Passing Kidney Stones in Women
While kidney stones can affect both men and women this condition is more common among the male population. The kidneys function as a filtering device that separate out water and other waste materials from the blood. This filtered water and waste products ultimately become deposited in the urinary bladder in the form of urine. These waste products are generally mineral materials that have the ability to crystallize. Tiny crystals formed clump together to form larger solid pieces termed medically as kidney stones.
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Dietary habits play a major role in the formation of kidney stones among the women population. Failure to consume wholesome foods and fresh fruits and vegetables regularly, increasing intake of caffeinated and carbonated beverages, and limiting water intake are all contributing factors. All this accompanied with reduced levels of activity, minimal or no exercises performed increases the possibility of kidney stone formation. The type of kidney stones formed can vary from calcium, uric acid, struvite, or cystine.
The symptoms experienced are same for all types of kidney stones. Generally severe pain is experienced in the lower abdomen and back region when the stone tries to pass through the ureters to the urinary bladder. But in women, this is often related to pain experienced during menstrual cycles and they do not give it much importance. As the stone approaches towards the bladder, the pain may radiate to the labia or even the vagina.
Our body naturally removes old bone tissues to be replaced with new ones. During the growing years, new bone tissues replace old ones at a rapid pace compared to adult years. The hormonal changes occurring during menopause in women, especially the decrease in estrogen levels aggravate the bone loss – losing bone mass at a much faster rate than the body can grow it.
The body meets its calcium requirements through dietary sources. But this may not be possible always. This is the reason why women nearing menopause are often put on calcium supplements by their physicians to maintain their bone health. At a dose of 1,200 mg per day, it is considered to be the greatest quantity attainable, while some physicians prefer higher doses to prevent osteoporosis. However, calcium in large quantities can increase the risk of kidney stone development. Moreover, the body is able to absorb calcium got from dietary sources readily than calcium obtained from supplements. Unabsorbed calcium ultimately gets deposited in urine where it can crystallize and clump with other mineral salts found suspended in urine to form stones.
Thiazide group of medications are diuretics that tend to increase the flow of urine. This can eventually aid in flushing tiny calcium stones out of the system along with urine. Thiazides are to a great extent beneficial to women for though they remove calcium from urine, they are returned back to blood thereby helping menopausal women deal with calcium deficiency.
Orthophosphate is another group of medicines that reduces calcium levels in urine. Take these medications along with meals and consume plenty of water following it.
The ideal way would be to consume plenty of water throughout the day to increase urine alkalinity. When the urine pH levels are maintained at normal levels constantly, this will discourage crystallization of minerals normally found in urine.