How can I Avoid Getting Kidney Stones?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Kidney stones next to a ruler to show the size.
Kidney stones next to a ruler to show the size.

Kidney stones are small to large stones, some the size of golf balls and others smaller than peas, that develop in the kidneys and can necessitate surgery if they are too large to pass on their own. Stones are of four types: calcium, struvite, uric acid, and cystine. Calcium stones may result from excess calcium in the diet, struvite from kidney infections and too much magnesium, and uric acid stones form when the urine has a higher than normal acid content. Cystine stones may not be easy to prevent, since they are caused by typically inherited disease. They are rare and can be treated with medication and removal of stones as required.

There are several main ways to prevent kidney stones of the first three types. The simplest and most effective way is to drink plenty of water each day. Many doctors recommend consuming about 12 glasses daily.

Soda is associated with kidney stones.
Soda is associated with kidney stones.

You can use some juice if you get tired of water, but don’t use calcium-fortified juice if you are prone to calcium stones. A glass or two of cranberry juice that is sweetened with other juices can be helpful since it can help reduce bladder and kidney infections. It acts as a natural diuretic, helping your body to shed urine more quickly. Fewer kidney infections mean less chance of developing struvite stones.

Drinking cranberry juice may help cleanse the kidneys.
Drinking cranberry juice may help cleanse the kidneys.

To further reduce infection, when you urinate, try to make sure to void the bladder completely. It may be helpful to wait for a minute after you’re done urinating and try again. Also, be sure to use the bathroom every few hours during the daytime, instead of holding it.

You should limit your intake of caffeinated beverages, which may result in too much loss of fluid, too quickly. Combinations of a couple of cups of tea a day and ice cream have a tendency to put people more at risk for developing kidney stones. You may want to avoid all caffeine if you get stones frequently, but some people find that even by reducing their caffeine intake to a cup or two of coffee, diet soda or tea, they’re able to prevent stones from forming.

A kidney with a kidney stone.
A kidney with a kidney stone.

Despite changes in bathroom habits, caffeine intake, and water intake, some people may still need to take medication to prevent kidney stones from forming. This is particularly true if you have cystine, struvite or calcium stones that remain unresolved by modification of habits. Even if you do take medication, it can help to follow the above recommendations to reduce the chances of having to deal with the pain associated with passing a kidney stone.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

pumpkinpatch

if I'm trying to avoid kidney stones but can't commit to drink more water and less pop is it better for me to drink sprite or 7 up?

cmsmith10

For the prevention of kidney stones, these are a few helpful hints:

Drink, drink, drink. One study has shown that people who drink 2 liters or more of water every day have about a 40% decrease in the chance of developing kidney stones than someone who drank less water.

Cut back on the meat that you eat. Increased intake of animal protein has been linked to increased incidence of kidney stones.

Limit your intake of tea, cola, and grapefruit juice. They can increase your chance of developing kidney stones.

Make sure that your diet contains plenty of potassium and magnesium. They decrease your chances of a stone.

Be cautious of your salt and calcium intake.

medicchristy

@anon92588: Ice water will not cause kidney stones. Water, iced or not, is one of the best ways to prevent kidney stones.

anon92588

If a person drinks a lot of ice water (water with ice cubes in it), will it create kidney stones? Or is tap water (at room temperature) better to drink.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Kidney stones next to a ruler to show the size.
      By: erik gould
      Kidney stones next to a ruler to show the size.
    • Soda is associated with kidney stones.
      Soda is associated with kidney stones.
    • Drinking cranberry juice may help cleanse the kidneys.
      By: Galina Mikhalishina
      Drinking cranberry juice may help cleanse the kidneys.
    • A kidney with a kidney stone.
      By: p6m5
      A kidney with a kidney stone.
    • Kidney stones affect 600,000 patients per year.
      By: Alila Medical Media
      Kidney stones affect 600,000 patients per year.
    • People who drink a lot of tea have a higher risk for developing kidney stones.
      By: okinawakasawa
      People who drink a lot of tea have a higher risk for developing kidney stones.
    • Drinking eight glasses of water per day may prevent the development of kidney stones.
      By: anyaivanova
      Drinking eight glasses of water per day may prevent the development of kidney stones.
    • Drinking large amounts of water is an effective way to prevent kidney stones.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Drinking large amounts of water is an effective way to prevent kidney stones.
    • A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.
      By: Mi.Ti.
      A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.