Yes, You Can Prevent Kidney Stones

Six Ways To Prevent Kidney Stones

If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you already know how excruciating the process of passing one can be. And you’re not alone in the agony. Half a million Americans are affected by kidney stones every year. The good news is that there are ways to prevent stones from forming. A kidney stone is like a small rock that takes shape in the kidney.  Stones form when certain chemicals in the body clump together.  One can either stay in the kidney or travel through your urinary tract. If it’s in your urinary tract, very small ones might pass through without causing much pain.  Larger stones can block the flow of urine if they get stuck in the ureters or urethra -- and it’s agony.  Kidney stones do not usually cause any symptoms until they start to pass.  Some symptoms might include extreme pain in your back or side that won’t go away, throwing up, blood in your urine, fever and chills.  Even though some people are genetically prone to forming kidney stones,  there are ways to prevent the formation of stones from happening:  1. Reduce the consumption of meat. People who eat meat at most meals are more likely to develop a stone thanks to the high concentration of protein. 

2. Drink lots of liquids. Studies have shown the more liquids, preferably water, that you drink the less likely you are to develop a stone. Twelve eight-ounce glasses of water a day is ideal. If you can’t make that quota, drink as much as you can.

3. Skip grapefruit drinks and cola. It’s an odd combination, but studies show that both these drinks increase the risk of developing stones. 

4. Opt for a diet rich in minerals: Specifically, potassium and magnesium, which decrease the likelihood that you’ll form a stone. Potassium-rich foods include fruits like cantaloupe and banana, as well as fresh vegetables like potatoes and peas. Dietary sources of magnesium include almonds and oat bran. 

5. Consider particular supplements. Discuss taking a combination of pyridoxine and magnesium with your doctor. Research shows that taken together these supplements reduce oxalate, a mineral salt found in kidney stones.

6. Lower your calcium and salt intake. Both of these have been shown to contribute to the formation of kidney stones. 

Robin Westen is ThirdAge’s medical reporter. Check for her daily updates.

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