Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. Kidney stones can be caused by many things and can affect any part of your urinary tract. Passing these kidney stones can be quite painful and in some cases, surgery may be necessary.
In order to reduce your risk of forming kidney stones, follow these four tips:
1. Drink Plenty of Water
By drinking water, you are able to dilute the substances that lead to kidney stones. A good goal, especially for people with a history of kidney stones, is to drink enough water to pass two liters of urine a day. That translates to about eight standard 8-ounce cups.
2. Reduce Your Sodium and Animal Protein Intake
Too much sodium in your diet can trigger kidney stones. Reducing the amount of salt you eat or even considering using a salt substitute can help prevent kidney stones. Current guidelines suggest limiting your total daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg. If you have a history of kidney stones, try reducing your intake to 1,500 mg a day.
As well as limiting your sodium intake, it is recommended that you don’t eat too much red meat, poultry, eggs and seafood, which can increase the uric acid that leads to kidney stones.
3. Get the Calcium You Need
Just because you limit your animal protein intake doesn’t mean you should not continue eating calcium-rich foods. Diets low in calcium can increase kidney stone formation in some people.
Ask your doctor before taking calcium supplements however, as they have been linked to increased risk of kidney stones.
4. Talk to Your Doctor
Along with these lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of kidney stones, your doctor may be able to prescribe you certain medications depending on the type of kidney stones you have.
At Philadelphia Urology Associates, we have a variety of tools and techniques available to treat kidney stones, from shockwaves (lithotripsy) to surgery. We will help you figure out the right approach to your particular condition.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our Philadelphia urologists, call (215) 563-1199 or contact us online.