A new study  shows that the number of young people with kidney stones is continuously increasing by around five percent. As a result, almost twice as many people suffer from the painful stones today than they did 20 years ago. The disease is particularly common among adolescents and young women. The scientists suspect that one reason for this is an unhealthy lifestyle and insufficient water intake.
Urologist Dr. Reinhold Schaefer from Uro-GmbH North Rhine, a group of resident urologists, explains how kidney stones develop: "If salts dissolved in the urine are deposited as fine crystals in kidneys, kidney stones develop." Many of these remain undetected at first because they only cause problems if they get out of the kidney into the ureter and constrict it to such an extent that urine formed in the kidney does not drain off sufficiently. "This is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting in those affected." Kidney stones or stones in ureters often pass spontaneously with the urine. However, this can sometimes be very painful. If they do not go away spontaneously, urologists usually remove them through surgery. Which treatment method is suitable depends on the composition of the kidney stones, size and location. In about 90 percent of all cases, however, they can now be removed gently, i.e. non- or minimally invasively. Shock wave therapy and ureter reflection are the most important modern procedures. When crushed by mechanical pressure waves from the outside, those affected naturally separate out the resulting stone particles. Alternatively, urologists remove the 'culprit' through the urethra using an endoscope.
Nevertheless, kidney stones and kidney diseases can be prevented by changing lifestyle habits. Daily fluid intake is particularly important. At least 1.5 liters, better two, should be a day. It is best to use water and herbal or fruit tea. The addition of lemon juice also helps to prevent crystallization. With sufficient hydration, small kidney crystals are flushed out of the body before they cause problems, coffee and black or green tea are not suitable for this. They are luxury foods and not a liquid substitute. If you also value healthy nutrition, you should normally not have any problems with kidney stones. "With a balanced mixed diet consisting of whole grains, but also vegetables and fruit, the risk of stones forming in the kidneys can be reduced," explains Dr. Shepherd. “At the same time, overly salty foods should be avoided and a higher intake of calcium-rich products such as milk and milk products should be avoided.” Last but not least, physical activity ensures that small stones do not get stuck in the kidneys. (pm)