Archive for the ‘kidney stones’ Category

Smoking Is Also Hazardous to Your Urologic Health.

November 26, 2016

It is given that smoking is deleterious to your lungs and heart causing lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease, just to name a few of the common medical conditions causes by smoking.  There are also urologic conditions that are affected by smoking.

Bladder cancer is 4th most common cancer in men with nearly 80,000 new cases each year in the united States.  Smoking causes harmful chemicals and drugs to collect in the urine.  These toxic chemical affect the lining of the bladder and increase your risk of bladder cancer.

Nearly 30 million American men have erectile dysfunction or impotence  This is usually due to a reduction of poor blood flow to the penis.  Smoking can harm blood vessels, when decrease the blood flow to the penis.  As a result, men will have difficulty obtaining and keeping an erection adequate for sexual intimacy.

Kidney cancer is in the top ten most common cancers in both men and women with nearly 60,000 new cases every year.  Smoking puts noxious chemicals from the lungs into the blood stream where it is filtered into the kidneys and can cause kidney cancer.

Kidney stones affect 1 million Americans and smoking is a known cause of having kidney stones and also for having recurrent kidney stones.

Painful bladder syndrome affects 12% of women.  The condition is irritated by smoking and produces more symptoms of pain and discomfort in the pelvis.

Overactive bladder (OAB) affects more than 30 million American men and women.  Smoking irritates the bladder and increase the frequency of urination.  Smoking also is associated with coughing that can increase urinary leakage.

Infertility caused by male factors affects 50% of all problems related to difficulty with achieving a pregnancy.  Smoking can harm the genetic make-up in eggs and sperm.  The infertility rate for smokers in nearly twice that for those men who do not smoke cigarettes.

Bottom Line:  Most people are looking for reasons to stop smoking.  There are so many medical conditions that are caused by or are made worse by smoking.  Talk to your doctor about some of the effective ways to achieve smoking cessation.

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Sex As a Treatment For Kidney Stones-Who’d Thunk Kidney Stones Would Be So Much Fun!

August 3, 2015

Kidney stones is a common condition affection millions of American men and women. The pain associated with the passage of a stone is extraordinarily painful and is considered one of mankind’s most painful experiences. The treatment is usually hydration, tincture of time and lots of pain medication including narcotics. One of the drugs used to hasten the passage of kidney stones is tamsulosin which relaxes the muscles in the ureter, the tube between the kidney and the bladder.

Having sex 3-4 times a week was associated with a significantly greater stone passage rate than tamsulosin or standard medical therapy.
A Turkish study randomly assigned 90 male patients with stones in the ureter to 1 of 3 treatment arms: sexual intercourse 3–4 times a week (group 1); tamsulosin 0.4 mg/day (group 2); and standard medical therapy (controls, group 3).
After 2 weeks, 26 (83.9%) of 31 patients in the sexual intercourse group passed their stones compared with 10 (47.6%) of patients in the tamulosin group and 8 (34.8%) of patients in the control arm,

The investigators postulate that nitric oxide released during erection and sexual intercourse may affect the ureters, causing relaxation of ureteral muscle similar to tamsulosin.

Bottom Line: Sexual intercourse is not expensive, does not require a prescription, and just may be lots of fun when you are experiencing pain due to a kidney stone.

Dietary Changes To Prevent Kidney Stone

November 1, 2014

In the U.S., one in 10 men and women will develop a kidney stone. About 70% of men and women who have one kidney stone will develop a recurrent stone. This blog will discuss preventive measures to decrease the risk of recurrence.

Dilution is the Solution

The single most effective step to prevent recurrence is to increase your fluid intake. By drinking eight to ten glasses of liquid a day, you will dilute your urine, making it less concentrated. This will keep crystals from forming and reduce the likelihood of stone formation. Men and women who drink more than 8 glasses of water a day were less likely to have a kidney stone recurrence.

At least half of your fluid intake should be water. Although one cup of coffee or tea per day may slightly decrease the risk of stone formation, excessive intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or soda has been shown to increase the risk of stone recurrence.

Pay attention to your urine’s color. Dark urine usually indicates you are not getting enough fluid. The goal is consume enough fluids to turn your urine white or pale yellow.

Reduce Your Protein Intake

Diets high in animal protein (meat, eggs, cheese, etc) can increase levels of calcium, uric acid, and oxalate in the urine, all of which can increase the risk of calcium stone formation. Diets lower in animal protein and salt have been shown to lower calcium and oxalate in the urine. Low carb diets, generally high in protein and fat are not recommended for individuals with a history of calcium kidney stones. To help reduce your risk of calcium stone formation, eat less meat, and substitute a vegetarian meal a few times a week.

Deep Six the Salt

Studies have consistently shown that higher sodium (salt) intakes lead to increased calcium in the urine. Reducing sodium in the diet decreases urinary calcium levels. Many experts believe restricting sodium to 2000 mg\day while increasing fluid intake is one of the best ways of reducing calcium stone recurrence. High levels of sodium, however, are found in many prepared foods, and not just in the saltshaker. Try to reduce your intake of canned or processed foods, look for reduced sodium products, and avoid adding extra salt to food.

Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

The calcium we get from eating calcium rich foods, such as low fat milt and yogurt is not a problem for calcium kidney stone formers. Moderate intake of calcium-containing foods actually protects against stone formation by binding dietary oxalate and reducing oxalate levels in the urine. So do not eliminate calcium-rick foods from your diet.

Taking high does of some calcium supplements may increase your risk of stone formation. If your doctor has recommended you take a calcium supplement for bone health, chose one with calcium citrate. Calcium citrate helps inhibit stone formation.

Hesitate on the Oxalate

Your doctor may suggest that you decrease the amount of oxalate in your diet. Try to limit the amount of oxalate-rich foods particularly chocolate, cocoa, spinach (and other leafy greens) beets, strawberries, wheat germ, pecans, and soy.

See That You Don’t Take Too Much Vitamin C

Avoid high doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplements. Generally, the amount of vitamin C found in a multivitamin is safe, but higher amounts (more than 500mg) from supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones by increasing the oxalate levels.

Don’t Inhibit Inhibitors

Citrate and magnesium are considered kidney stone inhibitors. Lemon juice has been found to increase the level of citrate in the urine. Nutritional supplements containing magnesium, potassium, and citrate may also help increase the concentrations of stone inhibitors in the urine.

Be good about Vitamin B6

Vitamin B 6 is effective in decreeing oxalate production, and therefore, vitamin B6 supplements are helpful to decrease the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Bottom Line

Kidney stones are a common affliction and the solution to preventing recurrent kidney stones can often be accomplished naturally without medications. Best solution of all is to drink lots of water.

To Your Good Health. Give Me a High Fi-Ber!

September 30, 2014

We are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Doctors advise us to avoid processed food, take vitamins, and to exercise on a regular basis. Part of leading a healthy life style includes including plenty of fiber in our diets. Most men and women consume only 15gms of fiber a day. The daily recommendation for men is 35gms daily of fiber and for women the recommendation is 25gms. You can increase your fiber by 7gms a day by increasing vegetable and fruit consumption by two portions a day.

Good sources of fiber include what, rice, oats, barley and beans. Also fiber can be found in nuts and seeds, carrots, cauliflower, citrus fruits, strawberries and apples.

There’s no shortage of research showing how fiber may boost your health. Some of its top potential benefits include:

  • Blood sugar control: Soluble fiber may help to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.
  • Heart health: An inverse association has been found between fiber intake and heart attack, and research shows that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
  • Stroke: Researchers have found that for every seven-grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent.
  • Weight loss and management: Fiber supplements have been shown to enhance weight loss among obese people,3 likely because fiber increases feelings of fullness.
  • Skin health: Fiber, particularly psyllium husk, may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
  • Diverticulitis: Dietary fiber (especially insoluble) may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation of polyps in your intestine – by 40 percent.
  • Hemorrhoids: A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fiber may provide some relief from IBS.
  • Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.

Bottom Line: High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Finally, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

Modified from article by Dr. Maureen Hecker-Rodriguez from Touro Infirmary

Pain in the Pouch- Scrotal Pain May Be Coming From Somewhere Else

June 9, 2012

By far, most causes of pain in the pouch is from the testicles and the epididymis, the gland behind the testicle where sperm are nurtured and mature. But there are other causes of scrotal pain that must be considered and which have different treatments.

Testicular tumors do not usually cause pain, but it is possible. Since testicular cancer is common in young men (between the ages of 18 and 32) and is often cured if treated early, prompt medical attention to any lump is important. If you feel something down there that is new or is hard, see your doctor right away.

Inguinal hernia—An inguinal hernia is part of the intestines which protrudes through the inguinal canal (passageway connected to the scrotum). Inguinal hernia is suspected if swelling or pain above the scrotum worsens with coughing, sneezing, movement, or lifting. This condition is fairly common, especially in young boys, and it occasionally causes pain in the scrotal area. Premature infant boys have the highest risk for inguinal hernia. This condition usually results from an abdominal wall weakness present at birth, but symptoms may not appear until adulthood.
Hernias do not resolve without treatment and may cause serious complications if not treated. Hernia repair surgery is usually required to treat this condition. Often this surgery can be done through a laparoscope which consists of a several pencil sized openings in the lower abdomen. Most men can go home the same day of the surgery and resume all activities, including heavy lifting in 3-4 weeks after surgery.

Pudendal nerve damage (neuropathy), also called “bicycle seat neuropathy,” may cause numbness or pain. Pudendal nerve damage can result from the pressure of prolonged or excessive bicycle riding (e.g., competitive cycling), especially improper seat position or riding techniques are used. Special bicycle seats have been designed to decrease pressure on the area between the scrotum and the rectum, potentially preventing or resolving this problem. Pudendal neuralgia is the painful type of this nerve damage. Sometimes called “cyclist’s syndrome,” pudendal neuralgia is painful inflammation of the pudendal nerve. The pudendal nerve carries sensations to the genitals, urethra, anus, and perineum (area between the scrotum and anus), so the pain can be felt in any of these areas. Pain can be piercing and is more likely to be noticed while sitting. If untreated, nerve damage can lead to erectile dysfunction or problems with bowel movements or urination, such as involuntary loss of feces or urine (e.g., urinary incontinence).

Pudendal Nerve Damage

Narrow bike seat can cause pudendal nerve injury

Surgery—Temporary testicular pain and swelling can be expected after surgical procedures in the pelvic area, such as hernia repair and vasectomy. Post-surgery pain that lasts longer than expected should be reported to a physician. Chronic or recurring pain may be the result of a surgical complication or an unrelated problem, and may need treatment.
Kidney stones—Stones usually cause abdominal pain, but the pain radiates into the testicular area in some cases. Intense, sudden, and severe pain in the scrotum that cannot be explained by a problem in the scrotum may be caused by kidney stones.

Swelling with mild discomfort—Conditions that cause swelling in the scrotal area also may occasionally result in mild discomfort. These conditions include varicocele, hydrocele, and spermatocele. Many cases are benign (mild and non-threatening), but swelling and discomfort in the scrotal area should be addressed by a doctor. If a hydrocele (an abnormal fluid-filled sac around the testicles) becomes infected, it can lead to epididymitis, which can cause severe pain.
Unrelieved erection—An erection that does not end in ejaculation sometimes can cause a dull ache in the testicles. This minor ache, commonly called “blue balls,” is harmless and usually goes away within a few hours or when ejaculation occurs.

Bottom Line: Scrotal pain is common condition that usually involves the structures in the scrotum. However, there are other conditions that can cause scrotal pain. If your doctor evaluates these other causes of scrotal pain, effective treatment can relieve the discomfort.

Water-Nature’s Pefect Medication

June 14, 2011

For those of us living in southeastern Louisiana with very high humidity and high temperatures, we need increased consumption of water especially during the summer months. The tap water in our community is perfectly safe and it is not necessary to consume inexpensive bottled water. Tap water is far better than sodas, flavored waters, coffee and tea. In most situations you can rely on your thirst to determine how much water you need to drink. However with increased sweating and increase outdoor temperatures, consider increasing your fluid consumption. Other exceptions are patients who have a history of kidney stones need to increase their fluid consumption especially during the summer months.  Two rules of thumb: #1- you need to drink 1 cc of water for every calorie you’ve consume. For example, if you have a 2000-calorie per day diet, you will need two thousand cc of water per day or approximately 66 ounces of water.   #2-If you want to know how much water you need, consider looking at the color of your urine.  During the summer months the urine should be clear and white. If your urine is dark and yellow, that is an indication that you need to consume more fluids. So drink up and enjoy the summer and every now and then take a look at the color of your urine-your body and your health will thank you!

Water, Wet and Wonderful

May 3, 2010

Water is one of life’s best elixirs; there are few things as available, inexpensive and health-giving —so drink up.

Even though it is readily available, tasteless and free, most Americans do not drink enough water. And water remains one of nature’s most perfect medications. In fact, water is the most essential component of your diet.

While you can live for several weeks without food, you can live only a few days without water. Water loss of three percent of the body weight or approximately two quarts without replacement can result in weakness and lethargy. A 15-20 percent water loss can be fatal.

Nearly half the total body weight consists of water. To ensure good health, the average person requires two to three quarts of water per day because this is the volume that is lost in perspiration, urine, feces and breath. Nearly half of the food we eat consists of water.

Water is necessary for nearly all bodily functions such as digestion, circulation, excretion, nutrient transmission and temperature regulation.

More specifically, there are thirteen ways that water works in the human body:

  1. Water quenches thirst. There is no better liquid to quench your thirst than water. Many people are incorrectly informed that you only need to drink water in hot weather. The truth is large volumes of water are lost through your breath in cold, dry weather. Although you can substitute other beverages such as colas, coffee and electrolyte drinks, there is no other drink that contains fewer calories and more nutrients than water. In fact, affricated beverages can act as diuretics and cause the body to excrete water and important chemicals like potassium.
  2. Water aids digestion. Water dilutes the acidity in the stomach and causes the release of enzymes necessary for digestion. Water is also a natural laxative and relieves constipation.
  3. Water cools the body during exercise. As the body heats up during exercise, the internal thermostat promotes perspiration. Internal body temperature can be decreased with the consumption of cold water. Cold water is best because it is absorbed into the circulation more quickly than warm water.
  4. Water promotes waste excretion. The kidneys are the paired organs used to remove metabolic bodily water material. Water is essential for these incredible filters to do their work and flush out the body’s waste products.
  5. Water carries nutrients to the cells. All of the body’s cells are bathed in a saltwater solution.  Blood moves nutrients to the cells and removes the waste products to the kidneys and liver. Water is necessary to maintain the blood volume to carry out these vital functions
  6. Water reduces kidney stones. If too much calcium, oxalate or uric acid is excreted in the urine, crystals will form and start the growth of kidney stones. The best treatment to reduce kidney stones is to drink enough water to keep the particles from hitting one another and starting the crystallization process
  7. Water lubricates the joints. The bones glide against one another with minimal friction because of a lubricant called synovial fluid. Drinking plenty of water increases the synovial fluid and reduces the wear and tear on the joints
  8. Water promotes good skin tone. Skin elasticity is maintained when the body is well hydrated.  Chronic fluid loss leads to dry, wrinkled skin.
  9. Water dilutes alcohol and relieves headaches. There is no better remedy for a hangover than several glasses of water. Water dilutes the alcohol content in the blood stream and decreases its effect on the brain and central nervous system alleviating headache and hangover associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
  10. Water decreases pre-menstrual fluid retention. Some women experience salt retention during their menstrual periods. This leads to excess water retention as well. Diuretics or water pills only offer a temporary solution. Paradoxically, you can promote salt excretion by drinking more water. As the water is passed through the kidneys, it excretes the excess salt as well as the excess water.
  11. Water is a diet aid. Drinking a glass of water before each meal leads to a sensation of fullness before you sit down to the table, thus acting as a natural appetite suppressant. Water helps the body metabolize stored fat. If there is not adequate water to rid the body of waste through the kidneys, then the liver must be called in to do the kidney’s work. If the liver is doing the kidney’s work, it cannot metabolize body fat and weight loss is slowed or stopped.
  12. Water is a natural relaxer. Water is an excellent way to wash away tension. Swimming induces a feeling of calmness and exhilarates the body, similar to a jogger’s high.
  13. Water aids pregnant women. A pregnant woman should be especially conscious of getting eight to ten glasses of water a day. Water will clear her system of added metabolic body waste contributed by the fetus. It will also help prevent dehydration that may result from morning sickness.

How much water is enough? The time-honored advice of drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day still holds true. However, the more you exercise, the more you need to drink. A good rule of thumb is to drink approximately one quart of water for each hour of exercise.

Drinking too much water is rarely a problem. Too much water, more than six quarts a day, can dilute body minerals and electrolytes producing lethargy, confusion and if not corrected, convulsions and coma. The treatment is simple: Decrease the water intake and allow the kidneys to flush out the excess.

Bottom Line: Water is truly the elixir of life.  So enjoy one of life’s greatest medicines and it’s free.  Drink up!