SUMMER: THE KIDNEY STONE SEASON

By DR. AKBAR JALAL / CONSULTANT UROLOGIST

Residents of Bahrain and GCC are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones in summer season. about one quarter of the adult population suffer from kidney stones, compared with 10 – 15 per cent for the same age group in the Western countries.

Kidney stones tend to affect the most active individuals, most commonly aged between 30 and 50, who lose a lot of water due to being constantly on the move outdoors, and the risk for men is almost double that for women,
July and August is the peak season for developing kidney stones. It has seen observed that number of visits to ER due to kidney stones and extreme pain of a kidney stone (women say it’s worse than childbirth) increases by 20 percent during this period.

The primary cause of kidney stones is dehydration due to hot climate, the other causes are likely tied to diets high in refined sugars, salt and animal protein.

Thus, the primary preventive medicine is to stay well hydrated, especially for people who are predisposed to forming stones. “I recommend an 8-ounce glass of fluid with each meal, and a glass between each meal. Even a glass of water at bed time is a good idea for stone formers, any salt-free fluid is generally fine.

One of the best ways to measure hydration, one should focus on the amount of urine they produce, a well hydrated individual should visit the toilet around six to eight times a day (around 1.5 – 2 liters), and their urine should be clear. A dark yellow color indicates that it is too concentrated, increasing the chance of crystal and eventually stone formation.

Dietary changes can also be beneficial, it is advised to avoid heavily salted foods, such as processed and fast foods. Also, reduce protein intake; have at least one protein-free meal a day. Eating animal protein increases urine acidity, which contributes to kidney stones.

People who have had a kidney stone are at high risk of having another one. They will need to be vigilant about taking any prescribed medications and avoiding foods and beverages that are likely to contribute to stone formation.

Different types of kidney stone require varied dietary responses. For example, people who form oxalate stones will need to avoid dark green leafy vegetables and other oxalate rich foods like okra, iced tea, chocolates, nuts and pepper.

The treatment of kidney stones differs according to the size of the stones, location of the stone (kidney, ureter, bladder) and type of the stone and the associated symptoms and/or complications. It ranges from just observation and medical management to Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) and endoscopic surgeries.

 

DR. AKBAR JALAL

CONSULTANT UROLOGIST



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