Renal colic is the most severe pain a human being can go through.
In case you didn’t know, Renal colic is caused by kidney stones. Some victims compared it to being stabbed with a knife and others claimed it was more painful than childbirth.
I don’t know whether or not these claims are true, but it must be a very painful experience to gain such an awful reputation.
This new-found knowledge and my fear of pain pushed me into studying hard water kidney stones.
Well, can hard water cause kidney stones?
Yes, very hard water, together with other factors can cause kidney stones.
I’d go with soft water if I were you. Read more about the benefits of drinking soft water.
Several research groups have tried to find the answer to this question. Some claim there is a relationship between hard water and kidney stones. However, the majority claim there is no way a person can get kidney stones from hard water.
It’s a controversial topic with conflicting answers. I took it upon myself to do some digging and see what I can find on hard water and kidney stones.
I am no professional health expert, just a curious somebody who is cautious about health and fitness.
What are kidney stones?
Picture your body as one huge powerplant with several processes.
Just like a real-life powerplant, your body produces waste products that are toxic (especially when they’re in excess). Your kidneys are among the few organs tasked with filtering your blood and getting rid of these waste products.
Formation of kidney stones
Sometimes the concentration of dissolved minerals (Calcium and Magnesium) is way higher than that of fluids in the kidney. The minerals, therefore, precipitate and clump together to form kidney stones.
A kidney stone might be as small as a mustard seed or as huge as a golf ball!
It’s also important to note that Kidney stones are very common in the US. 1 out of every 11 people is likely to be a kidney stone victim.
It only gets worse: kidney stones victims are prone to chronic kidney disease.
Kidney stones is a silent condition. You’ll only feel the pain and discomfort when the stones are fully formed and moving about your urinary tract.
These are the symptoms that can help you set it apart from other urinary infections:
- Severe pain in the abdomen (on your sides and back). It’s an extremely painful experience that hits in pulses that increase in intensity with each wave.
- You feel the urge to urinate more than often. However, when you go, you can only pass a little urine because the stones have blocked your urinary tract.
- Passing of highly concentrated urine that is pink, deep yellow, or red (In severe cases).
- Kidney stones can also cause other urinary infections and you should, therefore, be on the lookout for infection-related fever and chills.
What is the relationship between kidney stones and hard water?
Do you remember when I said that kidney stones are formed when highly concentrated Calcium minerals solidify in the kidney lining?
Well, it happens that hard water is full of dissolved minerals.
It also happens that Calcium and Magnesium are the predominant minerals in hard water.
A recent study reported that drinking hard water causes a massive increase in urinary Calcium concentration levels (up to 50%)!
This might be the answer to whether or not drinking hard water can cause kidney stones.
Please note: I’m not saying that hard water is deadly and all water should be softened. In fact, our bodies are in desperate need of the minerals found in hard water. Minerals such as Sodium are crucial to your cardiovascular system. Lack of enough Sodium might cause cardiac arrests.
What do you do now?
I know it’s confusing.
On one end, hard water is a kidney stone factor, and on the other, hard water provides your body with essential minerals.
First, determine the hardness of your tap water.
You can do this by asking your supplier who might be the municipal council or private company depending on where you source your water. You can also test your tap water using a hardness kit.
This is the basic hardness scale obtained from water-research.net.
- Very soft water 0-17.1 mg/l or ppm
- Moderately hard water 60-70 mg/l or ppm
- Very hard water over 180 mg/l or ppm
You need to do something if your tap water is very hard. It might be a risk factor that can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
The only viable option is soft water.
Some claim soft water is de-mineralized and lacking in essential minerals like Sodium.
Not anymore, there are treatment systems like reverse osmosis units that re-inject essential minerals into purified water.
There are tonnes of benefits of soft water you’re missing out on, like better hair and skin.
Check out the expert-link at the beginning of this article for more information on the benefits of soft water.