Kidney stones may pass easily if they’re small — like a grain of sand. But, if you have a larger kidney stone that’s the size of a pea or larger, it can cause extreme pain and complications, like blocked urine and bleeding. At least 11% of men and 6% of women experience kidney stones at least once in their lifetime.
Kidney stones are composed of minerals that exist in your urine. The stones are more likely to form when you have a high concentration of these minerals.
If you have symptoms of kidney stones, seek care right away. Here at Buschemeyer Urology, experienced urologist W. Cooper Buschemeyer III, MD, provides treatment for kidney stones and supports the overall health of your urinary tract.
Reduce your risk of developing kidney stones with these tips from Dr. Buschemeyer.
Drink plenty of water every day to avoid dehydration. If you’re tired of the taste of plain water, add a squeeze of citrus juice. Water from all sources, including coffee and tea, counts.
Also, remember that your activities contribute to your hydration level. You lose water if you spend time in saunas or regularly participate in sweaty workouts. Plus, when summer comes, Georgia’s heat and humidity can also lead to dehydration. The more you sweat, the less you urinate. This means the minerals that cause kidney stones have a chance to settle in the urinary tract.
If Dr. Buschemeyer tells you you’re prone to calcium oxalate stones (the most common type), you’ll want to moderate your intake of foods containing oxalate. This includes peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, chocolate, and sweet potatoes. You don’t have to cut them out of your diet entirely as many of these foods are quite healthy; avoid high intakes.
By consuming calcium and oxalate-rich foods, you can also make these foods less likely to contribute to kidney stones. This allows oxalate and calcium to bind together in the stomach and intestines rather than in the kidney. Stones are more likely to form when these two minerals bind in the kidney.
Remember, stones may be called calcium-oxalate stones, but that doesn’t mean you should skip calcium. It’s a mineral essential to strong bones and electrical activity in your body. Instead, cut back on sodium and pair calcium-rich foods with oxalate-rich foods. Examples include a glass of milk with your peanut butter sandwich or a yogurt dressing on a spinach salad.
Calcium oxalate stones may be the most common, but uric acid stones frequently occur. Consumption of red meat, shellfish, and organ meat increases the levels of purines in your system, and purines encourage your body to produce more uric acid.
This means your kidneys must work harder to excrete uric acid, making it easier for uric acid stones to form. You don’t have to cut out red meat and shellfish entirely; be mindful of your intake and switch to plant-based protein a few times per week.
Also, avoid excessive consumption of alcohol because it can increase uric acid levels. Crash dieting can also increase uric acid levels. If you are interested in weight loss, talk to us. We can recommend a safe and modest way to do so.
People who pass a kidney stone usually are more likely to pass another at some point. Between 35% and 50% of people who’ve passed a stone will pass another within five years. If you’re at risk of developing kidney stones or experienced the pain of passing one, ensure you make the changes recommended by Dr. Buschemeyer. Take any prescribed medications and follow nutritional advice.
If you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk of developing them, contact our team at Buschemeyer Urology at the Conroe, Willis, or The Woodlands, Texas, offices. We can help reduce your risk and catch them early before they cause complications.