Urine mainly consists of water and other chemical compounds such as carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and uric acid. The kidney helps to filter waste products from the blood and separates urine by sending it to the urethra. At times, the normal functioning of the kidneys is interrupted and compromised due to irregularities in the body. This can cause formation of crystal-like substances in the urine.
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What are the types of crystals in urine?
There are several types of crystals in urine depending on their shape and structure:
- Bilirubin crystals: These are yellowish, needle-like structures that are shaped from conjugated bilirubin. These are abnormal crystals in the urine that are frequently associated with hepatic disorders.
- Cholesterol crystals: These are colorless and rectangular crystals that are shaped due to saturated fats and are mostly found in acidic urine.
- Phosphate crystals: These crystals are formed due to high levels of protein-rich foods in the diet. This may also be an indication of an overactive thyroid which often causes cloudy urine.
- Calcium oxalate crystals: These crystals are enveloped shape. They are found in acidic, neutral, or alkaline urine. These may form when there are high levels of calcium, cysteine, and oxalate in the blood. It may also lead to the formation of kidney stones.
- Cystine crystals: These are colorless and hexagonal in shape that form due to the leakage of amino acid cysteine. These are often associated with inherited diseases and disorders in the bladder and kidneys.
- Sulfur crystals. Sulfur crystals are formed due to intake of antibiotics. The high levels of sulfur crystals can cause damage to the kidneys.
- Triple phosphate crystals. Triple phosphate crystals are composed of ammonium, magnesium, and phosphate. They are formed in alkaline urine and are usually associated with urinary tract infections, UTIs.
- Uric acid crystals. Uric acid crystals tend to look like rhomboids or parallelograms in shape. These are usually excreted in peeing and high levels of this may indicate the formation of kidney stones and inflammation in the joints.
What are the symptoms of crystals in urine?
There are no basic signs or symptoms that will show the presence of crystals in the urine. However, observing the appearance and testing of the urine can help detect the condition.
- Monitor the color of the urine: Changes in the color and texture of the urine may suggests the presence of crystals in the urine. If this condition occurs, consultation with the doctor is highly recommended.
- Regular urinalysis as prescribed by a doctor to check crystals in the urine. This involves a urine test in the laboratory to show the levels of crystals in the urine as well as the possible underlying cause.
What are the causes of crystals in urine?
- Change in pH of urine.:The changes in the pH of the urine can cause the formation of crystals in the urine. The normal pH value of urine should be acidic, which is less than 7. The urine tends to become alkaline when the value is exceeded, thereby leading to the formation of crystals in the urine.
- Dehydration: One of the major cause of the formation of crystals in your urine is dehydration. The insufficient amount of fluid consumption may cause the minerals and chemical present in the urine like nitrogen and uric acid to solidify and then form crystals.
- Urinary tract infection: The bacteria that causes urinary tract infection can change the pH value of the urine, causing it to become more acidic. This change in the pH value can lead to the formation of crystals.
- Kidney and bladder stone: When the crystals remain for a long time in the urine without getting flushed out, it can cause the formation of kidney and bladder stones.
- Diet. Foods that are high in protein may lead to the formation of crystals in the urine. This may also cause the increase of uric acid and calcium that enhances the formation of crystals.
Treatments of Crystals in Urine
The cause of the crystal formations would have to be considered in treating the condition. Proper diagnosis through urine culture should be done to check the nature of the crystals. Treatment plans will then be recommended by medical doctors for proper management of the urine crystals. Some of the common treatment plans for this condition include:
- Proper hydration. Always drink lots of water, at least 8 glasses every day to help prevent crystal formation in the urine.
- Reduce consumption of salty food: Salty foods can increase the calcium content in the urine, making it more acidic.
- Management of urine ph. Eat foods rich in oxalate to increase the acidity of the urine. Foods rich in oxalate include coffee, beer, chocolates, peanuts, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
- Monitoring of the protein intake: Foods rich in protein should not be eaten regularly because they contain a high amount of purine contents which add up to crystal formation. Reduce intake of organ meats and sardines. Instead, opt to eat beef, chicken, beans, cauliflower, and salmon.
Image source: microbiologyinfo.com, Article source: newhealthadvisor.com
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