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Can Women Get Kidney Stones?

Can Women Get Kidney Stones?

ANSWER:

Women CAN get kidney stones.

More Info: Though men are twice as likely to develop kidney stones, the incident rate for women is on the rise.  It is estimated that seven percent of the US female population will experience kidney stones at some point in their lives.  And once she has had them, she is eighty percent more likely to get them again. [1]

Women, Weight, and Kidney Stones

Though historically a condition that primarily affects men, kidney stones are an increasing problem for the modern woman, and it appears that her eating habits play a role in this unfortunate trend. Researchers have discovered that weight gain plays an important role in the development of kidney stones, especially for women.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that women who weigh more than 220 pounds are 80% more likely to develop the condition than those who weigh less than 150 pounds.  The study also revealed that older women who gained more than 35 pounds since the age of 21 were 82% more likely to develop stones than those who maintained an average weight. [2]

Can Medications Cause Kidney Stones?

Certain medications can increase the risk of developing kidney stones.  Examples are acyclovir, used to treat infections caused by the herpes virus, indinavir, a protease inhibitor used to treat HIV infections, and triamterene, a potassium-sparing diuretic used to treat edema. [3]

Will Drinking Water Help Kidney Stones?

A common preventative measure for kidney stones is increased fluid intake.  Drinking plenty of fluids flushes out the various chemicals, such as calcium and oxalate, that amass in the urine to form stones.  If water is not your first choice, choose a beverage that is decaffeinated to inhibit fluid loss. Dark colas, grapefruit juice, and cranberry juice should be avoided as they may promote the growth of kidney stones.  On average, women require 2.2 liters or 9 cups per day. [4]

How Can Location Affect Kidney Stones?

It does seem strange that the place that you choose to live could influence your risk factor for kidney stones, but it seems that is the case.  Experts have long observed the fact that people in the southern hemisphere have a far higher incident rate of kidney stones than those in the northern hemisphere.  Hypothesizing that the warmer climates play a role in this phenomenon, researchers put the theory to the test to discover that temperature and sunlight are important risk factors for kidney stones. [5]

Is Age a Factor in Kidney Stones in Women?

The incidence rate for kidney stones peaks for a woman at age 50.  Postmenopausal women and those that have had their ovaries removed are more likely to develop kidney stones.    Estrogen may help to protect against kidney stone formation by lowering urinary calcium and calcium oxalate saturation. [6]

Will Diet Influence Kidney Stone Development?

As they say, you are what you eat and in the case of kidney stone formation, certain foods can help to prevent or promote their growth.  Diets high in animal proteins, such as meat and eggs, could increase your chances of developing this painful condition. Excessive salt intake, such as that found in processed foods and canned soups, is another taboo for those at high risk for kidney stones.  Finally, foods that are high in oxalate can increase your risk and includes such foods as spinach, nuts, wheat bran, and rhubarb. [7]

 

Resources:

[1] University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
How Common Are Kidney Stones?
http://www.uwhealth.org/urology/how-common-are-kidney-stones/11208

[2]The Journal of the American Medical Association
Obesity, Weight Gain, and the Risk of Kidney Stones
January 26, 2005, Volume 293, No. 4

[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health
Kidney Stones
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000458.htm

[4][7]National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
What I Need to Know about Kidney Stones
http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults

[5] American Journal of Epidemiology
Relation between Geographic Variability in Kidney Stones Prevalence and Risk Factors for Stones
1996; Volume 143, Number 5, pages 487-95

[6] The Journal of Urology
Etiological Role of Estrogen Status in Renal Stone Formation
November 2002, Volume 168, No. 5, pages 1923-1927

 

 

 

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