The pain of passing a kidney stone has been compared to the pain of childbirth.
There are a number of reasons stones can form, but one thing is clear: we all want to do what we can to prevent them in the first place.
Fortunately there are things we can do, including taking magnesium for kidney stones.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of the advice of a healthcare professional. While my wife and I have been taking magnesium supplements every day for years, I can't say how they might affect you. Always consult a doctor if you have health concerns: don't try to self-diagnose!
Who Is Typically Affected By Kidney Stones?
A kidney stone is a hard mineral deposit that forms over the course of many months or years.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, kidney stones affect about 10% of American men and women every year. This results in roughly 1 in 1,000 adults being hospitalized for related complications. Of those adults, nearly 60 percent will find themselves back in the hospital for a repeat episode within the next seven years.
Men tend to get kidney stones twice as often as women, though there are many women who are affected each year.
What Causes Kidney Stones To Form?
With kidney stones affecting 10 percent of the population each year, even those who have not suffered through passing a stone are likely to know someone who has. So what causes them to form?
To begin with, diet plays a large part in the formation of kidney stones. Some of the most common causes include dehydration, excess sugar and/or salt intake, and consuming too much animal protein.
Calcium supplements have also been linked to kidney stones, which is interesting because around 80% tend to be calcium stones.
A family history of kidney stones, certain bowel maladies such as Crohn disease, and various digestive surgeries can all increase the likelihood of stone formation.
Physicians have also noticed that most repeat patients tend to:
- lead a less active lifestyle
- have a job that involves very little movement
- consume far too little water on a daily basis
All of these factors can combine to promote the formation of kidney stones. It can also make them larger overall and make the process of passing or removing the kidney stones more painful than it otherwise would be.
Common Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
One of the first symptoms is usually pain in the side and/or back, below the ribs. Over time the pain usually progresses to the lower abdomen and groin area and can start to interfere with urination.
Pain in these areas is caused by kidney stones pressing on nerves and passageways within the body. As the kidney stone continues to move through the body the pain will follow and the patient may begin to feel nauseous.
This tends to be a normal part of passing a kidney stone. However, fever, chills, and even weight gain can result from a serious kidney stone problem that remains untreated.
In some cases, doctors will actually notice the early stages of a kidney stone’s formation when they conduct an x-ray. Due to the material content of a kidney stone, small dots may appear and indicate that treatment is needed.
Keeping The Pain Away: Taking Magnesium For Kidney Stones
Since many stones are the result of diet, one of the most effective ways to keep kidney stone formation at bay is simply to balance the body’s nutrients.
With calcium stones being the most common kind, it should be no surprise that a study has shown that magnesium supplements can help prevent the formation of kidney stones. This makes sense because magnesium and calcium tend to balance each other.
I find this interesting because my family has a history of kidney stones. I didn’t start taking magnesium for kidney stones specifically, but I feel a lot better knowing that the magnesium supplements I’m already taking are helping to keep them at bay.
Individuals who are at risk for kidney stones due to high calcium levels, or those who have been treated for them in the past, should also focus on hydration and exercise.
Doctors recommend a steady consumption of at least 64 ounces of water per day to properly hydrate the body and prevent stone formation. An active lifestyle is equally important.
With this balanced approach we can all increase our chances of avoiding the pain and suffering that results from kidney stones passing through the body.
As always, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your physician or other qualified medical professional to help determine your own optimal level of magnesium, and to see whether magnesium supplementation is right for you.