If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with having a kidney stone, it may seem like a scary prospect. The mental image of tiny rocks in your body can be a disturbing thought.
Fortunately, kidney stones are relatively manageable and readily preventable. Through tweaks in your diet and other lifestyle habits, you can avoid many of the main causes of kidney stones.
Why Do Kidney Stones Happen?
Some of the most common reasons why people develop kidney stones include the following:
To understand how water helps prevent kidney stones, it pays to know a bit of chemistry first.
Kidney stones consist of minerals, all of which can dissolve to a certain extent in water. However, their ability to dissolve has its limits. When the concentration of these minerals exceeds a certain level as the kidneys are producing urine to be expelled from the body, the excess minerals will start to consolidate – causing the development of one or more kidney stones, or crystals.
Therefore, if you want to prevent getting kidney stones, the goal is to reduce the concentration of these minerals in your urine and kidneys. Drinking enough water ensures that your urine is dilute enough not to cause any problems. Be sure to drink enough water so that your urine is a pale yellow; any vibrant colors may indicate dehydration or other issues.
Of course, drinking enough water is easier said than done, especially for people who have busy schedules. Set reminders to drink regularly, and don’t hesitate to quench your thirst. Take note that kidney stones take a long time to form, so you need to make drinking enough water a part of your healthy lifestyle.
A high salt intake already gets bad publicity for its adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, but it can also increase your risk of developing kidney stones. If the body excretes a significant amount of sodium through your urinary tract, this creates a conducive environment for kidney stones to form.
Consider replacing salt with spices to flavor your food. Your urologist can also give you some tips about how to lower your salt consumption without reducing your interest in food.
Uric Acid Buildup from a High-Protein Diet
When your body metabolizes protein, it forms uric acid. Like other minerals, excess uric acid can crystallize within your kidneys and form a kidney stone. Uric acid also makes your urine more acidic, which can make it harder for other minerals to remain dissolved.
For some people, it can be helpful to cut back on eating too much protein in order to prevent getting kidney stones. Some people have high uric acid levels due to metabolic disorders, in which case you would need to properly manage your condition through dietary restrictions and medication to avoid the added risk of kidney stones.
Kidney Care in Phoenix, AZ
You can avoid developing a kidney stone by reducing the amount of stone-forming minerals in your diet and by drinking more water to dilute your urine. If you have abdominal pain or lower-back pain, see a skilled urologist who can diagnose and treat your condition, whether it is due to kidney stones or some other health issue. Dr. Desi Avila at Ironwood Urology specializes in urological issues and men’s health.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with Dr. Avila, contact us today by calling us at (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment through our online form. We look forward to seeing you here.