Kidney stones aren’t any fun to experience, and no two kidney stones are the exact same. Some are teeny and can be passed without you even knowing they were there, while others can be as big as a golf ball and require surgery to be removed.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know about these nuisances that affect one in 10 Americans each year. Read on to learn more from our AFC Urgent Care Knoxville team!

What Is a Kidney Stone?

Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like deposits that can form inside your kidneys and anywhere along the urinary system, which includes the bladder, ureters and urethra. They’re made of minerals and salts, and they vary in size.

Although they can be quite large, they’re usually small—between the size of a kernel of corn and a grain of salt. If you are dealing with a kidney stone, you will almost certainly experience the symptoms we’ve listed below.

Common Kidney Stone Symptoms

  • Severe, sharp pain in the side and back, below the ribs
  • Pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin
  • Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Less urine when you do use the bathroom

How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones?

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 in most cases.

The best way to prevent kidney stones is to stay adequately hydrated. Drinking lots of water helps the urinary system filter out waste and lowers the risk of developing crystals that turn into kidney stones. If you are worried about getting a kidney stone, keep the prevention tips that we’ve listed below in mind!

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’re here for you now and always! Don’t hesitate to stop by our AFC Urgent Care Knoxville center to get the treatment you need.