Kidney stones can be a very painful issue for sufferers, but it is a condition which affects a surprisingly large amount of people. Doctors believe that our modern lifestyles and diets may actually increase the chances of kidneys stones forming because they introduce a larger amount of waste products into the body. However, it is possible to take certain steps to decrease the likelihood of kidney stones forming.
Because kidney stones are most likely to form when there is not enough water in the urine to prevent solutes in the waste products from forming into stones, it is important to make sure that your body is properly hydrated.
It is important to consume a healthy amount of water every day to prevent dehydration. Experts recommend consuming between 2 – 3 litres of water per day, however it is important not to consume excessive amounts of water as this will have a negative effect on the health of your kidneys. Although tea, coffee and fruit juice can all count towards your fluid intake, drinking water is one of the best substances to prevent kidney stones from developing.
If it is hotter weather or if you are sweating a lot due to exercise, then you will need to increase your fluid intake enough to make up for the fluid that you are losing through your sweat.
Changing your diet can also have an effect on the likelihood that kidney stones will form. Calcium-containing stones are formed by an excess of calcium in your kidneys, however purposefully reducing your calcium intake is not advised by most doctors, because calcium is essential for maintaining healthy bones. Instead, you may consider reducing the amount of oxalates in your diet, because oxalates can reduce the amount of calcium which is absorbed by your body and increase the amount which ends up passing through your kidneys.
Foods which contain high levels of oxalates include; beetroot, rhubarb, chocolate, leeks, parsley, berries, celery, asparagus, almonds and soy products. Reducing your intake of these foods can make it easier for your body to absorb calcium, and therefore make it less likely for you to develop calcium-containing stones.
Reducing your sodium (salt) intake can also help to prevent calcium-based stones from forming as easily.
Uric Acid stones are another type of stone which can form in the kidneys. In order to reduce the likelihood of developing uric acid stones, you may need to reduce the amount of animal protein in your diet, including the amount of meat, eggs, poultry and fish. Limiting animal proteins can also help with other types of kidney stones.
If you suddenly develop kidney stones, you should also check the side effects of any medication you may have started to take. Due to the different chemical compositions of some types of medication, increasing the likelihood of kidney stones may be an unwanted side effect. If you believe that your kidney stones may have been caused by your medication, then you should speak to your pharmacist to discuss a solution or kidney stones treatment.