Hello everyone. It’s me again. I am so happy to be back. I have been away due to a number of reasons. The biggest being a kidney stone, which I am pretty sure is a fate worse than death (never been dead and don’t know for sure). But here I am, two months, two trips to the emergency room, three doctor visits, a few thousand Percocets (grossly exaggerated as a literary device) and one minor surgery later. I haven’t been able to go without researching where the little stony creatures come from and how exactly to avoid them in the future. And while there are some people in this world that I may not care for, there are none that I hate enough to wish upon them a kidney stone (and I’m not just saying that). So here it is, the definitive guide to avoiding a kidney stone for you and my enemies.
Before you can understand exactly how to avoid kidney stones, you have to know what a kidney stone is. As defined by The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine within the urinary tract. They are considered to be one of the most painful urological disorders and amazingly but not surprisingly has been plaguing humanity for thousands of years, being found in an ancient Egyptian mummy.
Normally, urine contains chemicals that prevent or inhibit the crystals from forming. These inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone, however, so some people form stones. If the crystals remain tiny enough, they will travel through the urinary tract and pass out of the body in the urine without being noticed. But there are times when these stones do not pass on their own and they continue to build. When this happens it sometimes requires doctor intervention which unlike days of yore is not very invasive and is generally done on an outpatient basis.
A less common type of stone is caused by infection in the urinary tract. This type of stone is called a struvite or infection stone. Another type of stone, uric acid stones, are a bit less common, and cystine stones are rare.
Any of this sound like fun? Ok, let’s examine how to help keep from having to go though this terrible experience. Keep in mind that these are just some tips are are not designed to be medical advice. You need to discuss your options including your diet and lifestyle with your doctor.
Tip #1 To Avoid Kidney Stones, drink water.
Things you can do to avoid kidney stones include drinking water. Your body needs enough fluid to remove waste from your body. If your body doesn’t have enough water you will start to collect pieces of waste in your kidneys and this turns into kidney stones. You should drink enough fluids to make 2 liters or urine per day. Doctors have recommended drinking 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day or adding at least four 8 ounce glasses of water to whatever you are already drinking. Coffee and soda do not count, you need water to remove the impurities from your system.
Tip #2 To Avoid Kidney Stones, increase fiber and decrease protein in your diet.
Eating a diet high fiber and low in protein helps to avoid kidney stones. People with diets high in protein and low in fiber run an increased risk of kidney stones. Uric acid stones are produced if your diet is too rich in protein. You shouldn’t eat more than two servings of meat a day if your body forms kidney stones. A serving should be no more than six to eight ounces. Uric acid type kidney stones are produced when there is too much acid in the urine. Uric acid type kidney stones also can be formed if you are on chemotherapy. When your body decomposes red meats a substance is produced that ends up in your urine.
Tip #3 To Avoid Kidney Stones, decrease the amount of calcium in your diet.
Decreasing the amounts of Calcium you are eating can also help avoid kidney stones. For most people one to two servings of dairy products are okay, even if their body produces calcium based kidney stones.
Tip #4 To Avoid Kidney Stones, decrease sodium intake.
Decreasing your sodium intake also reduces your risk of kidney stones. You should limit your intake of sodium to below 1,500mg daily. Limiting your sodium intake means not only not adding salt to your foods. Limiting sodium from your diet means you read labels and do not eat foods high in sodium. Just because you don’t add salt to everything doesn’t mean that you don’t have a lot of sodium in your diet.
Tip #5 To Avoid Kidney Stones, be active.
Being active will also help to avoid stones. People who are bedridden have an increased risk of kidney stones. Being physically active is good for your overall health. If you are unable to regularly exercise you should still get up and move around on a regular basis. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle you are at risk for kidney stones.
Tip #6 To Avoid Kidney Stones, avoid cranberries.
I know, you are told if you have bladder infections cranberries are the cure-all. If you produce kidney stones cranberries can actually cause you more trouble. Avoiding cranberries and avoiding eating large quantities of tree nuts can help you to avoid kidney stones.
Tip #7 To Avoid Kidney Stones, increase citric acid/vitamin C in your diet.
Increasing the amount of citrus you eat helps your body to dissolve kidney stones. You can do this in many ways, one of the easiest is to add a small amount of lemon to your water that you are drinking. You can also add fresh citrus fruits to your diet along with adding bell peppers and canned mandarin oranges. Fruit juice also helps, just remember if you are trying to avoid kidney stones you probably don’t want the calcium fortified juices.
Tip #8 To Avoid Kidney Stones, listen to your body.
The best tip I can give you is to listen to your body. If you end up feeling sicker after certain foods you should probably avoid them. If you find that drinking a certain amount of fluids is best for you go with it. You can tell when your body is feeling its best.
Most importantly, follow your doctor’s advice. Ask questions. And trust your own judgment (unless you have been proven to not know what you are doing, in that case trust your doctor).
Want to know more? Here are some links you can follow for all the latest:
The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse