Kidney Stone Smarts: The Truth About Cola & Calcium

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FLORIDA - BACKGROUND: Kidney stones (renal lithiasis) are small, hard deposits that form inside the kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts. Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together. (SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com)

SYMPTOMS: A kidney stone may not cause symptoms until it moves around within the kidney or passes into the ureter. At that point, these signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Pain on urination
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent urge to urinate
  • Fever and chills if an infection is present

(SOURCE: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health)

CAUSES: Kidney stones form when urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in urine can dilute. At the same time, urine may lack substances that keep crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form. (SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com)

KIDNEY STONES AND KIDS: No exact information about the incidence of kidney stones in children is available, but many kidney specialists report seeing more children with this condition in recent years. While kidney stones are more common in adults, they do occur in infants, children, and teenagers from all races and ethnicities. To prevent kidney stones, health care providers and their patients must understand what is causing the stones to form. Especially in children with suspected metabolic abnormalities or with recurrent stones, a 24-hour urine collection is obtained to measure daily urine volume and to determine if any underlying mineral abnormality is making a child more likely to form stones. Based on the analysis of the collected urine, the treatment can be individualized to address a metabolic problem. In all circumstances, children should drink plenty of fluids to keep the urine diluted and flush away substances that could form kidney stones. Urine should be almost clear. (SOURCE: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov)

TREATMENT: Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage. Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances, surgery may be needed. Your doctor may recommend preventive treatment to reduce your risk of recurrent kidney stones if you're at increased risk of developing them again. (SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com)