The lifetime risk of forming a kidney or ureteric (kidney pipe) stone is increasing, both in the UK and internationally. This may be due to changes in diet and lifestyle. The age of first forming a kidney stone may be anywhere between the first few years or final years of life, thought the majority of new patients we see are between 20 and 60 year old. Risk factors for stone formation include dehydration (often related to a warm workplace or lack of fluid intake), hot climates (we believe stones are more likely to form in summer months or during periods of overseas travel), obesity, and up to a quarter of patients have a family history of stone formation. Specific dietary factors are important, and these can depend both on patient factors, and the type of stone formed, for example some stones are related to a high animal protein diet.
Other medical conditions can be linked with kidney stone formation, including hypercalcaemia (a high calcium), which is occasionally related to an overactive parathyroid gland, or gout (which causes high uric acid levels, seen in some stones).
Symptoms of kidney stone can be very sudden and severe, if the stone drops into the ureter (kidney pipe). This can be a medical emergency, with severe pain in the loin (and sometimes groin) often accompanied with nausea and vomiting, and sometimes with blood in the urine. Stones in the kidney itself cause less sudden symptoms, with the patient experiencing anything between aches and pains in the loin, urine infections, blood in the urine, or sometimes no symptoms.
Mr Forster is highly experienced in the evaluation of recurrent stone formers, and can tailor preventative treatment regimes specific to each patient's risk factors.