THE number of patients admitted to hospital every month in Southampton for kidney stones has almost doubled, it has been revealed.

The city’s leading kidney expert has warned that the increase is because people are “in denial” about the consequences of dehydration.

Southampton has seen emergency admissions due to kidney stones increase since the start of the year from around 12 cases a month to 20.

Bhaskar Somani, consultant urological surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said that action must be taken to end the complacent view taken by many regarding their daily fluid intake.

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 to tackle the problem.

He said: “What we are seeing in Southampton is broadly reflective of the national picture and 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.

“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.”

Kidney stones, which affect around ten to 20 per cent of the male population and three to five per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 60 years, develop when crystals of salt accumulate into stone-like lumps and are not flushed out of the body due to a lack of adequate hydration.

Although the body tries to pass stones out of the urinary system they often lodge in the kidney tube and cause severe abdominal and groin pain which, in many cases, can only be corrected through surgery.

Mr Somani added: “The number of people admitted to hospital suffering severe pain and discomfort due to kidney stones is increasing by between five per cent and ten per cent every year, yet people remain unaware and, in some cases, in denial about the significance of preventative measures.”

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.