Four Myths About Kidney Stones
If you’ve ever had a run-in with kidney stones, then you’ve also had a run-in with a relative/neighbor/obnoxious over-sharer who has the home remedy that fixed them right up.
And while unsolicited after-dinner medical advice may sometimes sound reasonable, there’s a lot you need to know about your own kidney stones before you start adjusting your diet based on Aunt Alice’s latest stone story.
“You don’t want calcium because that’s what stones are made of, so ditch the milk.””Oxalates are bad, so stop eating foods like chocolate, beer, soy, nuts, spinach and coffee.””And if you feel a stone coming on, start drinking lots of cranberry juice to get rid of it.”
You’ve probably gathered lots of advice and home remedies in your battle against kidney stones . But many of grandma’s homemade fixes may actually do more harm than good when it comes to the specific composition of your kidney stones and the reasons why you are forming them.
What are kidney stones? They’re crystal-like formations of the excess minerals in your urine. This simple answer leads to simplified and problematic responses. The logic: Identify what you’re consuming, and reduce whatever the stone is made of.
Drinks For Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are solid masses of crystal. They can be incredibly painful and somewhat frightening. Staying hydrated is a crucial way to stop kidney stones or even treat them once they happen. Still, drinks for kidney stones arent all created equal.
You need to choose carefully, as some drinks will even make matters worse. For example, cola and coffee can be a problem as they may dehydrate you, which increases your risk of kidney stones.
Similarly, keep an eye on drinks that are high in fat, like smoothies, Bulletproof coffee, and many drinks from Starbucks. Sticking to a low fat diet is often recommended as a way to decrease the risk of calcium stones, so high fat drinks could be a bad decision.
The drinks featured in this list, on the other hand, can help to keep you hydrated and healthy. Some decrease the risk of kidney stones in other ways too.
- Herbal Teas
Preventing Future Kidney Stones
Having one kidney stone means you might develop kidney stones in the future. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent kidney stones from forming:
- Drink about 2-1/2 liters of water per day unless a doctor advises otherwise. How much water each person needs may vary.
- Maintain a low-salt diet.
- Limit animal protein to 6 to 8 ounces a day.
- Lower sugar consumption.
- Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.
- If you take a vitamin C supplement, make sure its less than 1,000 milligrams per day.
If you have a history of kidney stones, a dietician can review your eating habits and provide specific dietary tips that can help lower risks of kidney stones.
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Kidney Stones Diet: Foods To Eat & Foods To Avoid If You Have Kidney Stones
Some of the foods that an individual can eat with kidney stones are:
Fluids: Consume as much water as you can as this is the source through which kidney stones are eliminated from the body
Calcium Rich Foods: It is recommended that an individual with kidney stones eat a calcium rich diet to include plenty of milk, cheese, yogurt, and tofu. Increased consumption of fruits like lemons and oranges also helps.
Low Fat Diet: it is also recommended that an individual with kidney stone resort to a low fat diet like oatmeal, vegetable soup, salads, and brown rice as these help in preventing stone formation.
Some of the foods to avoid with kidney stones are:
Nuts: Nuts and its products are a big no when it comes to diet for kidney, especially peanuts as they are high in oxalates which promote stone formation
Spinach: Avoid eating spinach as it also promotes worsening of stone formation.
Meats: Avoid meats in any form like chicken, beef, mutton, and fish as it may lead to worsening of the Kidney Stones.
Tomatoes:Tomatoes need to be avoided in any form whether raw or pureed when dealing with kidney stones.
Restrict Salt Intake: An individual with kidney stones need to restrict the amount of salt as it leads to fluid retention which can worsen kidney stones. A visit with a nutritionist may be helpful in determining how much salt should be taken in a day for individuals with kidney stones.
Various Studies Suggest That One In Every 10 People Will Have A Kidney Stone At Some Point In Their Lives Diet Plays A Crucial Role
- Amishaa Gupta
Various studies suggest that one in every 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives. One major factor leading to the formation of a kidney stone is lack of water in the body. People who consume less than the recommended amount of water are known to develop kidney stones at a much higher rate. A research conducted on 666 patients tells that “480 patients did not drink required water daily.” . Lack of water in the body does not allow uric acid and certain minerals to get diluted thereby creating a conducive environment for the formation of kidney stones.
The two most common types of kidney stones are calcium oxalate and uric acid kidney stones. It is crucial to follow a good and healthy diet to accelerate the treatment process water being of major significance for both types. A person with kidney stones is recommended to drink 3 quarts of water daily. The dos and don’ts in terms of foods vary according to these different types:
Foods to Prevent Calcium Oxalate
For a person suffering from calcium-oxalate kidney stones, here are some pointers that should be kept in mind while planning your diet –
Bangalore-based Nutritionist, Dr. Anju Sood recommends, “A normal healthy meal just as it would be for any other person three proper meals in a day and three small meals in between throughout the entire day for a person with kidney stones. The diet should include milk and milk products in moderation and should not be completely cut off.”
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There Are Multiple Ways To Help Pass Kidney Stones
While there isnt a medication that can magically make the kidney stone come out of your body, your doctor may prescribe an alpha blocker to help with the pain. Alpha blockers help relax your urinary tract muscles and allow you to pass the stone without too much pain.
However, there are other natural remedies you can try while attempting to pass a kidney stone. Try to:
Guidelines Based On The Type Of Kidney Stone You Have
If you have had a kidney stone, understanding what type of kidney stone you had, along with making changes to the way you eat, can help you prevent a recurrence.
As stated above, most kidney stones are made up of salt and uric acid. Studies have shown that the DASH diet, an acronym for the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, can reduce the risk of kidney stones. The DASH diet is an eating plan consisting of a balance of fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, while limiting the consumption of saturated fat and sugar. You can find out more about the DASH diet here. Studies have also shown that being overweight makes a person more likely to develop kidney stones, so losing weight may help.
1% of kidney stones are called cystine kidney stones. These occur in people who have an inherited genetic disorder called cystinuria, which results in an excess of an amino acid called cystine in the urine, leading to cystine stones. People with cystinuria must drink large quantities of water to flush the cystine from their urine as effectively as possible.
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What To Eat To Prevent Kidney Stones
Passing a kidney stone is excruciating! Here are some tips to reduce the chances that youll ever have to endure that pain or relive past misery
As anyone who has ever had one can attest, passing a kidney stone is something youre not likely to forget … or remember fondly. Although dietary measures are not 100% effective in preventing stones, they can definitely reduce your risk.
Let Kidney Stones Pass
Stones typically take several weeks to a few months to pass, depending on the number of stones and their size. Over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen , acetaminophen , or naproxen , can help you endure the discomfort until the stones pass. Your doctor also may prescribe an alpha blocker, which relaxes the muscles in your ureter and helps pass stones quicker and with less pain.
If the pain becomes too severe, or if they are too large to pass, they can be surgically removed with a procedure called a ureteroscopy. Here, a small endoscope is passed into the bladder and up the ureter while you are under general anesthesia. A laser breaks up the stones, and then the fragments are removed.
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S For Preventing Kidney Stones
If youve ever had a kidney stone, you surely remember it. The pain can be unbearable, coming in waves until the tiny stone passes through your urinary plumbing and out of the body. For many, kidney stones arent a one-time thing: in about half of people who have had one, another appears within seven years without preventive measures.
Preventing kidney stones isnt complicated, but it does take some determination.
Kidney stones form when certain chemicals become concentrated enough in the urine to form crystals. The crystals grow into larger masses , which can make their way through the urinary tract. If the stone gets stuck somewhere and blocks the flow of urine, it causes pain.
Most stones occur when calcium combines with oxalate. Stones can also form from uric acid, which is a byproduct of protein metabolism.
How To Prevent Kidney Stones
When there is too much calcium, oxalate, or phosphorous in the urine, they can combine and crystallize to form calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate kidney stones. Even too much uric acid in urine can settle to form uric acid stones. Your diet can greatly influence the urinary levels of these substances and is well within your control.
The basic strategy to discourage stone formation is to lower the urinary levels of sodium, oxalate, uric acid, and calcium and increase urinary citrate.1 Citrate stops crystals from growing into stones.
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Kidney Stone Undescended No Symptoms
A kidney stone starts as tiny crystals that form inside the kidney where urine is made. Most kidney stones enlarge to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in size before leaving the kidney and moving toward the bladder. There are 4 types of kidney stones. Eighty percent are calcium stonesmostly calcium oxalate but also some with calcium phosphate. The other 3 types include uric acid stones, struvite stones , and rarely, cystine stones.
When the stone breaks free and starts to move down the ureter it often causes sharp, severe back and side pain, often with nausea and vomiting. When the stone reaches the bladder, the pain stops. Once in your bladder, the kidney stone may pass through the urethra while you are urinating . Or, it may break into such small fragments that you dont notice it passing.
Your kidney stone is still inside the kidney. There is no way to predict how long it will be before it breaks free and causes any symptoms. Most stones will pass on their own within a few hours to a few days . You may notice a red, pink, or brown color to your urine. This is normal while passing a kidney stone. A large stone may not pass on its own and may require special procedures to remove it. These procedures include:
Lithotripsy. This uses ultrasound waves to break up the stone.
Ureteroscopy. A thin, basket-like instrument is pushed through the urethra and bladder to pull out the stone.
Direct surgery through the skin
Where Do Kidney Stones Come From
Kidney stones form develop when certain substances, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, become concentrated enough to form crystals in your kidneys. The crystals grow larger into “stones.” About 80% to 85% of kidney stones are made of calcium. The rest are uric acid stones, which form in people with low urine pH levels.
After stones form in the kidneys, they can dislodge and pass down the ureter, blocking the flow of urine. The result is periods of severe pain, including flank pain , sometimes with blood in the urine, nausea, and vomiting. As the stones pass down the ureter toward the bladder, they may cause frequent urination, bladder pressure, or pain in the groin.
“If you experience any of these symptoms, see your primary care physician,” says Dr. Eisner. “He or she will likely perform a urinalysis and a renal ultrasound, abdominal x-ray, or CT scan to confirm kidney stones are the source of your pain and determine their size and number.”
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What Is A Kidney Stone
A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney. A stone can get stuck as it leaves the kidney. It can lodge in one of your two ureters , the bladder, or the urethra .
Kidney stones may be the size of sand or gravel, as large as a pearl, or even larger. A stone can block the flow of your urine and cause great pain. A stone may also break loose and travel through your urinary tract all the way out of your body without causing too much pain.
There are four major types of kidney stones.
- Calcium is the most common type of stone. Calcium can combine with other substances, such as oxalate , to form the stone.
- A uric acid stone may form when your urine contains too much acid.
- A struvite stone may form after an infection in your urinary system.
- Cystine stones are rare. The disease that causes cystine stones runs in families.
Treating And Preventing Kidney Stones
Most kidney stones are small enough to be passed in your pee, and it may be possible to treat the symptoms at home with medication.
Larger stones may need to be broken up or removed with surgery.
It’s estimated up to half of all people who have had kidney stones will experience them again within the following 5 years.
To avoid getting kidney stones, make sure you drink plenty of water every day so you do not become dehydrated.
It’s very important to keep your urine pale in colour to prevent waste products forming into kidney stones.
The kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that are roughly 10cm in length.
They’re located towards the back of the abdomen on either side of the spine.
The kidneys remove waste products from the blood. The clean blood is then transferred back into the body and the waste products are passed out of the body when you pee.
How To Pass Kidney Stones
If you get a kidney stone, youll want to try to encourage your body to pass it naturally. Some people experience a lot of discomfort, while others feel nothing. Its better to be prepared for some discomfort, as most people do feel pain while passing kidney stones. If you experience a lot of pain, but still have relatively small stones, your doctor may be able to prescribe something to help. Regardless, there are a few things you can do to help encourage natural passage through your urethra.
The most important thing when passing, and preventing, kidney stones is to stay hydrated. When you stay hydrated, you discourage mineral build-up and help keep your urethra clear and free of infection. If you absolutely hate the thought of drinking plain water, try adding some lemon, lime, or other citrus fruits. Citrus has been shown to help break up kidney stones and make passing easier.1
Eat Diuretic Foods
Increasing the number diuretic foods that you eat will keep your body hydrated through food. Consider adding asparagus, beets, celery, cucumbers, watermelon and other diuretic foods to your regular diet.
Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is primarily composed of acetic acid, which helps to actively dissolve kidney stones.3 Try adding it to your water, creating dressings, or mixing it into recipes for the best results.
Mix Lemon Juice and Olive Oil
When to See a Doctor
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy
Diet And Calcium Stones
Follow these guidelines if you have calcium kidney stones:
- Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water.
- Eat less salt. Chinese and Mexican food, tomato juice, regular canned foods, and processed foods are often high in salt. Look for low-salt or unsalted products.
- Have only 2 or 3 servings a day of foods with a lot of calcium, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, oysters, and tofu.
- Eat lemons or oranges, or drink fresh lemonade. Citrate in these foods prevents stones from forming.
- Limit how much protein you eat. Choose lean meats.
- Eat a low-fat diet.
Do not take extra calcium or vitamin D, unless the provider who is treating your kidney stones recommends it.
- Watch out for antacids that contain extra calcium. Ask your provider which antacids are safe for you to take.
- Your body still needs the normal amount of calcium you get from your daily diet. Limiting calcium may actually increase the chance that stones will form.
Ask your provider before taking vitamin C or fish oil. They may be harmful to you.
If your provider says you have calcium oxalate stones, you may also need to limit foods that are high in oxalate. These foods include:
- Fruits: rhubarb, currants, canned fruit salad, strawberries, and Concord grapes
- Vegetables: beets, leeks, summer squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, and tomato soup
- Drinks: tea and instant coffee
- Other foods: grits, tofu, nuts, and chocolate
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