Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Doctor warns tea is risk to kidneys

By Su Chin-feng and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A urologist in Taichung has warned people not to drink too much tea instead of water after he treated a 63-year-old man last month for kidney stones.

The man, surnamed Ho (何), enjoys tea, often forgoing water, Everan Hospital urologist Shih Hung-wen (石宏文) said.

Ho sought medical attention after seeing blood in his urine, Shih said.

Tests showed he had 0.7cm to 0.8cm kidney stones in his left and right ureters, Shih said.

The stones had blocked the ureters, resulting in hydronephrosis, he said, adding that the man was recovering well three weeks after undergoing ureteroscopic lithotripsy and that the signs of hematuria had disappeared.

Ho said that when he was in his 30s, he passed a kidney stone with the help of medication, but in the recent case, the stones were more difficult to dislodge.

He typically drinks tea and seldom water, but after this incident, he would make a change, Ho said.

Ninety percent of people with kidney stones have calcium stones, Shih said.

Too much tea can increase the risk of developing calcium oxalate stones, because tea is rich in oxalic acid, he said, adding that drinking tea is not the same as drinking water.

The chances that stones will block both ureters at the same time are not high, but it can occur when stones fall from the kidneys at the same time, he said.

If this occurs, kidney function could be affected and blockage could lead to hydronephrosis, inflammation or even atrophy, resulting in permanent damage, Shih said.

Ho is lucky he was treated in time, the urologist said.

Ureteroscopic lithotripsy works by inserting an ureteroscope into the ureters through the urinary tract under general anesthesia, he said.

After the stones have been located, an intracorporeal lithotripter is used to break them up, he said.

Large pieces are removed, after which a double-J ureteral stent is implanted to facilitate urine flow, he said.

Most people are released from hospital two to three days after the procedure, unless they are in obvious discomfort, Shih said.

Eight to 10 percent of Taiwanese are affected by the condition, with summer being the peak period, he said.

To prevent kidney stones, people should stay hydrated, avoid excessively salty food, maintain a balanced diet and exercise, he said.

People should seek medical attention as soon as symptoms such as back pain and hematuria arise, he said.

Do not delay treatment simply because there is no pain, otherwise there could be permanent consequences, he added.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top