Can Kidney Stones Cause Gastrointestinal Problems?

Have you ever suffered from gastrointestinal problems or are you facing gastrointestinal problems along with kidney stones? Can kidney stones cause gastrointestinal problems? Well, they are interconnected.

Diseases that are associated with and occur in the gastrointestinal tract are called gastrointestinal problems. Diarrhoea, GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and colorectal cancer are some examples of gastrointestinal diseases.

1. Types of Gastrointestinal Diseases

Stomach problems
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Our GI tract (gastrointestinal tract) comprises organs like the mouth, stomach, esophagus, small and large intestines, gallbladder and anus. So, the problems that arise in the gastrointestinal tract are also associated with different organs. Kinds of gastrointestinal diseases based on the organs are:

1. Esophageal diseases: A hollow pipe that conducts from the throat (pharynx) to the gut is called the esophagus. Disorders that are associated with this are esophageal diseases.

2. Stomach diseases: Usually mucus-producing cells lead to stomach diseases. For example, GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).

3. Gallbladder and bile duct diseases: Diseases like gallstones. In this ailment, hardened deposits of digestive fluids form in the gallbladder and lead to gallstones.

4. Pancreatic diseases: Pancreatitis is a disorder which causes inflammation in the pancreas.

5. Intestinal diseases: Disorders that involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

6. Liver diseases: A variety of factors like excessive use of alcohol, viruses and so on cause liver damage. It can also be genetic (inherited).

2. Some Common Gastrointestinal Problems

Gastrointestinal problem is an umbrella term used to describe many conditions.

Some common gastrointestinal problems are:

2.1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

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Acid reflux is another name for GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). Heartburn, regurgitation, nausea and chest pain are the prominent symptoms of this disorder. In this disorder, there is the regurgitation of bitter or sour fluid to the mouth. Other symptoms like an increase in salivation, shortness of breath and dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) can also happen while suffering from GERD.

Often Antacids, Proton pump inhibitors and H2 blockers are used to treat GERD. However, the severity of acid reflux decides the type of treatment it requires.

2.2. Diarrhoea

It is commonly caused by viruses. Sometimes contaminated food also leads to diarrhoea. Watery, frequent and loose stools, pain and cramps in the abdomen, vomiting and nausea are some common symptoms of this ailment. Food intolerance and certain bacteria also cause diarrhoea.

The complications of diarrhoea are malabsorption and dehydration. Its treatment includes antibiotics, electrolyte solutions and some anti-diarrhoea medications.

2.3. Constipation

The problem with passing stool is constipation. It describes the difficulties and irregularities in passing stools like less than three stools a week. In this, a person gets the feeling of a blocked rectum, pain and strain when passing stools. Also, the stools are lumpy and hard.

An increase in water and fibrous food intake can provide some relief. You can also get some ease from laxatives.

2.4. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an ailment that impacts the gastrointestinal tract. It is quite common but can be chronic and takes a long time to be managed. Bloating, white mucus in stools, diarrhea (Diarrhoea-predominant IBS or IBS-D), constipation (constipation-predominant IBS or IBS-C), mixed IBS, gas, and abdominal pain are some common symptms of IBS.

The treatment of IBS is not specific. So, it is advisable to see a gastroenterologist, if the condition deteriorates.

2.5. Hemorrhoids

Another name for Hemorrhoids is piles. In this condition, the veins in the anus and rectum get swollen. It causes bleeding, pain and discomfort. Hemorrhoids also lead to inflammation in the anal region which causes itching and irritation in that area. Symptoms of Hemorrhoids depend on their type. Usually, it is self-diagnosable and is treated by medical professionals.

2.6. Anal Fissures

An anal fissure is a small painful rip in the lines of anus. It occurs as a result of passing hard and forceful poop. It causes discomfort in bowel movement like bleeding and pain. Usually, it heals by self-treatment but sometimes, it might require medical treatment. Treatment of anal fissures includes laxatives, dietary supplements and so on. Home treatment can also be done by taking some simple steps for stool softening. Increasing the intake of water and fibrous food is mandatory.

2.7. Diverticulosis

In your digestive tract, there is a development of small pockets which are sticking out, leading to diverticulosis. Often they occur in the lower part of the colon (large intestine). It is quite common and generally occurs after the age of 40. Usually, it is not problematic but occasionally, it might develop and lead to diverticulitis. Symptoms of diverticulitis include abdominal pain, fever, chills, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Maintaining healthy lifestyles may prevent diverticulosis.

2.8. Cancer or Colon Polyps

There is a formation of clumps of cells inside the colon in a mass form called colon polyps. Mostly, they are harmless but some can evolve into cancer of the colon. It is usually asymptomatic. However, if symptoms occur, they include swelling, bleeding, change in bowel habits and pain in the abdomen. If colon polyps develop into cancer, they show symptoms like stool narrowing, bleeding in the rectum, sudden weight loss, weakness, changes in bowel habits and bloody stools.

After proper diagnosis, treatment is done by a medical professional.

3. Causes of Gastrointestinal Problems

Causes of gastrointestinal problems include:

1. Less exercise: Not having exercise causes many GI problems. Physical inactivity leads to improper functioning of the digestive process.

2. Dairy products: Some people are lactose intolerant. They are incapable of completely digesting the lactose in the milk. As a result, it leads to gas, bloating, IBS and so on.

Dairy products
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3. Water intake: Water plays a significant function in digestion. Not drinking enough water leads to problems like constipation.

4. Lifestyle: Unhealthy habits like excess consumption of alcohol, tobacco and smoking. Eating foods that are not healthy also results in GI problems.

5. Stress: Stress is one of the noteworthy reasons for difficulties in the digestive system. It leads to loss of appetite, bloating, inflammation and many other issues.

6. Ageing: With increasing age the digestive tract’s muscles become weaker. So, many problems arise as we age, like heartburn, constipation and gastrointestinal cancers.

7. Diseases and medications: Heavy medication and some diseases like kidney stones also affect the health of the digestive tract.

4. What are Kidney Stones?

The deposition of minerals and uric acid salts in the concentrated urine forms tiny, crystalline deposits which are referred to as kidney stones. From person to person the size of stones in the kidney vary. They can create discomfort while passing urine but usually are curable. Sometimes, tiny stones pass on their own through urine with less discomfort.

Formation of kidney stones depends on various factors like family history, drinking less water and high intake of food containing salt and protein. The first symptoms that indicate kidney stones might be related to the gastrointestinal system. For example:

1. Vomiting

2. Nausea

3. Pain in abdomen

Other symptoms of kidney stones also include dark-cloudy urine, painful urination, pain in the lower back, fever and chills.

5. Can Kidney Stones Cause Gastrointestinal Problems?

Can kidney stones cause gastrointestinal problems?
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Kidney stones and gastrointestinal problems are interlinked. Some points stating that kidney stones can cause GI problems are as follows:

1. 1. There are several GI-related symptoms caused by kidney stones.

2. There is also a risk of evolving many other issues related to the digestive system, which might require medical help.

3. Kidney stones can also affect the functioning of your bowel. In turn, it leads to constipation.

4. Also, some specific medications for kidney stones elevate the chances of constipation.

The above-mentioned symptoms along with other symptoms of kidney stones could forewarn you about the kidney stones.

Similarly, gastrointestinal problems cause kidney stones. Ailments like Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and diarrhea lead to kidney stones. Diarrhea grounds dehydration which might lead to kidney stones. One of the known causes of kidney stones is diarrhoea.

6. Prevention for Gastrointestinal Problems

Some tips to avoid GI problems:

1.  Drink enough water to aid digestion.

2.  Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks like soda.

3. Eat healthy and fibrous foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans and whole grains.

4. Avoid more acidic and spicy foods. Add probiotics to your diet.

5. Eat more frequently and in small portions.

6. Stress levels should be managed.

7. Do exercise daily. Try to be physically engaged and active.

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8. Digestive problems can also be aggravated by dairy products like milk.

9. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good bowel habits should also be practised.

10. Avoid drinks loaded with sugars as they can aggravate the situation.

If you notice the above-mentioned symptoms and the condition worsens, visit a gastroenterologist as soon as possible. For better and adequate treatment it is important to consult a specialist.

7. It is Manageable

Common symptoms of GI problems are bloating, nausea, constipation, IBS, fatigue, abdominal pain, acne, gas and weight loss. However, most GI-related diseases are manageable and can be treated and averted. Gastrointestinal problems and kidney stones demonstrate complex links with each other. So yes, kidney stones cause GI problems.

Last Updated on December 19, 2023 by