If you are younger than age 40, you might think that kidney stones are things you won’t have to worry about for at least another 10 years. While it’s true that they most commonly affect people over age 40, they can affect anyone at any age, so it’s important to be aware of what they are and how they can be prevented.

Read on to learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Fountain City team!

What Is a Kidney Stone?

A kidney stone is a hard deposit that forms in the urinary system. They form when certain substances in the urine turn into crystals. These substances are often calcium salts, but uric acid or other minerals sometimes form stones, too.

If you experience the symptoms we’ve listed below, you are likely dealing with a kidney stone.

Common Kidney Stone Symptoms

  • Severe pain on either side of your lower back
  • More vague pain or stomach ache that doesn’t go away
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy

Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

They can be, generally. While it is true that those who have a family history of recurring kidney stones have a higher risk of developing them, kidney stones remain highly preventable.

The best way to prevent kidney stones is to stay adequately hydrated. Drinking lots of water helps the urinary system filter out waste and lower the risk of developing crystals that turn into kidney stones.

Additional Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones

  • Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods. Oxalates can be bad for the urinary system, due to the fact that they can bind to minerals in the gut and prevent the body from absorbing them. This, in turn, can cause kidney stones. If you are more susceptible to urinary tract problems, consider limiting foods rich in oxalates. These include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, tea, chocolate, black pepper and soy products.
  • Choose a diet low in salt. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies. Eating healthy fruits and veggies makes urine less acidic, which makes stones less able to form.

We can provide the non-emergency care that you need! Stop by our AFC center today.