Kidney stone prevention
The formation of kidney stones, which are composed of mineral deposits, is a painful and unpleasant medical condition. When passing through the urinary tract, they produce unbearable discomfort.
Kidney stones impact up to 12% of the U.S. population. And if you’ve ever had a kidney stone before, you’ve already doubled your chances of getting another one in the next decade.
In cases when kidney stones run in the family, there is no foolproof method of avoiding them. Some drugs, along with adjustments to your food and way of life, may help lower your risk.
How to prevent kidney stones naturally
A person’s current diet and nutrition plan may benefit greatly from minor alterations if they are aimed at preventing kidney stones.
1. Stay hydrated
The greatest strategy to prevent kidney stones is to drink more water. Your pee output will be modest if you don’t drink enough. Reduced urination means your urine is more concentrated, making it less effective in diluting the pee salts that can lead to stones.
You can also choose from refreshing beverages like lemonade and orange juice. Both have citrate, which may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Drink enough water to produce two liters of urine every day, or around eight glasses. You should drink more water if you exercise heavily, sweat a lot, or have a history of cystine stones.
Urine should be transparent or very light yellow if you’re well hydrated. Drink additional fluids if it’s nighttime.
2. Eat more calcium-rich foods
A lot of people think they should cut back on calcium because it causes the most frequent kind of kidney stone, which is calcium oxalate. Actually, the inverse is accurate. A low-calcium diet has been linked to an increased risk of developing both kidney stones and osteoporosis.
But taking calcium supplements can make you more susceptible to developing kidney stones. It’s possible that taking calcium supplements at mealtimes can mitigate that danger.
Products like low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium.
3. Eat less sodium
Calcium kidney stones are more likely to form in those who consume a lot of salt. Too much salt in the urine blocks calcium reabsorption into the blood, as reported by the Urology Care Foundation. A high calcium level in the urine might induce kidney stones.
Lowering urine calcium levels is one benefit of reducing salt intake. The likelihood of forming kidney stones is inversely proportional to the amount of calcium in the urine.
Read nutrition labels thoroughly if you want to cut down on your sodium intake.
The list of high-sodium foods includes:
chips, crackers, and other packaged snacks.
soups in a can
vegetables in a can
Meat products used for packing lunches.
Monosodium glutamate-containing foods.
salt-free meals (baking soda).
Try using fresh herbs or a salt-free, herbal spice blend instead of salt to add flavor to your food.
4. Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods
Oxalate, a natural chemical found in foods, combines with calcium in the urine to produce kidney stones. Foods high in oxalates should be avoided or limited to reduce the risk of developing these stones.
Foods that are particularly high in oxalates include:
soybeans and their by-products
flour made from wheat germ.
Ingesting foods high in both oxalate and calcium at the same time reduces the risk of developing kidney stones because oxalate and calcium bind together in the digestive tract before reaching the kidneys.
5. Eat less animal protein
Consuming a lot of animal protein can make your pee more acidic. Uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones have been linked to high urine acid.
It’s best if you could avoid or cut back on:
6. Avoid vitamin C supplements
Supplemental ascorbic acid (vitamin C) has been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones, particularly in males.
The chance of developing a kidney stone was found to be increased in men who took large doses of vitamin C supplements in 2013. Vitamin C from food sources, according to the study’s authors, poses no such danger.
7. Explore herbal remedies
The “stone breaker,” or Chanca Piedra, is a well-known herbal folk treatment for kidney stones. There’s speculation that using this plant can reduce the likelihood of developing calcium oxalate stones. The size of the stones already in place is thought to shrink as a result.
Please exercise caution when using herbal therapies. They haven’t been well studied or regulated for use in either preventing or treating kidney stones.
How to prevent kidney stones with medication
Unfortunately, there are times when merely altering one’s diet isn’t enough to keep kidney stones at bay. Repeat stone sufferers should discuss potential pharmaceutical interventions with their primary care physicians.
8. Talk to your doctor about the medications you’re currently taking
Kidney stones are a side effect of many drugs, including those available on prescription and those sold over the counter.
Here are just a few examples of these drugs:
Meds used in chemotherapy
medicines that reduce uric acid levels.
You increase your likelihood of developing kidney stones the longer you take these medications. If you are currently using any of these medications, it is important that you discuss alternative treatments with your doctor. Without your doctor’s okay, you shouldn’t stop taking any prescriptions.
9. Talk to your doctor about preventative medications
Some drugs can help reduce the concentration of substances that can cause kidney stones in those who are predisposed to developing them. Treatment for your stones will be tailored to the specific kind you most frequently experience.
Case in point:
Phosphate or a thiazide diuretic may help with calcium stones.
Allopurinol (Zyloprim) can lower uric acid levels in the blood or urine, which can help prevent uric acid stones.
Prolonged usage of antibiotics may be recommended for those who suffer from struvite stones in order to lessen the bacterial load in the urine and thus prevent further stone formation.
Capoten (Captopril) may lower cystine levels in the urine, which may help prevent cystine stones.
The bottom line
Renal stones occur often. There is no assurance that preventative measures will work, but they might lessen your vulnerability. Keeping yourself well-hydrated and adopting some dietary adjustments are your best bets against developing kidney stones.
Discuss with your doctor the best strategy to reduce your risk of kidney stones if you have inflammatory bowel disease, a persistent urinary tract infection, or are overweight.
In the event that you have ever passed a kidney stone, it is recommended that you have your kidneys checked out. Knowing the specific type of stone you’ve experienced allows you to take more effective measures to prevent future attacks.