As much as one in ten people have a problem with kidney stones at some point during their lives. As these could be rather unpleasant and painful and even cause potentially serious medical problems, the best thing to do is work on not having them in the first place.
It’s possible to prevent kidney stones by taking care of your diet, generally living a healthy life and visiting a doctor a few times before it’s necessary to do so.
Eat less sodium
A diet containing a lot of salt can lead to the formation of kidney stones. That happens because too much salt prevents calcium from being absorbed from the urine. All you should do is reduce the amount of salt and therefore reduce the sodium you’re taking. Start by adding less salt to your food. Also, try to avoid chips and crackers or condiments of any kind, canned vegetables and canned soup as they also contain a lot of salt. Baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) should also be avoided.
The simplest way to prevent kidney problems is to remember to drink enough water every day – low urine output means the urine is more concentrated which causes kidney stones to be formed. The goal should be to pass 2 liters of urine every day through the kidneys, and if you want to achieve this goal, you should drink 8 standard cups of water. If you want to mix things up a bit add some citrus beverages like orange juice and lemonade. Citrate also helps prevent kidney stones. The color of your urine could be a good indicator of the amount of water you’re drinking. It should be clear or pale yellow – if it’s darker than that you’re not hydrating enough.
If drinking several glasses of water a day seem like torture add a bit of excitement by dunking fresh fruit , veggie slices, and herbs like basil, lavander or mint.
Limit animal protein
Too much animal protein (which can be found in red meat, eggs, poultry and seafood) can increase the levels of urine acid and cause calcium oxalate kidney stones. There’s no need to cut proteins altogether, but you should take care of how much of them you intake. However, since animal protein could cause heart problems as well, you should discuss your diet with your cardiologist or urologist.
Low calcium levels can cause oxalate to rise and kidney stones to be formed. Prevent this by taking enough calcium on a daily basis. The amount you need to take in depends on your age and overall health status – men older than 50 should get 1000 milligrams of calcium a day along with vitamin D which helps you absorb it. However, it’s best not to get calcium from supplements since there are studies showing that they could actually increase the risk of kidney stones. Instead, eat more cheese and dairy products and get all the calcium you need naturally.
Less oxalate-rich foods
Oxalate and calcium bind together to form kidney stones so it might be a good idea to limit the intake of foods that contain them as well. Oxalate could be found in vegetables such as spinach and sweet potatoes, peanuts and coffee, as well as in soy products and wheat. Chocolate should also be eaten in moderation. Once again, there’s no need to stop eating these products, just moderate the amount you’re taking.
There are a lot of factors that could contribute to the creation of kidney stones. Most are concerned with diet, but there’s more to it than that. When you schedule a checkup with a professional urologist make sure to be upfront about previous medical problems you might have had. Urinary infections aren’t pleasant to talk about but they add to the risk of forming kidney stones, so you urologist needs to hear about them. Also don’t forget to go a bit further into the past, because kidney problems are often hereditary.
Once you have kidney stones
Prevention can only take you so far. At some point, you may actually get kidney stones regardless of how hard you’ve worked to prevent it from happening. Even though it isn’t a pleasant condition to have, it’s manageable and even curable. Don’t miss any doctor’s appointments and be diligent in making the life changes your doctor prescribes. Your options include passing the stones naturally or using sound waves to break them. If it goes that far there’s always the option of surgically removing the stones. It too can be done without too much risk and sometimes without the need to cut you open.
Kidney stone problems could be avoided by making small adjustments to your diet and by listening to your doctor’s tips. Even if you form kidney stones, after all, a skilled urologist could handle that without too many problems.