If you’ve had a kidney stone, you know that the experience can be unpleasant. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes and medications which are present to help you avoid developing another one. The pain can be unbearable until the stones pass via your urinary plumbing and out of the body. In half of the people who have had kidney stones previously, another appears within seven years. Prevention of kidney stones is not tough but it does take some determination.
Kidney stones are formed when certain chemicals become concentrated enough in the urine and it forms crystals. The crystals then grow into larger masses which make their way through the urinary tract. If the stone gets stuck somewhere and it blocks the flow of the urine it will cause pain. Most of the stones occur when the calcium combines with one or two substances which are oxalate or phosphorous. Stones can also form because of the uric acid which gets formed because the body metabolizes protein.
Kidney Stones- Symptoms
Symptoms begin when the stones travel via the urinary system. Stones can get stuck and cause a back up of urine which can be painful in most of the cases. Symptoms of kidney stones include:
- Bloody urine
- Chills and fever
- Intense, non-stop pain in lower back
- Vomiting often happens from intense pain
- Odd smelling urine
- Aching stomach pain which does not improve with the gas medication
Here are ways to prevent kidney stones
Prevention of kidney stones means avoiding the conditions which support their formation. Here are the recommendations to prevent kidney stones:
- Drink lots of water: Drinking water, which means extra water will dilute the substances which leads to stones. You should strive to drink enough fluids which can pass 2 liters of urine each day, which is around 8-ounce cups. It will help more if you can include citrus beverages such as orange juice or lemonade. The citrate present in them helps to block the stone formation.
- Take plenty of calcium: Consuming little or no calcium in your diet can cause the oxalate levels to rise and it can cause kidney stones. To overcome it, make sure to take calcium in a good amount appropriate to your age. Obtain calcium-rich foods, since some of the studies have shown that taking calcium supplements to reduce kidney stones works best. Men over 50-year-old should intake 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, along with a high intake of vitamin D to help the body to absorb the calcium.
- Reduce sodium: A diet high-sodium can increase the chances of kidney stones because it will increase the amount of calcium present in urine. A low-sodium diet is recommended to reduce the formation of the stone. According to guidelines, you should limit the intake of sodium to 2,300 mg. If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce the daily intake to 1,500 mg. This will be beneficial for your heart and blood pressure.
- Lower the intake of animal protein: Consuming too much of animal protein, like red meat, seafood, poultry, eggs can boosts the level of the uric acid which could lead to the formation of kidney stones. A diet rich in protein can reduce the levels of citrate, a chemical which is present in the urine which helps in preventing the formation of stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones then limit the intake of meat.
- Avoid foods which cause stone: Foods like chocolate, spinach, beets, nuts, and tea have a high content of oxalate and cold drinks are rich in phosphate, both can be the reason for the formation of kidney stones. The doctor will advise you to stop the consumption of these foods or at least consume them in small amounts.
Resolving underlying medical problems to reduce kidney stones
Some of the medical conditions like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the risk of kidney stones. Endocrinologic diseases like an overactive thyroid can increase the levels of the calcium in the urine. In addition to it, gout can increase uric acid levels in the body, which can cause uric acid stones. Adequately treating such diseases and managing chronic problems can help prevent kidney stones from developing.
Some foods and drinks are unlikely to cause kidney stones unless they are consumed in higher quantities. Some studies have also shown that men who consume high doses of vitamin C as supplements are at higher risk of developing kidney stones. This is because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate.