Kidney stones affect men much more than they affect women, but women do occasionally have kidney stones, and in fact, there were more incedences of kidney stones in women in 2005 than in any previous year. Dietary habits play a large role in the incedence of kidney stones, as do levels of exercise and urination. When women fail to eat fruits and vegetables and drink coffee or sodas more often than water, kidney stones become a real possibility Once a woman has passed a kidney stone, she is twice as likely to pass a second.
Studies have also shown that many women have passed kidney stones, but weren’t aware of it when it was happening. Often, pain in the lower abdomen and back can be associated with menstruation when it is actually a kidney stone, but women fail to know the difference. Scarring of the kidneys and of the urinary tract shows that a woman has passed a kidney stone, whether or not she was aware of it when it happened.
Severe pain that persists longer than menstruation or occurs in different areas of the back and abdomen are often kidney stones, or may also be another urinary disease. Women who experience this type of pain should consult with a doctor, who will order the proper tests. Women who experience multiple kidney stones are at a greater risk for urinary tract infections, kidney infections and liver disease.
Kidney stones can also be genetic, which can mean that a woman will have a predisposition to passing kidney stones. If a mother or father has had them in the past, their offspring is more than twice as likely to pass them in the future. Careful monitoring of the kidneys as well as the consumption of a proper diet will minimize the possibility of passing kidney stones, or having recurrences.
Since nearly 80% of all kidney stones are calcium-based, women who take calcium supplements on a daily basis are more likely to pass stones. Women have become more conscious of the possibility for osteoperosis, and this might have something to do with the rise in incendence of kidney stones in women. Calcium supplements should be taken with caution, and always at or below the recommended dosage. Recent studies show that calcium is more beneficial when taken as a part of the diet rather than as a supplement in pill form because it reduces the risk of calcium deposits in the kidneys.
Women who are concerned about kidney stones should consult with their doctor about a change in diet. Drinking plenty of fluids – including water and 100% fruit juices – can help to flush out the kidneys in general. Cutting sodas from the diet will help, as well, and avoid becoming dehydrated as much as possible. It is also important to urinate whenever you get the urge, because this avoids back-ups of toxins and waste in the kidneys.