Cases of kidney stones are on the rise in the United States, especially among women, according to a new study that was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Kidney stones are notoriously painful and are even referred to as "male childbirth" when it affects men. There are several ways to avoid getting them though, which should be followed to save oneself from the grueling ordeal.

More People Suffering From Kidney Stones

The study looked at the prevalence of kidney stones from 1984 to 2012 among over 10,000 residents of Minnesota. The analysis revealed that the number of people suffering from kidney stones increased over the years, two times for men and four times for women.

The highest increase in kidney stone cases involved young women aged between 18 and 39 years old. In 1984, 62 out of 100,000 women within this age bracket had kidney stones, but by 2012, the number had increased to 252.

Mayo Clinic professor of medicine Dr. John Lieske, a lead author of the study, explained that the bigger increase in kidney stone cases among women are likely, because cases involving them started out at a lower number in 1984, so the proportion increases are bigger.

The study, however, comes with limitations. Aside from the slightly outdated data set that stretches only up to six years ago, the study group mostly involved white men and women, which are more prone to kidney stones compared to other racial groups. There is also a need to clarify whether the increasing number of kidney stones cases was simply because of the improvement of diagnostic tools used to detect them.

How To Avoid Getting Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are a relatively common condition, with 10 percent of people suffering from it at least once in their lives. They are formed when solid pieces of material crystallize in kidneys, ureters, and bladders, caused by various environmental and genetic factors.

The most common tip in avoiding kidney stones is to drink plenty of water. In fact, the Mayo Clinic said that drinking as much as 3 quarts of water daily will flush out smaller kidney stones from the urinary system, preventing them from becoming bigger.

Eating too much salty food and lack of exercise have also been linked to a higher risk of kidney stones. Meanwhile, researchers from Michigan State University confirm that people who already suffer from kidney stones may try the thrilling cure of riding a roller coaster.

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