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Does Dehydration Cause Kidney Stones

How Can I Stay Hydrated

Dehydration and Kidney Stones

According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups of water for men and 11.5 cups a day for women, more for those who work out regularly.

Whether you start the day with a long drink of water or end it with drinking water its a good idea to make drinking water a habit.

Drinking water with every meal can help you establish this habit and is another good way to stay hydrated.

Many water bottles come with measurements on the side. Challenge yourself to drink the minimum amount of water recommended by doctors.

If water isnt your normal go-to drink of choice, try adding a lemon slice or fresh fruit to make it more palatable.

If youre feeling hungry, try drinking 8 oz of water. Thirst is frequently mistaken for hunger. Plus, drinking water can help you feel full if youre trying to lose weight.

Who Is At Risk From Dehydration

Anyone can become dehydrated, but certain groups are particularly at risk. These include:

  • babies and infants they have a low body weight and are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss
  • older people they may be less aware that they are becoming dehydrated and need to keep drinking fluids
  • people with a long-term health condition such as diabetes or alcoholism
  • athletes they can lose a large amount of body fluid through sweat when exercising for long periods

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Can Dehydration Cause Kidney Pain

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What About Dehydration In Children

Millions of children die worldwide each year because of dehydration, often because of diarrhea. The temperature regulation and sweat mechanism of infants are not well developed, and this increases their risk of heat-related illness.

It is important to remember that infants and children are dependent upon others to provide them with water and nutrition. Infants cannot tell their parents or care providers when they are thirsty. Enough fluid needs to be provided so that the dehydration can be prevented. This is especially true if increased water loss occurs because of fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

In children, symptoms of dehydration increase as the level of dehydration increases.

Level of dehydration Estimated fluid loss Signs and Symptoms in Children Chart

Level of dehydration
Mild to moderate < 10% of body weight Fussy, tired, irritable child. Dry mucous membranes , increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, decreased urine output, increased thirst
Severe 10% of body weight or more Listless, lethargic, unconscious. Too weak to cry. Sunken eyes, sunken fontanelle . Increased heart rate, weak pulses, and rapid shallow breathing. Cool, mottled skin. No urine output . Too weak to suckle or drink fluids. Loss of muscle tone with the child appearing floppy.

In markedly dehydrated children, blood tests may be used to monitor electrolytes, kidney function, and acid-base balance in the body.

Are You Dehydrated 6 Signs You May Need To Drink Up


When it comes to water intake, youve probably heard that every day, you should consume:

  • Six to eight glasses
  • Half your body weight in ounces
  • At least two liters

These rules of thumb arent bad or wrong, but they are just that: guidelines. There is no set amount for every single body. What keeps you hydrated may not be enough for me.

So how can you tell if youre adequately hydrated or need to up the ounces? Listen to your body.

What Dehydration Looks and Feels Like

Proper hydration is essential for your body to function best. Fluids help preserve and provide nutrients to the brain, kidney, liver and heart.

While adequate hydration comes with no signs or symptoms, you can likely assume youre hydrated if things are functioning properly and you feel well on a consistent basis.

If youre not properly hydrated, however, your body will let you know.

Here are some signs and symptoms of dehydration:


When our bodies are dehydrated, they experience a decrease in blood volume. And when our brains arent getting enough blood flow, headaches can occur.

Dehydration headaches can be mild or severe. They can be felt in one specific area of the head or all over, and they usually get worse with movement. Some migraine sufferers even report dehydration as a trigger for their attacks.

Muscle Cramps and Aches

Cramping isnt just an athletes problem, but exercise can contribute to dehydration, which is a common cause of muscle cramps.

Dry Mouth and Bad Breath

Lack of Urine Output

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Alcohols Effect On The Kidneys

Kidneys are part of the urinary tract system. These bean-shaped organs are about the size of the human fist and are found below the rib cage and under the liver in the back of the abdomen area. Their main function is to filter out extra waste, harmful waste, and toxins from the blood. These toxins include alcohol.

After they filter the blood for these things, they transfer them to the urine so they can exit the body. Kidneys also ensure the body maintains a healthy balance of sodium, potassium, and calcium in the body.

How Do Uric Acid Stones Form

If you have high levels of uric acid, then crystals start to form. These uric acid crystals combine with other substances in your body and create a solid mass. The mass keeps growing. It may stay in the kidney or move down the urinary tract and settle in the ureter.

If the stones are very small, they may pass out of your body in your urine without too much pain. But if they dont pass, they cause urine to back up in the kidney, ureter, bladder or urethra. Thats when you get pain and other symptoms.

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Risk Factor For Disease

Chronic dehydration is thought to be a risk factor for:

  • chronic renal failure
  • diabetic nephropathy, a renal complication in diabetes mellitus
  • hypertension, a sodium-sensitive condition

A study in 2006 found that patients with long-term intravenous nutrition or chronic intestinal failure have impaired renal function due to chronic dehydration. Consistent mild dehydration is also a risk factor for kidney stones, urinary tract cancer, colon cancer, and mitral valve prolapse when it is accompanied by poor fluid intake according to the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.

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What Causes Kidney Stones

Dehydration May Be Cause of Increase In Kids With Kidney Stones

Stones form as a result of increased non-soluble substances in the urine. The most common type of kidney stone is calcium oxalate but other types include magnesium-ammonium-phosphate and uric acid stones.

Although other risk factors include hyperparathyroidism , bacteria and medications, the biggest risk factor for stone formation is dehydration, which results in decreased urine output, which in turn leads to an elevated concentration of crystals in the urine. The crystals bind together to form stones.

Studies have found a higher incidence of kidney stones in the stone belt in the southern part of the country. It is believed that warmer weather and corresponding dehydration contribute to this higher incidence. Thats why it is important to stay well hydrated, especially when outside.

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Can Kidney Infections Be Prevented

You can reduce your chances of developing a kidney infection by keeping your bladder and urethra free from bacteria. This can include drinking plenty of fluids, keeping your genitals clean and treating any constipation.

The symptoms of a kidney infection usually develop quite quickly over a few hours or days.

Common symptoms include:

  • pain and discomfort in your side, lower back or around your genitals
  • high temperature

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What Should You Not Drink To Avoid Kidney Stones

Keep cola drinks away from children. Coca-cola is high in phosphate, a chemical that can also cause kidney stones to form. A sugar or syrup that is added to processed foods and drinks is considered an added sugar. If you consume added sucrose and added fructose, your risk of kidney stones will go up.

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Are You On Dialysis

If youre on dialysis your daily fluid allowance is likely to be very restricted. Taking in too much fluid can cause problems ranging from weight gain and swelling to fluid in the lungs and heart problems.

It can help to stick to pure water and avoid caffeinated, sweetened and alcoholic drinks which require even more fluid to allow the body to properly process the toxins and chemicals they contain. Other tips can include chewing ice or enjoying frozen fruits and limiting your salt intake.

Do ask your healthcare team if its possible to adjust your dialysis solutions if you feel dehydrated during dialysis itself.

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Investigating The Underlying Cause

Kidney Pain From Dehydration

Urine can be tested for protein, blood cells, sugar and waste products, which may give clues to the underlying cause.

Doctors also need to know about:

An ultrasound scan should reveal if the cause is a blockage in the urinary system, such as an enlarged prostate or bladder tumour.

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The Dangers Of Dehydration

Here in the South, July and August are two of the most sweltering months and it is important to take care of our bodies during times of extreme heat. One of the most common summertime dangers is dehydration. It is essential to remember that dehydration is dangerous not only to people, but pets and animals as well.

A common mistake many people make is grabbing an ice-cold soda or energy boosting drink instead of water, but these beverages can actually cause you to become even more dehydrated. Listed below are ten dangers of dehydration that you should be aware of for yourself, loved ones, and pets:

1. Muscle Cramps– You dont have to be an athlete to get muscle cramps. Those who are minimally active and drink insufficient fluids are equally prone to cramps. Dehydration causes hypersensitivity and involuntary contraction of muscles.

2. Depression– The brain requires 85% water – more than any other organ in the body. Water deficiency in brain cells can result in an immediate cut down of the brains energy supply, which leads to fatigue, lethargy, and depression.

3. Constipation– After food is eaten, it is broken down in the small intestine and the non-essential portion of the food gets converted to waste. Dehydration causes the intestinal cells to extract water from the food waste in the intestines, causing the waste to become hard, leading to constipation.

What Are The Benefits Ofstaying Hydrated

While its obviously wise to stay hydrated for the functionof your spine, there are so many other benefits to drinking enough water.

Healthy Skin

Your skin soaks up water from the inside like a sponge, andof course, its the bodys largest organ. When you stay hydrated, you see theresults almost right away, in plumper, rosier skin that heals from woundsfaster and protects the body better from cold.

Boosted Energy

Because all the cells in your entire body rely on water,when youre hydrated, its like an engine thats just been tuned up with allthe right fluids. Often, when we feel fatigued and think about eating somethingsugary, what we really need is water. Try drinking a glass of water firstbefore indulging in that sweet and you may find most of the time you dont evenwant it once youre not thirsty.

Better SportsPerformance

As well as fueling all the cells for your muscles,connective tissue, and nerves, water helps your body produce natural synovialfluid, a lubricant for your joints. Without adequate hydration, you may find yourjoints creak and your body feels years older than it actually is. Dont forgettoo that your blood is largely water, so to keep your cardiovascular systempumping, water is essential.

Fewer Toxins

In order to flush toxins from your body, your liver, kidneys,and the skin need water. When you stay hydrated, you help your body removewaste more efficiently so it doesnt accumulate or remain in the bloodstream.

Weight Control

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How Is Kidney Failure Treated

Kidney failure treatment is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treating your chronic medical condition can delay the progression of kidney disease. If your kidneys start losing their function gradually, your doctor may use one or more methods to track your health. By watching you closely, your doctor can help you maintain your kidneys function as long as possible.

Your doctor may gauge your kidney function with:

  • Routine blood tests
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Medication

Because the kidneys serve such an important purpose, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are:

  • Dialysis: This treatment helps the body filter the blood .
  • In hemodialysis, a machine regularly cleans your blood for you. People often receive this kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3 or 4 days each week.
  • Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood in a slightly different way using a dialysis solution and a catheter. Sometimes, people can do their treatment at home.
  • Kidney transplant: In kidney transplant surgery, doctors place a healthy kidney in your body to take over the job of your damaged organs. This healthy kidney, called a donor organ, may come from a deceased donor or a living donor, who may be a friend or family member. People can live well with one healthy kidney.
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    STOP Dehydration and Kidney Stones! How Much Water You Need to Drink & How to Make it Tasty!

    If eaten in excess, the protein found in meats, fish, and eggs can break down into uric acid in the urine, causing stones to form. Animal protein can also lead to the development of calcium stones by increasing your excretion of calcium and reducing your excretion of citrate, a substance that typically prevents kidney stones.

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    What About Other Alcohol

    Kidney stones are not the only conditions one can experience after drinking alcohol. Others include:

    • Kidney infection: If you are drinking and have a urinary tract infection, the alcohol may aggravate your symptoms. You should up your water intake and see a doctor for care.
    • Hydronephrosis: This condition is when one or both of your kidneys are swollen because they have too much urine. If they accumulate too much urine, it means urine isnt draining properly from the kidney to the bladder. If you have kidney stones, you could develop hydronephrosis. This is another reason to see a doctor as soon as possible.
    • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction: You could have kidney pain if you drink alcohol and have UPJ, which prevents the kidneys and bladder from working properly. If the condition does not improve on its own, a medical procedure could be the next step to take.

    Calcium Oxalate And Calcium Phosphate Stones

    Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones, and can be either calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. As mentioned, good hydration is important to prevent calcium stones. It may be surprising, but results of a randomized clinical trial show that people with calcium kidney stones should not cut back on dietary calcium. In fact, they should consume the recommended daily allowance of calcium . Why? Calcium binds to oxalate in the intestine and prevents its absorption through the gut, so there is less in the urine to form stones. Ideally, calcium should come from food. Talk with your doctor before taking calcium supplements, and increasing fluid intake might be beneficial depending on how much calcium you take.

    Foods high in oxalates can increase the amount of oxalate in the urine. Consume these in moderation.

    Calcium phosphate stones are less common than calcium oxalate stones. Causes include hyperparathyroidism , renal tubular acidosis , and urinary tract infections. It is important to understand if one of these conditions is behind the formation of calcium phosphate stones.

    Good hydration can help prevent recurrence of calcium stones. In addition, thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide can help the kidney absorb more calcium, leaving less of it in the urine where it can form stones. Potassium citrate is another medication that can bind to calcium and help keep calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate in the urine from forming into stones.

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    Who Is At Risk For Kidney Stones

    Anyone may develop a kidney stone, but people with certain diseases and conditions or those who are taking certain medications are more susceptible to their development. Urinary tract stones are more common in men than in women. Most urinary stones develop in people 20 to 49 years of age, and those who are prone to multiple attacks of kidney stones usually develop their first stones during the second or third decade of life. People who have already had more than one kidney stone are prone to developing further stones.

    In residents of industrialized countries, kidney stones are more common than stones in the bladder. The opposite is true for residents of developing areas of the world, where bladder stones are the most common. This difference is believed to be related to dietary factors. People who live in the southern or southwestern regions of the U.S. have a higher rate of kidney stone formation, possibly due to inadequate water intake leading to dehydration than those living in other areas. Over the last few decades, the percentage of people with kidney stones in the U.S. has been increasing, most likely related to the obesity epidemic.

    A family history of kidney stones is also a risk factor for developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are more common in Asians and Caucasians than in Native Americans, Africans, or African Americans.

    Uric acid kidney stones are more common in people with chronically elevated uric acid levels in their blood .


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