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Community Advocacy Organization

Three Things You Didn’t Know Could Cause Kidney Stones


All photos courtesy of McLaren Health Have you experienced a pain in your back, side, or abdomen so intense it stops you in your tracks? Then you may have experienced a kidney stone.


Kidney stones are made up of minerals and salts that form into hard deposits inside your kidneys. These hard deposits can cause severe pain and infection if not treated. “Kidney stones can be caused by dehydration, diet, kidney diseases, genetics, and other factors,” said Rafid Yousif, MD, urologist at McLaren Greater Lansing. Dr. Yousif says there are the three common reasons why kidney stones develop in some people, and they may surprise you. 1. Your diet Most of the time when a doctor is asking you to modify your diet to help manage a health condition it’s because you aren’t getting enough healthy food. However, foods you should avoid if you are prone to kidney stones are foods that are typically beneficial to your health. “If you get kidney stones, you should cut down on foods that cause high oxalate levels and eat/drink foods that will increase your citric acid levels,” said Dr. Yousif. “You can increase your citric acid levels by drinking lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.” Foods that cause high oxalate levels include spinach, soy products, almonds, potatoes, beets, and dates.

2. Where you live and the time of year “The weather can affect kidney stones. The storm belt states, like the Carolinas, see more kidney stones because of their constant warm weather,” said Dr. Yousif. “Hot environments can cause dehydration, which is the number one cause of kidney stones.” It’s a good thing we live in Michigan, where hot and dry weather is infrequent; however, we still have warm days ahead. If you are outside in warm weather, be mindful to drink water regularly.

3. Excessive sweating due to exercise or heat “We have talked a lot about dehydration leading to kidney stones, and this is also true when a person is doing intense activity that leads to sweating and not rehydrating,” said Dr. Yousif. This is the case if you are spending a lot of time in the gym, or you have a job that requires heavy labor in hot environments. Symptoms of kidney stones include intense pain in the lower abdomen, groin, side or back, urinating more frequently or urgently, blood in your urine, and nausea/vomiting. If you also experience fever and chills, it could be a sign that your kidney stone(s) are turning into a sepsis infection. “If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important that you get treatment right away,” said Dr. Yousif. “We have a variety of treatment options to get rid of the stones, including medication, sound waves, surgery, and others. If you have symptoms of an infection, we will want to clear it up as soon as possible.” If you think you may have a kidney stone and would like more information on treatment options, click here to contact Dr. Yousif’s practice at Lansing Urology. If you think you may have a kidney stone and are experiencing severe symptoms, like nausea/vomiting, fever, and chills, go to your nearest Emergency Department. For more articles on health and wellness, click here.



Residency programs are affiliated with Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and the Statewide Campus System. Residencies include family medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, anesthesiology, and obstetrics/gynecology. Fellowships are offered in cardiology, hematology/oncology, gastroenterology, and pulmonary critical care. McLaren Greater Lansing also participates in a city wide residency programs in emergency medicine, neurology, urology, psychiatry, and physical and rehabilitation medicine.

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