Women tend to have more problems with their urinary tracts than men do, whether it’s incontinence or bladder infections. Thankfully, in one particularly painful area, women are not more susceptible. When it comes to kidney stones, men do have a higher likelihood of suffering from them, but women should still be aware of this excruciating condition.
The symptoms of kidney stones do not differ between the genders to any great degree, though. A kidney stone develops when mineral deposits build in the kidneys and are not flushed out quickly enough.The most common kind is calcium oxalate stones which are due to an abundance of calcium in the kidneys. A disorder called hypercalciuria is suspected to account for many of the calcium-based stones. If the body does not absorb calcium properly and it is left behind in the kidneys, this will cause deposits to grow.
Other minerals, such as magnesium, ammonia and uric acid can also lead to stones forming, but these stones are not quite as common. Regardless of the mineral, a main cause of them forming into stones is dehydration. Small stones form in much of the population but are simply carried out with urine and are not detected. In people who do not drink enough water however, they cannot be flushed quickly enough and they grow.
A woman with a kidney stone will likely not notice any symptoms while the stone is stable inside the kidney, but once the stone moves or begins descending down the ureter, she will begin to feel intense pain. Along with pain in the lower abdomen, groin, back or side, she will also have urine that smells foul and is red or brown. There will also be an intense and frequent urge to urinate. If the ureter or urethra become blocked and it is hard to urinate, she should seek immediate medical help.
Kidney stones are treated in a number of ways, depending on the cause, stage and severity. Many, while painful, will naturally pass – which is the best course. Pain management is important but it is otherwise safe. Other times, they must be broken up with sonar and then passed in smaller stones. In very severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a stone that has become lodged.
To avoid this painful ordeal, women need to make sure to stay hydrated and to be aware of any troubling urinary symptoms. If there is anything concerning, talk to a urologist immediately. Associated Urologists of North Carolina are experts in all women’s urological issues, and can help if you think you’re suffering from kidney stones. We have offices in Raleigh, Brier Creek, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest, Clayton, Dunn, Clinton and can be reached at 919-758-8677.