- Dehydration leading to 5 to 10 per cent annual increase
- Claims made by consultant surgeon Bhaskar Somani
- Kidney stone cases have almost doubled at his hospital
Thousands of new cases of kidney stones every year are caused by ignorance or denial of the need to drink three litres of water a day, according to a leading doctor.
Bhaskar Somani, a consultant urological surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said a lack of awareness about the dangers of dehydration was responsible for an annual increase in renal stone admissions, including among young people in their twenties.
‘The number of people admitted to hospital suffering severe pain and discomfort due to kidney stones is increasing by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent every year,’ he said.
‘Over the past decade, the number of hospital admissions for renal stones in the UK rose by 63 per cent to more than 80,000 and there is no sign of these numbers letting up.’
Kidney stones develop when crystals of salt gather into lumps and are not flushed out of the body due to a lack of adequate hydration, often lodging in the urinary system’s tubes.
They can cause severe abdominal and groin pain which, in many cases, can only be corrected through surgery.
The condition affects about 10 to 20 per cent of men and 3 to 5 per cent of women between the ages of 30 and 60.
At Southampton General Hospital, the number of patients admitted to hospital every month has almost doubled – a trend Mr Somani said would continue without intervention.
‘The only way to drive this down is to drive home the message that healthy lifestyle, diet and fluid intake is the best way to prevent the development and recurrence of stones,’ he said.
‘With evidence that 50 per cent of patients treated are likely to have a recurrence within ten years, largely due to complacency around hydration within a few years of having surgery, we know we face an uphill battle to change the national mindset, but we must make a start.’
Mr Somani said all adults should aim to drink between two to three litres of water a day, while former stone patients should maintain a daily intake upwards of three litres to avoid recurrence.
He has also called for the introduction of a screening programme for all high risk patients – those with diabetes, gout or inflammatory bowel disease – and regular monitoring of people who suffered their first incidence of stones under the age of 25.