For drivers like me, they often minimize fluid intake when traveling long distances so they could also minimize toilet stops. But recently, I read an article that this kind of practice among drivers can put a person at risk of developing kidney stones. Drivers should be aware about this fact.

Kidney stones are tiny hard deposits usually made up of acid salts and minerals that form in the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tracts. They often form when the urine becomes very concentrated, allowing the minerals and salts to bond or crystallize, forming the stones. There are kidney stones that are formed because of overactive parathyroid glands which produce more parathyroid hormones. When this happens, the calcium level in the body can also become high and as a result, kidney stones may form.

And what do kidney stones feel like? Passing these stones in the ureter can be very painful. Symptoms include side or back pain, painful abdomen and groin, pain when urinating, foul-smelling and cloudy urine, frequent urge to urinate, nausea or vomiting, and fever or chills. The pain associated with the passing of kidney stones may also fluctuate from time to time and may change from one location to another.

Some kidney stones can be treated with home remedies. Home remedies for kidney stones include more water intake, cranberry juice, distilled vinegar, and lemon juice among others. These remedies can be effective in passing small stones, but not bigger stones. Pain relievers might also help manage the pain.

If you still feel severe pain accompanied by nausea or vomiting despite trying home remedies, or if you are already experiencing a fever and blood is present in your urine, you should see your doctor immediately. Your condition may be a sign of large kidney stones or a urinary tract infection that requires more invasive treatment.

Treatment for large kidney stones includes undergoing a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (SWL). This procedure involves creating strong vibrations using sound waves to break a large stone into smaller stones so they could easily be passed through the urine. This procedure can last for about 60 minutes and may cause moderate pain. Some patients can tolerate the pain while others are anesthetized or sedated for more comfort.

A surgery called percutaneous nephrolithotomy which involves the removal of large kidney stones using a small telescope is another popular treatment for kidney stones. This procedure is often recommended by doctors if SWL is not successful. A more unique treatment for kidney stones is by way of parathyroid gland surgery.

Passing kidney stones especially the larger ones can be very painful and can cause a patient to manifest other symptoms. If you are a driver like me who tries to reduce liquid intake to minimize toilet stops, better rethink about doing it again in your future trips. However, if you already have kidney stones, your options are home remedies and medical remedies. Although it is not a life-threatening condition in itself, you need to seek medical attention when certain symptoms are present to avoid further complications.