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Southern States at Higher Risk for Kidney Stones

Incontinence Caused by Kidney Stones and its Strange Correlation with The South


Kidney Stones create an unusual sensation. Unusual is a softer term for it…”needles to the groin” or “knife to the back” are two phrases used when people describe the passing of a kidney stone. What is a kidney stone, you may ask. A kidney stone is a hard mass formed in the kidneys, usually consisting of insoluble calcium compounds. They look like jagged crystalline stones, and they have to pass through your sensitive bits in order to pass out of the body. It’s quite a painful experience. And if you don’t pass your kidney stones, they remained painfully locked and may cause incontinence.


In the past few years, the risk of urinary stones has grown exponentially in teens and women in the Southern United States. Middle-aged white men in the South have always dominated the kidney stone demographic, but teens and women are catching up. That means more and more people are experiencing incontinence as well. According to the Mayo Clinic an obstruction in the Urinary Tract can cause urine leakage, “A tumor (or urinary stone) anywhere along your urinary tract can block the normal flow of urine, leading to overflow incontinence.” And according to Anne Arundel Urology, kidney stones may, “affect nerves controlling urination.”


For some odd reason kidney stones has become a centralized epidemic in the South. Researchers can’t quite pin point the reason so many Southerners are experiencing kidney stones which lead to incontinence. Unhealthy eating habits, dehydration, high temperature, sun exposure, and obesity can cause kidney stones, and many of these factors are prevalent in the South. Urinary stones are also associated with genetics. Your family history can increase your risk of acquiring urinary stones and therefore incontinence. The National Kidney Foundation states that, “about 1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in his or her life.”


Documentation of emergency room visits, surgeries and medical admissions in South Carolina alerted urological researchers to this strange anomaly started in the South. According to the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, from 1997 – 2012, 4.6 million people in the South were hospitalized for kidney stones. This information lead urologists and endourologists to research the rest of the Southern States for this strange correlation. “The South as our nation’s kidney stone belt is real,” says Nicole Miller, M.D., a surgeon specializing in stone disease and endourology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center Urology Clinic. “Population studies show that Southerners are up to 50 percent more likely to develop stones.” Further research concluded that this “epidemic” is beginning to move North.


Over the past five years there has been a 26% spike in reported kidney stones in teens 15 – 19 years old. Women increased 15% at the same time, while middle-aged men stayed at about the same rate. Again, middle-aged Southern men still have the most reported urinary stones, but this spike in teens and women has doctors quite baffled.




The good thing is, kidney stones that lead to incontinence can be avoided through certain lifestyle changes. And if you get kidney stones, you should pay attention to these changes  because kidney stones can reform! As mentioned before, urinary stones can cause overflow incontinence. Overflow incontinence is incredibly uncomfortable for it s a form of urinary incontinence, characterized by the involuntary release of urine from an overfull urinary bladder, often in the absence of any urge to urinate. So avoid kidney stones and overflow incontinence with these recommended strategies:


Drink more water


Reduce sodium and animal protein in your diet


Maintain a healthy weight


These strategies not only prevent kidney stones, but they fight incontinence symptoms as well (even if you do not have kidney stones). These strategies seem easy enough, right? Stay healthy friends!


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