One in ten people has a kidney stone over a lifetime. Recent studies have claimed that kidney stone rates are on the rise more than before. Learn in this article how to avoid kidney stones.
Excess body weight, diet, some medical conditions, and certain supplements cause kidney stones. Kidney stones can impact any area of your urinary tract — from kidneys to bladder. Most frequently, stones occur when the urine becomes concentrated enough to allow minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing stones can be painful, but they usually cause no permanent harm if they’re diagnosed in a timely fashion. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need nothing more than to take pain killer medicines and drink plenty of water to pass a kidney stone. Your doctor will recommend preventive treatment to lower your risk of recurrent kidney stones.
Types of kidney stones
After you know the type of kidney stone, it will help you determine the cause of kidney stones. It will also give you tips on how to avoid kidney stones.
Remember: If it is feasible for you, you should try to save your kidney stone when passing one. So, you can bring it to your doctor for perfect analysis. Now, let’s have a brief overview of the types of kidney stones, so you can match them with your type.
1. Calcium stones
The majority of the kidney stones form are from calcium. They are mostly in the form of calcium oxalate, a substance formed regularly by your liver or absorbed from your diet. A wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and chocolates contain high oxalate content.
Intestinal bypass surgery, high doses of vitamin D, dietary factors, and several metabolic disorders contribute to increasing the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine. Calcium stones may also form as calcium phosphate. This type is more common in metabolic conditions and can also be associated with a few medications used to treat migraines, like topiramate.
2. Struvite stones
These types of stones occur in response to a urinary tract infection. Struvite stones usually grow more quickly and are quite larger in size. They form sometimes with certain symptoms or little warning.
3. Uric acid stones
Uric acid stones normally form in people who tend to lose an extra amount of fluid due to chronic diarrhea or malabsorption. If you eat a high-protein diet, and if you have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, your kidney stones are more likely to be uric acid stones. Certain genetic factors can also raise your risk of uric acid stones.
4. Cystine stones
These stones form if you have a hereditary disorder called cystinuria. The disorder may cause your kidneys to excrete too much specific amino acid.
Six Best Ways to avoid kidney stones
There are a number of tips you can follow to reduce your body actively fighting the formation of kidney stones. Follow these 6 best tips on how to avoid kidney stones to reap the biggest benefit.
1. Try Reducing Oxalate-Rich Foods
Oxalate is found naturally in a large number of foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, seeds, legumes, and even tea and chocolate. Peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, chocolate, and sweet potatoes also contain high levels of oxalate. Maintaining intake of these foods is beneficial if your kidney forms calcium oxalate stones, the leading type of kidney stones.
A common myth among people is that cutting the oxalate-rich foods in diet alone will decrease the likelihood of occurring calcium oxalate kidney stones. But in theory, this can be true. This approach may not prove smart from an overall health perspective. Most kidney stones occur when oxalate binds to calcium when the kidney is producing urine.
It is essential to eat calcium and oxalate-rich foods together. They both bind together in the stomach and intestines before the kidneys begin processing, leading to the formation of no kidney stones.
Read: Foods That Are Actually Damaging Your Kidneys
2. Get enough calcium from a balanced diet
Do you get enough calcium from your diet? If you increase the amount of calcium-rich foods you eat, you can avoid the chances of the most common type of kidney stone, a calcium-oxalate stone. Better options for calcium-rich include low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat milk.
In case you already have enough calcium intake, this won’t be beneficial to reduce your chances of stones. Your required amount of calcium depends on your age and gender. Consult with your doctor about what is right for you. Also, include vitamin D in your diet to help your body absorb calcium.
You may think that taking calcium supplements would be helpful. But it does the opposite and can increase the risk. If you want to take calcium supplements, take them with a meal. This can reduce the increased possibility of forming kidney stones.
3. Reduce your sodium intake
Sodium, a natural mineral found in foods, makes up 40% of table salt along with chloride making up to 60%. If you have a history of kidney stones, you should consume less sodium as the salt in urine does not allow calcium to be reabsorbed into the blood. Urine will contain high levels of calcium leading to stone formation.
If your sodium consumption has contributed to stones, it is better to reduce your sodium intake to 1,500 mg each day. For this, you must avoid sodium-rich foods like lunch meat, canned vegetables, canned soups, condiments, pickles and olives, cheese, hotdogs, bratwurst, and sausages.
Do not eat foods containing monosodium glutamate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and sodium nitrate. Chips, crackers, pretzels, and other processed foods are also not good choices.
4. Never Forget to Read Food Labels
Make sure to know what you’re eating by reading the food labels. Make sure to know what sorts of additives are present in your favorite foods until you check. Reading food labels can help you make good choices giving you a more comprehensive understanding of how certain items can affect you and why.
For the best results, go for a diet plan that directly helps you to avoid kidney stones. When you have been working on it, try to make healthy choices while listening to your body’s requirements. What works for others may not work for you. So, it’s important to try different foods and take note of how your body reacts.
5. Do Not make calcium supplements part of your diet
Do not eat foods filled with calcium to avoid calcium stones. But dietary calcium is actually good for normal functioning. In fact, it helps your body block harmful substances in the digestive tract that can cause stones. Your doctor may help you choose the best calcium-rich foods according to your situation.
Calcium supplements can increase your risk of stones. Other supplements you may need to cut down on our vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, and vitamin C, which is transformed into oxalates. Do not put on very low-calcium diets. This may result in an increased risk of osteoporosis. Do not really restrict calcium intake; your goal should be 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day.
6. Drink Lots of Fluids
This is one of the easiest ways to avoid kidney stone formation. Staying hydrated throughout the day will make more urine. Lower water intake can result in low urine. It can also make your urine highly concentrated. As a result, a deficiency of water and other fluids will prevent urine salts from dissolving. Thus, they accumulate leading to the formation of kidney stones.
You need to drink citrus juices like lemonade and orange juice. The citrate present in such juices will assist prevent the formation of crystal stones.
Related: Juices for Detoxifying your Kidney
What to do when your diet to avoid kidney stones doesn’t work?
Dietary choices are not enough, sometimes, to avoid kidney stones from forming. If you have recurrent stones, it’s better to talk to your urologist about the role of medications to prevent them in the future. Each type of kidney stone needs different medication to help lower the amount of that material present in the urine causing the stone.
In case, you are diagnosed with calcium stones, the urologist will prescribe phosphate or thiazide diuretic. If you get uric acid stones, allopurinol (Zyloprim) can reduce the acid in the blood or urine. With struvite stones, doctors prescribed a long-term antibiotic to decrease the bacteria in the urine. A doctor treating you with cysteine stones may prescribe you Capoten (Captopril) to lower the level of cysteine in the urine.
Some over-the-counter medications you might be taking can lead to kidney stones, such as diuretics, decongestants, steroids, protease inhibitors, anticonvulsants, chemotherapy drugs, and uricosuric drugs. If you are taking these medicines, talk to your doctor about alternatives. Do not stop using any medically prescribed medication without consulting with your doctor first.
Do not prefer using herbal remedies as these may not be well-researched or well-regulated to avoid kidney stones. It is always best to discuss with a doctor about your options.
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