Michael McIntyre kidney stones – what they are and how serious they can be

By Staff

Comedian Michael McIntyre has had to apologise to fans for cancelling another show because he needed an operation for kidney stones. The funny man, who is 48 years old, won’t be able to make people laugh at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton tonight (Monday March 4). It comes after he had to cancel a show at Plymouth Pavilions as part of his ‘Macnificent’ tour because he was sick.

On Michael’s X (formerly Twitter) page, it said: “We regret to inform customers that Michael McIntyre will be unable to perform on Monday 4 March at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. Unfortunately, Michael has had an operation to remove kidney stones. The show will be rescheduled to a later date which will be announced shortly.”

More than one in ten people get kidney stones according to the NHS. They can happen in one or both kidneys and often affect people aged 30 to 60 years old. They can be extremely painful, and in some cases can potentially lead to complications, including kidney infections or the kidney not working properly.

READ MORE: The dust in your home could be making you ill. Here’s what you need to know

What are kidney stones?

Dr Babak Ashrafi, a GP from Superdrug Online Doctor, explains that kidney stones are hard lumps that form in the kidneys when substances like calcium and phosphorus build up in the urine. Diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications are among the many causes of kidney stones.

How serious are kidney stones?

The seriousness of kidney stones can vary. It depends on things like how big they are and where they are, says Dr Ashrafi.

“While smaller stones may pass through the urinary tract without causing significant issues, larger stones can lead to intense pain and complications,” he explains. “In extreme cases, they can lead to complications like urinary tract obstruction, kidney damage and infections.”

Most of the time, kidney stones will go away on their own if you drink lots of fluids and take medicine for the pain. But Dr Ashrafi warns that big stones or stones that keep coming back might need medical treatment. “It’s crucial to seek prompt medical attention if symptoms persist or worsen,” stresses Ashrafi.

What are the symptoms?

Sometimes small kidney stones might not cause any problems, and you might wee them out without noticing. But big kidney stones can cause symptoms, including pain in the side of your tummy, which might be very bad and intense, although it can sometimes come and go, and feeling sick or being sick.

“Kidney stones can be incredibly painful as they travel through the urinary tract, causing intense discomfort and often leading to symptoms like severe lower back or abdominal pain, blood in the urine, and more frequent urination,” says Ashrafi.

How are kidney stones treated?

Ashrafi says treatment options range from pain management and increased fluid intake to flush out the kidney stones, to lithotripsy where high energy shock waves break the stones into pieces as small as grains of sand, which can then be passed from the body in the urine. Sometimes surgical removal, like McIntyre had, is required.

READ MORE: New map shows where 100-day cough cases are rising the most with hundreds in London

Why do people get kidney stones?

A number of factors can increase someone’s risk of kidney stones, including insufficient hydration, having a sedentary lifestyle and a diet with high levels of sodium, and possibly oxalate a natural compound found in certain plants. “Not drinking enough water reduces the amount of urine you produce, making it harder for your body to dissolve calcium, oxalate and phosphorus,” explains Ashrafi. “This heightened concentration creates an environment where these substances are more likely to crystallise and form solid particles.”

Being overweight could contribute to the development of kidney stones, according to healthcare expert Mr Ashrafi. He explained: “Obesity in particular, contributes to heightened insulin resistance and can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, promoting the crystallisation of the substances that lead to kidney stone formation.” Eating foods that are high in salt and animal proteins, common in diets linked with being overweight, puts you at greater risk of developing kidney stones.

How can you avoid kidney stones?

Ashrafi advises that keeping up with a healthy lifestyle is key. This may include drinking loads of water and eating a balanced diet filled with low-salt, low-oxalate foods. Doing regular exercise and keeping your blood’s insulin levels checked out can help manage your weight and keeps obesity at bay, reducing chances of kidney stones popping up.

If kidney stones are a common problem in your family or if you have specific health conditions, it would be best to talk to your doctor about crafting a kidney-stone-prevention plan that suits you. Mr Ashrafi said: “Overall, staying active and well-nourished is the key to avoiding kidney stones.”

? Sign up to our daily newsletters for all the latest and greatest from across London here.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *