestines when calcium combines with oxalates. Oxalates, while they are mainly produced in the liver, can also be found in certain types of foods. The calcium becomes insoluble when an oxalate attaches to it, producing calcium oxalates that form crystals in the urine when they get into the kidney.
Small calcium oxalate kidney stones may not be that dangerous as these can easily pass out of the body without causing any harm to the ureter. However, it’s when these stones have grown larger that they become a problem. Kidney stones can damage the lining of the ureter causing internal bleeding and permanent damage to the kidneys.
The best way to prevent the occurrence of calcium kidney stones is quite obvious. It is suggested that, while there is really no exact finding that says there is a significant relationship between kidney stones and calcium intake, patients suffering from calcium kidney stones cut down on their intake of dairy products and calcium supplements. These supplements should only be taken in moderation. Consulting a physician is the best way to determine a patient’s acceptable level of calcium intake.
Home remedies are also recommended. These include keeping patients hydrated by having them drink sufficient amount of water. Heat application, on the other hand, can reduce pain and discomfort associated with the kidney stones. When it comes to the types of food to eat, patients should limit their intake of oxalates which are present in green pepper, spinach, strawberries, chocolate, liver, and spinach.
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It is also recommended that patients who are seeing symptoms of kidney stones consult their physicians. Physicians will be able to determine whether or not they’re suffering from calcium oxalate kidney stones. They will also determine their best treatment method and management plan. Physicians would usually prescribe pain medications like Advil and Ibuprofen to relieve pain and discomfort in the abdominal area. Physicians will also prescribe a recommended daily intake of fluid, which is usually more than the normal eight to ten glasses of water daily.