Can you prevent painful kidney stones?

Published: October, 2005

BOSTON— The pain from kidney stones can be so excruciating that some women say it's worse than childbirth. About 1 in 10 men and 1 in 20 women will experience at least one kidney stone by age 70. And after you get one, you're more likely to get another. However, there are things you can do to prevent this painful problem.

Kidney stones develop from the excess minerals — for example, salt, calcium, and potassium — your kidneys remove from the bloodstream. Chemicals in urine usually prevent these minerals and other substances from sticking together, but in some cases they bind to one another, forming stones. Stones may be as small as a grain of salt or — in rare cases — as large as a golf ball.

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