Roughly 10 years ago (right before starting my current job), I started experiencing a significant discomfort in my back and side that ultimately resulted in a trip to the emergency room. After nearly four hours in a doctor’s office, I was told I suffered from kidney stones and I could expect to have the condition for the rest of my life.
Up until that point, I had not had any real medical issues other than a cold or the flu. And, I’m not ashamed to admit I was a bit scared, especially since the doctors honestly weren’t a big help when it came to explaining what caused them and what sort of an effect they would have on my life.
However, even though I do still have the condition, I’ve learned through trial and error how to keep it under control so it isn’t as big of a concern as it was back then.
One of the first things I learned to do was stay hydrated. This was actually a problem for me because I was never the type of person who would drop what he was doing just because he was thirsty. That’s no longer the case. I now make sure to drink plenty of fluids. This is especially true when I’m working outside on a hot day (which is what I was doing the first time I got one).
As part of staying hydrated, I found I had to watch what I was drinking. I still have soda. But, I found dark cola-like drinks (Pepsi, Coke, Root Beer, etc.) will aggravate my condition if I drink too much in too short of a time. This is why I stick to lighter colored soft drinks like Mountain Dew and Sprite with a healthy mix of water and juice in between.
Another thing I started doing was making restroom trips on a regular basis, even if I don’t feel like I have to use it. To tell you the truth, I’ve checked out various sites about kidney stones and have never gotten a clear cut answer about whether or not “holding it in” will cause them. But, based on personal experience, I have found I get them a lot less frequently if I take the time to use the restroom several times each day.
The hardest thing I learned to do was pay attention to my body so I know when I’m starting to get a stone. Most symptom descriptions consist of excruciating pain and nausea. But, I found I can avoid those by paying attention for a milder, tight sensation toward my kidney area. Whenever I feel this, I make sure to drink more and urinate more and can usually pass a much smaller stone within a day without pain and without a doctor visit.
By following these steps, I have managed to keep my kidney stone condition from becoming something that requires me to visit the doctor on a regular basis or from becoming a bigger part of my life than it is.