If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you know just how painful they are. In fact, if you’ve ever known anyone who experiences kidney stones, then you probably have an idea of the discomfort associated with them. Generally speaking, kidney stones occur when deposits build up and clump together in the kidneys, usually because there are not enough liquid components in the urine to dilute the solids and break them down. This results in the formation of solid masses that will eventually become too large to pass through the digestive system, which usually results in pain along with other symptoms.
Prevalence of Kidney Stones
The occurrence of kidney stones has been increasing since 1970, based on the results of various medical surveys. As of right now, there are some hypotheses as to why; more than likely, there are both genetic and environmental factors in play that favor the development and growth of kidney stones. Dietary habits, for one example, have certainly changed since the 1970s towards a preference for foods high in calcium and sodium, which are contributing factors. Also, research indicates that we adapt to the food we eat (you are what you eat, after all), which could end up changing our DNA.
Despite the pain they cause, generally, kidney stones do not cause any lasting harm to the body once they have been removed, whether through surgery or being passed. Some kidney stones do not cause symptoms at all, or the symptoms present do not include the pain that is expected with kidney stones. There are some factors that determine the ease of passing a kidney stone: the size of the stone, as stones that are too large will not be passed; the location of the stone, which can affect various treatments, or require surgery; and the composition of the stone.