5 tips to keep away kidney stones

Drink enough water to produce 2-2.5 quarts/liters of urine every day. Recommendations to drink a set amount of water daily do not take into account how much water a person needs, which can vary depending on activity level and other factors. It is more reliable to consider how much urine comes out, or how many times one urinates daily.

a drinking fountain

No, these are not kidney stones but if, like me, you have had one, it probably felt this big.

Almost nothing compares to the agony of kidney stones; it is often compared to the pain of labor and childbirth; I can attest to that, having had both.

big rocks
not kidney stones

Called renal colic, the pain of kidney stones is similar to the episodes of crying and distress in infants. (I will have a post on infant colic soon.)

Stones, or calculi, don’t usually cause symptoms as long as they stay in the kidney. But if they migrate down into the ureter, the tiny tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder, trouble begins. As the stones try to wiggle their way down the narrow passageway, spasms of pain result; and the bigger the stone the worse.

The urinary tract- kidney, ureters and bladder
The urinary tract- kidney, ureters and bladder

Fortunately, most stones eventually pass into the bladder and out the body through the urethra. Some get stuck and must be removed. Occasionally, large stones can block the kidney, leading to infection. But , once you have had a stone, you want to prevent another.

What causes kidney stones?

We know what substances cause most stones- chemicals that normally pass through the urine but  sometimes build up, harden and form into tiny rock -like structures called calculi. These chemicals mostly come from food, so  changes in diet are one way to prevent new stones from forming.

5 tips to keep away kidney stones-watercresswords.com

Steps to stopping kidney stones

These steps can help lessen the risk of new stones in people who have already had one. We don’t know if it applies to people who have never had any stones. Check with your doctor to see if any of these are right for you.

Drink enough water to produce 2-2.5 quarts/liters of urine every day.

Recommendations to drink a set amount of water daily do not take into account how much water a person needs, which can vary depending on activity level and other factors. It is more reliable to consider how much urine comes out, or how many times one urinates daily.

Limit the amount of sodium, salt, in the diet.

Since the majority of stones contain calcium, it might make sense to limit calcium. But the kidneys spend more time filtering sodium; so with less sodium, more calcium can  be filtered out  and not be available to make stones. Here are 5 tips to reduce salt intake from WebMD

Limit intake of oxalate rich foods.

peanuts in the shell

Oxalate is another chemical found in kidney stones. It comes from eating rhubarb, spinach, tea, nuts and cocoa.

Although watercress and other greens contain oxalate, it’s probably not necessary to avoid them entirely; they also are a good source of calcium which attaches to the oxalate, removing both from the body. Moderate amounts with adequate fluid intake should be safe, unless your doctor tells your otherwise.

Limit intake of non-dairy animal protein.

two fried eggs on toast

eat more fruits and vegetables

Drink beverages with lime and lemon juice.

fresh vegetables-lettuce, tomatoes, radishes

Get expert advice about kidney stones at these links.

Eating tips from the National Kidney Foundation

Watch a brief video about kidney stones from MedlinePlus  here.

Print a PDF handout at this link-  Preventing Kidney Stones -from the American Academy of Family Physicians

exploring the HEART of health

Thank you for joining me to explore the HEART of health. I hope you’ve learned something. Please contact me about topics you want to read about.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

I am a family physician who loves to write about the HEART of HEALTH. On my blog, Watercress Words, I inform and inspire us in healthy living. My ideas come from my training, experiences, medical practice, personal life, and medicine in the media. There's always something new and interesting to explore in the world of health and medicine.

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