What is Urolithiasis?
Urothelial refers to any condition where the kidneys are affected. These conditions include cystitis, endometriosis, kidney stones, and ureteral stones. There are many different types of these conditions. The most common type of urolithiasis is caused by a buildup of crystals called urates in the bladder or urine stream (urinary tract). Urinary stones may form when calcium carbonate crystals from foods such as dairy products, citrus fruits, and certain vegetables enter the urinary tract. They then become trapped inside the stone and block up the flow of urine.
The accumulation of crystals in the urinary tract causes pain when passing urine or when urinating. Sometimes there is no obvious cause but other times it can be linked to kidney disease.
Other possible causes include diabetes mellitus, cancer, tumors, infections such as bacterial or viral diseases, and medications.
Symptoms of Urolithiasis:
Painful urination – this pain usually occurs after drinking large amounts of fluids or eating spicy food. It may also occur if you have a fever.
You may not feel anything when passing urine; however you will notice that your bladder feels full when passing urine. Bright red blood in urine may be a sign of a more serious condition such as kidney disease.
Pain in the lower back or side – this may occur due to muscle spasms. This pain can become very intense if a stone moves into the ureters.
Risk factors of Urolithiasis:
Kidney stones are much more common in men than women, and are most common in people between the age of 20 and 40.
A diet that contains a lot of salt increases your risk of forming stones.
A family history of kidney stones also increases your risk of developing them.
Renal colic may be caused by a number of factors, the most common of which are uroliths. Uroliths are typically classified by their anatomic location of origin in the urinary tract and by their composition.
Urolithiasis can be located anywhere in the urinary system, most commonly the bladder (cystolithiasis), followed by the ureters (ureterolithiasis), and least commonly in the renal pelvis or renal calyces. The composition of uroliths may be either of a calcified or non-calcified nature.
Uroliths are not limited to their location in the urinary system. Uroliths can also form within the kidney and cause an obstruction in the ureter or the renal pelvis/calyces (see Intrarenal urolithiasis).
Uroliths may form in a variety of ways:
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of uroliths in humans. Calcium oxalate is most often found in kidney stones.
Calcium in the urine combines with oxalic acid to form calcium oxalate crystals.
Risk factors for urolithiasis:
There are many risk factors that contribute to the formation of stones within the urinary tract. Some of the major factors are listed below:
Diet: Certain foods such as beets, rhubarb, and spinach contain high levels of oxalates. While most foods are metabolized to safer levels, some people have a hard time breaking down oxalic acid.
As a result, foods with high oxalate content may increase the risk of forming stones.
Dehydration: It is important to remain well hydrated. Severe dehydration can increase the risk of stone formation.
Kidney damage: Some medications, surgery, and other causes of kidney damage may cause an increase in the risk of stone formation.
Family history: A family history of urolithiasis may be a risk factor for the development of stones.
Idiopathic hypercalciuria: Some people are at increased risk of forming stones even without a history of stone formation or any other risk factors. These people have a condition known as idiopathic hypercalciuria, in which the kidneys are not able to properly filter excess calcium in the body.
If untreated, this can lead to an increased risk of forming stones.
Incontinence: People who are incontinent and unable to empty their bladder completely are at greater risk of forming stones.
Elderly: As people age, their risk of forming stones increases.
Infant Feeding: Studies have shown that infants who are fed formula mixed with tap water have a higher risk of developing stones than those who are fed formula mixed with bottled water.
As an epidemiologist, I am trained to identify patterns in diseases.
The medical community has long established food as a preventable cause of many diseases.
Many people do not take advantage of the preventative measures readily available to protect themselves from disease.
For example, access to clean water can prevent many water-borne diseases.
Some people believe that food cannot cause disease; however, this is not the case.
In fact, food-related diseases are on the rise in the United States.
Food can be contaminated at any point from the farm to your plate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works tirelessly to monitor the food supply and respond to outbreaks.
However, the CDC can only react to foodborne illnesses after the fact.
To prevent food-related diseases, we need to implement policies and practices in the food industry that prevent contamination in the first place.
In this post, we will go over a few of the major types of food-related diseases and which foods are most likely to cause them.
Most food-related diseases fall into three categories:
Infectious, toxic, and alimentary toxic.
Infectious agents (such as bacteria and viruses) cause infectious diseases.
Toxic agents (including metals and pesticides) cause toxic diseases.
Alimentary toxic diseases are caused by certain foods, such as fish that contain too much mercury.
Before we begin, let’s clarify something about the word “food” itself.
When most people think about food, they think only of the nutrients their body needs to survive.
In reality, Foodborne illness can also be caused by any number of non-nutritive substances that may or may not be harmful.
These include common household items like salt and baking soda as well as less common ones like antifreeze and fly bait.
As you will see in the three types of foodborne illnesses listed, some of these non-nutritive substances can cause serious harm, even death.
Foodborne illness is very common in the United States and it affects people of all ages.
These illnesses are usually caused by bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms that contaminate food.
Contamination can occur anywhere along the food production chain: on the farm, during processing, in transport, etc.
Contamination can also occur at home if you do not handle food properly or store it in a contaminated area.
Many foodborne illnesses have a short incubation period, meaning you can get sick soon after eating the contaminated food.
Some agents like listeria can take as long as 70 days to make you sick, so symptoms of illness are not always immediate.
It’s important to remember that just because you do not get sick right away does not mean the food was not contaminated.
Furthermore, most foodborne illnesses resolve themselves without medical treatment.
If you are concerned about a certain food, contact your physician to discuss possible treatments.
Infectious agents are living microorganisms that invade a host (humans in this case) and cause disease.
Foods that can harbor infectious agents include raw or undercooked meat and eggs, unpasteurized milk and dairy products, and raw produce.
Many infectious diseases have a long history of causing illness in humans.
Some of these diseases can be life-threatening (such as Listeria and E. coli).
Other diseases are less severe but can still cause serious medical problems (such as Hepatitis A and Norovirus).
Some infectious agents are relatively new and not widespread, but their damage can be severe (such as Cholera).
Infectious agents can be spread in a number of ways.
The most common mode of transfer is through the food itself, which is usually contaminated by infected human workers or animal feces.
Infected humans can also spread diseases through poor hygiene habits like not washing hands after using the restroom.
- Guidelines on urolithiasis (C Türk, T Knoll, A Petrik, K Sarica, M Straub… – European association of …, 2011 – uroweb.org)
- Urolithiasis in pediatric patients (DS MILLINER, ME MURPHY – Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 1993 – Elsevier)
- History, epidemiology and regional diversities of urolithiasis (M López, B Hoppe – Pediatric nephrology, 2010 – Springer)
- Medical therapy of urolithiasis (S Micali, M Grande, MC Sighinolfi, CD Carne… – Journal of …, 2006 – liebertpub.com)
- History of urolithiasis (G Eknoyan – Clinical reviews in bone and mineral metabolism, 2004 – Springer)
- Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and pathophysiology of urolithiasis (T Knoll – European Urology Supplements, 2010 – Elsevier)
- Pediatric urolithiasis: the current surgical management (M Straub, J Gschwend, C Zorn – Pediatric Nephrology, 2010 – Springer)