Kidney stones can be a very painful condition, causing individuals to rush to the emergency department in agony. Often kidney stones can be treated with painkillers until they pass. In some cases, however, the stones are too large and surgery is required.
A leading expert from Barts Hospital recently presented information useful in understanding the cause of kidney stones. If you want to avoid them, according to this expert, a change in lifestyle may be required.
Kidney Stones Affect Growing Number of Women
Mr. Noor Buchholz, a urology consultant, presented his findings at the European Section of Urolithiasis Stone Conference held at Barts Hospital. According to Buchholz, the increase in bad habits like smoking and drinking is responsible for the dramatic rise in women experiencing problems with kidney stones.
Buchholz reported that the number of women who required surgery to remove kidney stones has doubled over the last five years. While five years before, the hospital had treated 400 women with kidney stones, the current figure increased dramatically to 800. The hospital has required expanded services to accommodate the increase. In addition, new developments in the field have made it possible for patients to have a quick elimination of the stones with a short recovery time.
The new technology used at Barts Hospital and the London NHS Trust creates an environment where a quick procedure called lithotripsy delivers shock waves to break up kidney stones. The specialized procedure enables Barts Hospital to keep patients from sitting on a waiting list for treatment.
The Importance of Lifestyle Change
Though Buchholz highlighted drinking and smoking, kidney stones are also caused by various other factors. A sedentary lifestyle and eating too much meat and salt are also behaviors that can increase a person’s chances of developing kidney stones.
Buchholz stated, however, that he is absolutely sure that the increases in poor lifestyle choices among women, including smoking and drinking, are the reason that the hospital is treating so many more women.
Health statistics reflect the increase. Forty years ago, men were three times more likely than women to require kidney stone treatment. Seven times more women require kidney stone treatment now compared to 40 years ago.
Buchholz notes that one in eight people in the UK will require kidney stone treatment. While it has traditionally been seen as a man’s disease, the number of women requiring treatment is quickly catching up.
Kidney stones can be prevented through simple healthy living practices, such as eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water and daily exercise. In addition, those wishing to lower their risk for kidney stones should avoid drinking and smoking.