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How to Prevent Kidney Stones

how to prevent kidney stonesI just recently struggled through a bout of kidney stones, so I decided to write an article on how to prevent kidney stones, to try to help other people from going through what I just went through – which is very painful! Let’s begin by defining what exactly kidney stones are.

What are Kidney Stones?

A kidney stone, which is also known as a renal calculus or nephrolith, is a solid piece of material which is formed in the kidneys from minerals in urine. Kidney stones typically leave the body in the urine stream, and a small stone may pass without causing symptoms. However, if stones grow to sufficient size (usually at least 3 millimeters (0.12 in)), they can cause blockage of the ureter. This leads to pain, most commonly beginning in the flank or lower back and then often radiating to the groin. This pain is often known as renal colic and typically comes in waves lasting 20 to 60 minutes. There are other associated symptoms which include: nausea, vomiting, fever, blood in the urine, pus in the urine, and painful urination. Blockage of the ureter can cause decreased kidney function and dilation of the kidney.

Source: Wikipedia

Next let’s talk about what causes kidney stones.

Causes of Kidney Stones

Dehydration from low fluid intake plays a key role and is a major factor in stone formation. Or in other words, you’re not drinking enough fluids.

Your diet is a major factor in the formation of stones. A high dietary intake of animal protein, sodium, oxalate, refined sugars, fructose and high fructose corn syrup, grapefruit juice, and apple juice may increase the risk of developing kidney stones.

Family history and/or personal history plays a role in developing kidney stones. If someone in your family has kidney stones, it increases your risk of developing stones. If you have had stones in the past, it increases your risk of getting another one again in the future.

Vitamin D and Calcium supplements may increase the risk of developing kidney stones because they increase the levels of calcium in the urine and blood, this according to a studied carried out by scientist at Creighton University Medical Center [1]

Other factors that may cause kidney stones include obesity, surgery and digestive diseases.

OK, now that we know what kidney stones are, and what causes them to develop, now let’s come up with a solution to both treat and prevent them from developing in the future.

How to Prevent Kidney Stones: Treatment for Kidney Stones

Both treating and preventing kidney stones go hand in hand. So here are some ways that you can both treat and prevent kidney stones from developing in the future.

Drink more water. Some may tell you to drink 10 to 12 cups of water a day, but it really depends on other factors including your size and weight, what your activity level is, and where you live. Generally speaking, you should drink a half an ounce to an ounce of water every day. This means that someone who weighs 140 pounds, needs somewhere between 70 to 140 ounces of water per day. Those who live in warmer climates, and are more active, would fall into the higher range.

Make changes in your dietary intake. Some of these dietary changes include the following.

Reduce and/or eliminate your animal protein (e.g. meat, eggs and fish) intake.

Severely lower your sodium intake.

Drastically reduce and or eliminate refined sugars and fructose and high fructose corn syrup.

Eat fewer oxalate rich foods. Examples of oxalate rich foods include rhubarb, beets, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, nuts, chocolate, tea and soy products. One notation though about limiting oxalate rich foods.

Note: According to the National Kidney Foundation they state that from an overall health perspective it is not a smart idea to reduce oxalate rich foods from your diet. What they recommend you do is both eat and drink calcium and oxalate rich foods together during a meal. They recommend doing this because oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind to one another in the intestines and stomach before the kidneys begin processing, thus making it less likely that kidney stones will form.

Limit calcium and vitamin D supplements. Calcium and vitamin D supplements may increase your risk of developing kidney stones according to a studied carried out by scientist at Creighton University Medical Center.

Switch over to a plant-based diet. Eat mostly vegetables and fruits. Eat healthy fats and avoid processed foods.

Load up on fruits that are high in natural citrate. Critic fruits such as lemon, limes, oranges and grapefruit have the highest concentration of critic acid. See more at: Juices That Contain Critic Acid

In fact, I was reading this article where a Doctor prescribes lemonade to his patients as the primary remedy to treat kidney stones.

Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity and gaining weight may increase your risk of developing kidney stones.

Always make sure that you stay active, and get as much exercise as possible.

Blood and urine testing. A blood test may show if you have uric acid or calcium in your blood. And a urine test may reveal if you’re excreting too many stone-forming minerals. It may also reveal if you are excreting too few stone-preventing substances as well. Both are excellent diagnostic tools to both treat and prevent kidney stones.

So these are some preventive measures that may preclude you from developing kidney stones in the future. For me personally I am in the early stages of my kidney stone disorder. I will keep you updated and let you know how effective these measures are in both treating and preventing kidney stone formation again in the future.