While middle-aged men are the most likely group to develop kidney stones, women can also be affected by the hardened mineral buildups. Over the past 30 years, research has shown an increase in kidney stone development among women.
The uptick in cases is attributed to increases in obesity rates, high-salt intake, high-sugar intake, and diabetes. Furthermore, once an individual develops a kidney stone, male or female, they are at a 50 percent risk of developing another in the next five to seven years.
Warning Signs of Kidney Stones in Women
Kidney stones are able to crystallize somewhere in the urinary tract when urine becomes concentrated with minerals like calcium. However, because women are more likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs), the associated bacteria commonly cause struvite stones to form within women. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have a kidney stone present in your urinary tract:
- Severe pain in the back, side, or below the ribs
- Pain that travels to the lower abdomen or groin area
- Pain when urinating
- Pink, red, brown urine coloring
- Cloudy or bad-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Persistent feeling of needing to urinate
- Urinating often
- Urinating in small amounts
- Blood in the urine
Additionally, kidney stones often do not show symptoms while they are forming, and the degree of pain caused by kidney stones does not depend on their size.
How to Prevent Kidney Stones
While there is no way to completely rule out the chance of developing a kidney stone, there are steps that can be taken to decrease your odds. One of the most important preventative measures to kidney stones is to drink enough water each day — at least 64 ounces is the recommended daily value by most healthcare providers.
Other tips include:
- Consume less sodium (processed foods, canned foods, condiments, etc.)
- Consume less sugar
- Consume less animal protein (beef, pork, chicken, fish)
- Consume less oxalate-rich foods (coffee, chocolate, spinach, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- Avoid vitamin C supplements
Best practice for avoiding kidney stones centers around consuming enough daily purified water, maintaining a healthy weight, and basing a diet around vegetables, fruits, and other fibrous foods.
Need to See a Urologist?
If you are experiencing kidney pain, or suspect you might be suffering from kidney stones, contact our office to be seen by a specialist.