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Kidney Stones in Men

Kidney Stones in Men
While kidney stones is a common problem affecting both men and women, it is observed that men are four times more likely to develop these small, hardened crystals in the kidneys. Here is a list of the causes, symptoms and treatment of kidney stones in men.One of the most painful and unfortunately one of the most common disorders affecting men are the presence of kidney stones. Although they do affect women as well, research has shown that men are more vulnerable to kidney stones then women. For all those men who know about it and are right now shuddering at the thought of the pain caused by kidney stones and for those unaware of this painful affliction, here is a rundown on the causes, symptoms and treatment of kidney stones in men.

What are Kidney Stones?

Before we can delve into the causes for the formation of kidney stones in men, let us look at, what is a kidney stone. Formed within the kidney or the urinary tract, kidney stones are hard, crystalline mineral material. The occurrence of these stones, also referred to as nephrolithiasis, is one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract, affecting nearly 10% of Americans at some point in their lives. While typically all adults over the age of 30 are at risk, men tend to be affected more frequently than women especially, when they reach their 40s. To understand how these stones are formed in our body, we have to understand the basic working of the urinary tract.

The kidneys are bean shaped organs located below the ribs. The main function of these organs is to remove extra water and wastes from the blood, producing urine and also keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood. While most of the kidney stones are passed out of the body in the urine stream, the stones which are sufficiently larger in size can cause obstruction to the ureter thus causing extreme pain. The stones in the kidneys are the result of certain chemicals in the kidneys, forming crystals and bonding together. Although there are many chemical compounds that can form stones in the urinary tract, the most common type of kidney stones in men contains calcium with oxalate or phosphate and uric acid.

Causes of Kidney Stones in Men

There are many causes of kidney stones such as certain urinary tract infections or medications. Lifestyle and personal health such as drinking less fluids, inactivity over long periods and consuming too much calcium oxalate which is found in milk, tea and chocolate can all contribute to the problem. However, the main cause of kidney stone formation is inherited from family genetics.

The reason why men have more kidney stones than women is because of the larger muscle mass as compared to women. Thus, the daily breakdown of the tissue results in increased metabolic waste and a predisposition of stone formation. The other more significant cause is because of the male urinary tract being more complicated than the female urinary tract. The enlargement of the prostrate gland as men grow older, can result in a condition known as benign prostrate hypertrophy, which can result in difficulty in emptying the bladder. With the obstruction of the bladder outflow, crystals and stones may be formed. Also the structure of penile urethra, caused due to gonorrhea infection, catheterizion or penile trauma may result in minimizing bladder outflow and occurrence of kidney stones.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones in Men

The presence of kidney stones is indicated by the intense pain, also known as renal colic. The excruciating pain spasms usually affect one or both sides of your back. The pain will radiate around the abdomen and sometimes affect the groin and genitals. These kidney stone symptoms may be accompanied by nausea and fever, blood in urine and chills.

Treatment for Kidney Stones

Based on the size and type of the stone, the kidney stones treatment options, may vary. While stones smaller than one quarter inch can be passed off with adequate hydration and exercises, the stones that do not pass off naturally, may have to be treated. The most common treatment for kidney stones is, the use of the Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) method. In this method, the kidney stones are located using x-rays or ultrasound and shock waves are passed to break the stones into smaller particles, which can then be passed off naturally. Sometimes, a surgical method known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy is employed to remove the larger stones. In addition to this, there are many natural remedies for kidney stones treatment.

The best option for avoiding the pain of kidney stones is, to drink plenty of water with each meal and especially after any physical activity. Along with this, if you are prone to calcium oxalate stones, avoid consuming food rich in calcium such as, milk and chocolates and if prone to uric acid stones, then avoid foods that are high in protein, such as meat. It is observed that magnesium and potassium may help reduce the chance of kidney stones, particularly in men. However, remember to consult a doctor, as soon as symptoms of kidney stones appear, so that immediate care is provided.