A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from urine within your urinary tract. Normally, your urine contains chemicals that stop crystals from forming. But these chemicals don’t always do their job. In some people, crystals form stones. If kidney stones stay small enough they will pass through your urinary tract and won’t cause you any problems.
Sometimes, however, kidney stones may grow larger and cause some painful symptoms. The most common type of stone contains calcium combined with oxalate or phosphate. There are other types of stones too: one type is caused by an infection in the urinary tract and another is made from uric acid crystals.
Kidney stones occur more often in men, especially between the ages of 40 and 70. For women, kidney stones seem to peak when they are in their 50s. Once you get more than one stone, other stones are likely to develop.
There are a lot of strategies you can take to prevent kidney stones from forming. If you have had a kidney stone before, try to avoid foods high in oxalates. Here’s a list to help you out:
- Swiss chard
- Wheat germ
- Sweet potatoes
However, if you have your heart set on eating rhubarb pie and chocolate cake, here’s some good news. Researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health have discovered that a naturally occurring bacteria reduces the risk of recurrent kidney stones by 70%.
Two hundred and forty-seven adults with recurrent kidney stones were compared to a control group. The researchers looked for the bacteria. Those who had the naturally occurring type of bacteria were far less likely to develop new kidney stones.
The use of bacteria has not yet been developed as a probiotic type of treatment. If you suffer from reoccurring kidney stones, however, a product may soon be available.
In the meantime, it may be possible to avoid the pain and irritation of kidney stones by carefully watching your diet.