We Take Our Stones With Us: To the Grave!

Pain that is in the lower genital region, or groin, that has no obvious accompanying problem with the uterus or the ovaries could be a bladder problem. the problem can actually be a stone that can be located in the bladder, or the kidney, or the tube leading to the kidney called the ureter. Urinary calculi, also known as nephrolithiasis, urolithiasis or stones are becoming more common all the time. Most of the stones are calcium, actually in a form called calcium oxalate. A small percent of stones are from cysteine or uric acid or magnesium based. In most cases there is no disease that actually produces calcium levels that are too high leading to these calcium containing stones, but rarely there are. Most women with stones don't actually know they have these, but if they not only are present but block an area of the kidney with or without an infection, then the spasm of the kidney known as renal colic can occur. The pain usually is only in the back but it can be a shooting pain around to the abdomen and even across the abdomen. If you have had a stone before, you have about a 50/50 chance of having another one. Most people who have stones can avoid another attack by lowering their calcium intake just slightly (not a good idea to do too much calcium restriction, that hurts your bones) and drinking more water. Tests of the urinary system can determine whether there is a stone, so it's usually not a hard diagnosis to make. Shock wave lithotripsy to remove the stones is done if they are symptomatic. In spite of basic care about 1/1000 adults are hospitalized each year for this condition, and we find that about 1/100 people have stones that are found at autopsy.


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