Risk Factors For Kidney Stones
“Kidney stones” is a term that covers different types of small, solid crystals. They can have different causes and different food culprits. Some are related to kidney infections. Others form because you have too much of certain minerals in your system.
Genes can play a role, too. Forty percent of the people who get kidney stones have relatives who have them, too. Their bodies may get rid of too much calcium or too little citrate in their pee, for instance.
Other conditions that make kidney stones more likely include:
- Obesity. When youâre overweight, you tend to get them more often. The same is true if you have diabetes.
- Gout. This painful condition happens when uric acid builds up in your blood. That makes crystals form in your joints or kidneys.
- Intestinal surgery. If youâve had certain types of gastric bypass surgery or other intestinal surgery, your risk may go up.
- Hyperthyroidism. It can raise calcium levels in your blood and trigger kidney stones.
- Certain kidney diseases. One example is polycystic kidney disease, in which clusters of cysts grow in your kidneys. Another is medullary sponge kidney, a birth defect that causes cysts to form in the organâs tubes.
Middle-aged men are most likely to get kidney stones, though it can happen to people of any age or sex.
Taking Supplements In High Doses May Lead To Kidney Stones
Excess vitamin C is excreted from the body as oxalate, a bodily waste product.
Oxalate typically exits the body via urine. However, under some circumstances, oxalate may bind to minerals and form crystals that can lead to the formation of kidney stones .
Consuming too much vitamin C has the potential to increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, thus increasing the risk of developing kidney stones .
In one study that had adults take a 1,000-mg vitamin C supplement twice daily for 6 days, the amount of oxalate they excreted increased by 20% .
High vitamin C intake is not only associated with greater amounts of urinary oxalate but also linked to the development of kidney stones, especially if you consume amounts greater than 2,000 mg (
Consuming too much vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your kidneys, which has the potential to lead to kidney stones.
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How To Lower Your Risk Of Kidney Stones Through Your Diet
Kidney stones are often described as one of the most painful experiences. Fortunately, some dietary changes can help prevent them from forming. There are several types of kidney stones. The most common, and the one we will discuss here, is the calcium oxalate stone. Calcium is a mineral found in many foods, such as dairy products and leafy greens, that our bodies use for bone and teeth health. Calcium is also used by our bodies to regulate our heart rhythm, help our nervous system send messages to the rest of our body, and even play a role in forming blood clots. Oxalate is a naturally occurring compound primarily found in plants like spinach and legumes. Kidney stones form when calcium and oxalate clump together in your kidneys. Under the right conditions, such as dehydration or highly acidic environments, calcium and oxalate can clump together at a higher rate and increase the risk of stone formation. Here are some recommendations to aid in preventing calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Max Jentzsch, Josh Hughes
Max Jentzsch, Josh Hughes
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How To Get Rid Of Kidney Stones
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017.There are 27 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 18 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,709,439 times.
Kidney stones, also known as renal lithiasis or calculi, occur when small mineral crystals form in the kidney. Kidney stones are painful, but you may be able to treat them yourself. However if the pain persists, make sure to see your doctor
Vitamin C Does Not Cause Kidney Stones
It is strange how some medical authors seem desperate to show that vitamin C causes harm. One recurrent scare story is that vitamin C might cause kidney stones. However, although such warnings pop up regularly, these reports do not demonstrate an increase in the number or size of stones instead, they rely on vague indicators of improbable risk.
The authors of such uncritical papers have probably not read the literature, for this is an old story. Decades ago, the idea that vitamin C causes kidney stones formed part of the medical attack on Linus Pauling. While it was initially a reasonable hypothesis, unexpected kidney stones are not found in people taking large amounts of vitamin C.
There is no evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones. Indeed, in some cases, high doses may be curative. A recent, large-scale, prospective study followed 85,557 women for 14 years and found no evidence that vitamin C causes kidney stones. There was no difference in the occurrence of stones between people taking less than 250 milligrams per day and those taking 1.5 grams or more. This study was a follow up of an earlier study on 45,251 men. This earlier study indicated that doses of vitamin C above 1.5 grams reduce the risk of kidney stones. The authors of these large studies stated that restriction of higher doses of vitamin C because of the possibility of kidney stones is unwarranted.
However, the number or size of kidney stones did not increase.
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Add More Citric Acid In Your Meal:
- Avoids stone formation: It can tie with calcium in the body, in this way diminishing the danger of new stone development.
- Lessen the stone accumulation: It draws with existing calcium oxalate stones, keeping them from getting bigger. It can enable to pass the stones by preventing them fromtransforming into bigger stones.
How Will I Know If I Have A Kidney Stone
To find out the size and type of kidney stone you have, your doctor may do tests, including:
- Blood tests to show if there is too much calcium or uric acid in your blood
- Urine tests to show the type of wastes that are in your urine. For this test, your doctor may ask you to collect your urine over two days.
- Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, CT scan or X-ray, to show kidney stones in your urinary tract
If you get kidney stones often, your doctor may ask you to urinate through a strainer to catch stones that you pass. Your doctor will then find out what they are made of to decide what is causing your kidney stones and how to prevent them.
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Beware Of Vitamin Supplements
While taking a vitamin supplement may sound harmless, it may increase your risk of kidney stones. Certain vitamin supplements can lead to kidney stones when taken for an extended period. Vitamin C supplements, for example, have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. If you have a vitamin deficiency, try to get more of the vitamin from food sources rather than a supplement.
Eat The Recommended Amount Of Calcium
If you take calcium supplements, tell your doctor. Make sure you are not getting too much calcium. On the other hand make sure you aren’t getting too little calcium either. Talk with your doctor or dietitian about whether you need supplements. Good sources of calcium to choose from often are those low in salt. Eating calcium-rich foods or beverages with meals every day is a good habit. There are many non-dairy sources of calcium, such as calcium-fortified non-dairy milks. There are good choices, especially if you avoid dairy.
You can usually get enough calcium from your diet without supplements if you eat three-to-four servings of calcium-rich food. Many foods and beverages have calcium in them. Some foods and beverages that might be easy to include on a daily basis with meals are:
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Managing Underlying Medical Problems Discourages Kidney Stones Too
Some medical conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, can raise your risk for kidney stones.
Endocrinologic diseases such as hyperparathyroidism, or an overactive thyroid , can increase the levels of calcium in the urine, contributing to kidney stones. In addition, gout, an arthritic condition, can raise uric acid levels in the body, which in turn can cause uric acid stones. Adequately treating such diseases and managing these chronic problems can help prevent kidney stones from developing.
How Vitamin C May Actually Reduce Your Risk Of Kidney Stones
The vitamin C experts believe that vitamin C may actually reduce the risk of kidney stonesâ¦ and could help prevent other types of stones:
- Uric acid stonesâ formed in the gout
- Cystine stonesâ formed in children with hereditary conditions
- Calcium phosphate stones
- Struvite stonesâ formed in infected urine
Here are the reasons why vitamin C may actually reduce the risk of stones formation:
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Limiting Foods With Calcium Oxalate
Kidney stones can consist of many different compounds, including uric acid, struvite, and cysteine. The most common type of kidney stone involves calcium oxalate.
One 2014 study examined nearly 44,000 kidney stones and found that 67% were composed predominately of calcium oxalate.
Doctors usually only recommend restricting oxalate intake to those at a high risk of kidney stones or those with high oxalate levels.
Consuming calcium alongside oxalate-rich foods may reduce the risk of kidney stones by binding the chemicals together before they reach the kidneys.
Foods that contain high levels of oxalate include:
- grapefruit and cranberry juice
- some nuts, including cashews and peanuts
What Are The Symptoms
Kidney stone sufferers may tell you that trying to pass a kidney stone is the worst pain they have ever experienced in their lifetime . Some of the most common signs and symptoms of kidney stones include the following:
- Sudden, severe pain that waxes and wanes in intensity. Common areas afflicted include the back, groin, abdomen, side, and genitals.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the urine or abnormal urine colors
- Frequent and painful urination
Though kidney stones are not normally life-threatening situations, they are typically not a pleasant experience. And its not unusual to suffer from so much pain that you make your way to the emergency room to find out what is going on.
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How Do Kidney Stones Form
Our kidneys are tasked with the responsibility of filtering toxins, waste, and excess fluid from the blood to form urine.
When the kidneys contain an excess of certain types of chemicals, such as uric acid, phosphorous, calcium, and oxalic acid, and not enough fluid to dilute them, these minerals and waste substances get concentrated enough to form crystals.
Your kidneys may simultaneously run low on certain substances that prevent these crystals from sticking together.
As a result, these clumps of waste material gradually grow in size to acquire the form of kidney stones.
The smaller stones are usually excreted without any medical intervention, rarely presenting any noticeable pain or symptoms. The larger ones, however, can get jammed in the narrow ureter and obstruct the natural flow of urine.
Given that your urinary tract is custom made for the passage of liquid matter, the expulsion of these solid rock-like masses can be mind-numbingly painful.
Tips To Avoid Kidney Stones
- Drink plenty of fluid, especially water. This is the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of getting another kidney stone. Aim for at least 2 ½ liters to 3 liters of fluid each day. People with cystine stones may want to aim for 4 liters .
- It may be helpful to limit animal protein, including meat, fish, seafood, poultry, and eggs.
- Eat calcium-rich foods instead of taking supplements.
- If you want to take a vitamin C supplement, make sure you take less than 1000 milligrams per day. High amounts of vitamin C may increase your risk of stones.
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What Is A Kidney Stone
A kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemicals in the urine. There are four types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine. A kidney stone may be treated with shockwave lithotripsy, uteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithomy or nephrolithotripsy. Common symptoms include severe pain in lower back, blood in your urine, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills, or urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.
Urine has various wastes dissolved in it. When there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join together to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. Usually, these chemicals are eliminated in the urine by the body’s master chemist: the kidney. In most people, having enough liquid washes them out or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming. The stone-forming chemicals are calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate.
After it is formed, the stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract into the ureter. Sometimes, tiny stones move out of the body in the urine without causing too much pain. But stones that don’t move may cause a back-up of urine in the kidney, ureter, the bladder, or the urethra. This is what causes the pain.
Six Steps To Control Oxalate For Kidney Stones
The following six steps can be taken to reduce the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones:
1. Eat fewer high-oxalate foods.
The first suggestion is the most obvious. The more oxalate that is absorbed from your digestive tract, the more oxalate in your urine. High-oxalate foods to limit, if you eat them, are:
- French fries
- Nuts and nut butters
You do not need to cut out other healthy foods that provide some oxalate. In fact, oxalate is practically unavoidable, because most plant foods have some. Often a combination of calcium from foods or beverages with meals and fewer high-oxalate foods is required.
2. Increase the amount of calcium in your diet.
Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Many people are afraid to eat calcium because of the name “calcium oxalate stones.” However, calcium binds oxalate in the intestines. A diet rich in calcium helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form. Eat calcium rich foods and beverages every day from dairy foods or other calcium-rich foods.
Also, eating high calcium foods at the same time as high oxalate food is helpful for example have low fat cheese with a spinach salad or yogurt with berries. If you take a calcium supplement, calcium citrate is the preferred form.
3. Limit the vitamin C content of your diet.
4. Drink the right amount of fluids every day.
5. Eat the right amount of protein daily.
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Foods To Prevent Kidney Stones
Certain foods can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Eating in moderation while maintaining a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables is encouraged. It is important to be mindful of the following foods that can lead to the formation of kidney stones in certain people: foods high in sodium, cola beverages, fast foods, processed meats, certain supplements, black tea, chocolate, spinach, soy milk, almonds, cashews, soy beans.
The good news is there are many items you can include in your regular diet to help prevent stones from occurring.
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Eat Fewer Foods With A High Oxalate Content
Calcium oxalate stones, the most common type of kidney stone, form when calcium and oxalate combine in the urine. If you have been diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones, your doctor may recommend that you limit your intake of foods that contain higher amounts of oxalate, such as beets, black pepper, black tea, chocolate, nuts, potatoes, rhubarb, soy products, and spinach. A more complete list can be provided by our doctors and nurses.
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