Kidney stones are a growing medical concern for women. Over the last 7 years, there has been a significant increase in the number of women who visit the emergency room due to kidney stones.

So what are the numbers? Khurshid R. Ghani, MD, and his colleagues from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit analyzed the changes from 2006-2009. They conducted a national survey using charges for patients with upper urinary tract stones from ER visits. Per 100,000 patients, incidence for upper urinary tract stones increased from 289 to 306. In Total, over 3.6 million were treated. For women, treatment rose an estimated 2.85% per year and they were also more likely to be hospitalized. Over the course of the study, that would be a 3 year increase of about 8.5 percent, and if those numbers have stayed the same, there would have been about an almost 20 percent increase from 2006 to today!

But why could we be seeing this increase? Dr. Ghani suspects that one reason may be the growing numbers of obesity in women. One of the major risk factors for developing a kidney stone is obesity. Also among obese individuals, women have a higher chance of developing stones.  

Another problem with the rise of treatment is cost. Medical technology is becoming increasingly expensive and the increased use is driving up the cost for the nation. Dr. Ghani explains in the video linked below:

With rising incidence rates, kidney stones are another issue that may need to be discussed with certain patients; especially women who are obese or borderline obese. Trying to lower rates of obesity and encouraging patients to take proper care measures if they are able to pass a stone are important. In addition, the future of medical technology may benefit financially by finding an alternative diagnostic method for kidney stones. If obesity trends continue, we are likely to keep seeing these rates of kidney stone hospitalizations, with similar or higher costs to the healthcare system. 

Click here Read the NIH report