Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders affecting the urinary tract. They are also one of the most painful, making kidney stone prevention incredibly important. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent kidney stones and avoid the pain of having a stone scrape against the walls of the urinary tract. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of stone formation.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to prevent kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps dissolve calcium, phosphate and other mineral crystals before they can form stones. When you don't drink sufficient amounts of water, however, mineral crystals can accumulate in your urinary tract. Dr. Julio Davalos recommends that people with a history of kidney stones drink 3 liters of water per day to prevent a recurrence.
It is possible to consume too much of a good thing, increasing the risk for kidney stones. Vitamin C supplements, which can be very helpful for preventing or treating other conditions, can actually increase the risk for kidney stones when taken in high doses. If you take vitamin C supplements, it's important to limit their intake to prevent kidney stones.
Limiting calcium consumption can help prevent kidney stones, but it isn't necessary to completely eliminate high-calcium foods from your diet. Most adults should consume 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams of calcium per day, but it might be necessary for patients with a history of kidney stones to limit their intake to approximately 800 milligrams per day. Avoiding high-calcium foods completely doesn't prevent kidney stones, and it may actually increase the risk for developing stones.
Surprisingly, reducing sodium intake is a good way to prevent kidney stones. Consuming too much sodium increases the amount of calcium excreted from the body, which allows calcium crystals to accumulate in the urine. The more calcium crystals are in your urinary tract, the more likely it is you will develop a stone. To prevent kidney stones, adults with a history of stones should limit their sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Eating a lot of high-protein foods increases the amount of uric acid in your body. Too much uric acid can cause kidney stones to form. For people with a history of kidney stones, reducing consumption of eggs, poultry and red meat can help reduce the risk of uric-acid stones. When people with a history of kidney stones do eat meat, they should limit their portion sizes to approximately 3 ounces.
Because kidney stones are so painful, taking these steps toward kidney stone prevention is very important for anyone with a history of stones in the urinary tract. Consuming less sodium, staying hydrated, limiting calcium intake and reducing protein consumption are all good ways to prevent kidney stones.
Photo courtesy of rajcreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net