If you have ever passed a kidney stone, you won’t easily forget the sudden and intense pain that comes along with it, it’s a pain no one wants to experience once let alone repeatedly. So how can we prevent the formation of these stones in the first place and put an end to the terrible, painful passing of stones?
What are kidney stones?
Have you ever passed a kidney stone? You will defiantly know if you have, but what are these terrible stones we hear about?
A kidney stone is the formation of hard, rock like stone within the kidneys; they can be as small as a grain of sand or grow as large as a golf ball! This stone forms within the kidneys or urinary tract and cause severe pain in the abdomen flank or groin. It then is eventually passed out with the urine. Unfortunate once you have one stone you are more likely to get more so learning ways to prevent them is key.
More often than not it is not understood why a stone has been formed but there are some common causes:
- When calcium, oxalate, cysteine or uric acid are at high levels in the urine. Although stones can form when these substances are at normal levels.
- When there is a decrease in urine output.
- Diet and lifestyle factors.
- Certain medical conditions can cause stone formation.
- Certain medications for treating kidney disease, cancer or HIV can also cause the formation of kidney stones.
How to prevent kidney stones?
Most kidney stones form in those who are between the ages of 20-45 and once you have one stone you are likely to get more. This is why prevention is key in managing the symptoms that come along with kidney stones.
- Hydrate- while exercise, saunas and hot yoga may all be good for our health they can also cause us to loss excessive amounts of water through sweat basically the more we sweat the less we urinate causing a build-up of stone causing minerals in the kidneys and urinary track. So always keep on top of your H2O intake.
- Don’t cut out calcium- many people cut back or completely cut out calcium from their diets when trying to stop stone formation, this is not a good or healthy idea and can actually increase the risk of more stones forming. Instead combine calcium rich foods with oxalate rich foods, and defiantly try cutting back on your sodium.
- Pair these- oxalate rich foods are another food source that people with kidney stones tend to avoid. Examples of high oxalate foods are rhubarb, chocolate, sweet potato, beets, peanuts and spinach. People like to cut them out to prevent calcium oxalate stones from forming when in fact cutting them out actually increases your chance of forming these stones. Instead eat high oxalate foods with calcium rich foods so the two properties bind to each other instead of to your kidneys. This is much safer for your health and for your kidneys.
- Amp up your potassium citrate- fruits like lemon and limes are high in natural citrate which is one of the treatments for kidney stones! So next time your choosing a beverage pick lemonade, beware of the sugar content though, opt for sugar free or make your own lemonade at home.
- Medication- if you are prescribed medication for kidney stones ensure you take it as instructed, many people fail to do this and find that symptoms return and can be worsened.
When life gives you kidney stones, make lemonade!
Kidney stones are not a pleasant experience and prevention is key, talk to your DR, check your diet, keep hydrated, stock up on sugar free lemonade and keep those stones at bay!