The National Kidney Foundation tells us that one in ten people will have a kidney stone over the course of a lifetime, and that rates are on the rise. A few tips can make the difference between a painful event leading to a trip to the hospital, and a comfortable summer.
According to John Muir Health urologist Wei Zheng, MD, “Heat-related dehydration is so common, and yet so dangerous. You may be able to avoid kidney stones by consciously increasing your fluid intake this summer, and by keeping aware of a few important facts. Most people don’t have a clear idea of the steps they can take to prevent a problem.”
Below are some tips:
- Make a point to drink more water! Exercising in the heat can bring a significant loss of water through sweating. According to the Kidney Foundation, the more you sweat, the less you urinate, which allows stone-causing minerals to settle and bond in the kidneys and urinary tract. So keeping well hydrated is the best thing to do to avoid kidney stones. Take along more water than you think you need.
- Make lemonade! Chronic kidney stones are often treated with potassium citrate, but studies have shown that limeade, lemonade and other fruits and juices high in natural citrate offer the same stone-preventing benefits. Just watch the sugar intake.
- Consider lowering your intake of oxalates, as calcium oxalate stones are the leading type of kidney stones. Oxalate is found in peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, chocolate and sweet potatoes. Moderating intake may help, though most kidney stones are formed when oxalate binds to calcium while urine is produced by the kidneys. Eat and drink calcium and oxalate-rich foods together during a meal. This way, oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind to one another before the kidneys begin processing, making it less likely that stones will form.
- Don’t reduce calcium intake to avoid stones. Instead, work to cut back on sodium, and pair calcium-rich foods with oxalate-rich foods.
- Follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. Eating less animal-based protein and eating more fruits and vegetables will help decrease urine acidity and reduce the chance for stone formation.
If you require lithotripsy, we offer an on-site lithotripter that can provide timely treatment with minimal discomfort. The procedure can take from 30 to 45 minutes, resulting in a recovery time of about two hours, and discharge the same day. Ours is one of the few sites in the Bay Area that offers this on-site service.