by Dr. Willie Ong
Kidney stones are small stone-like materials that form inside the kidneys. These stones are usually made up of calcium and other minerals. The smaller the stone, the easier it is to pass out.
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The pain due to kidney stones is a deep and searing pain, usually located at the groin and lower abdominal area, but can also be felt at the lower back. The urine color also becomes pinkish or red-tinged, which means that the stone has injured the linings of the urinary tract.
If discovered early, kidney stones can be prevented through lifestyle changes and medicines.
1. Drink 8 to 12 glasses of water For many patients, this may be the only treatment needed to cure their kidney stones and prevent it from recurring. Water is the best fluid to drink. For patients who already have kidney stones, doctors may require you to pass out at least 2 liters of urine every day. This means that you have to drink approximately 8 to 12 glasses of water a day.
2. Check your urine color – To know if you are drinking enough water, check if your urine is clear and transparent in color. If its dark yellow or yellow-orange, then you should drink more water. Another tip is to drink water before you sleep.
3. Strain the urine and catch the stone – It will help your doctors to know what kind of stones you are passing out. There are four common types of kidney stones: calcium stones, uric acid stones, cystine stones and struvite stones. Each type of stone has a specific treatment targeted for it. Hence, you can urinate through a strainer to hopefully catch the stone. This specimen is then sent to a laboratory to analyze its composition.
4. Beat the heat Especially during the summertime, try to keep cool by staying indoors, avoiding the sun, and drinking enough water.
5. Limit salty foods and high protein foods This means avoiding salted fish, junk foods, and seasonings such as soy sauce and fish sauce. In addition, a high protein diet releases excess amino acids and uric acid components, which acidifies the urine and makes one prone to develop stones. Protein in food, such as those found in beef and pork, also makes your kidneys work harder.
6. Exercise Regular exercise leads to stronger bones by facilitating the entry of calcium into the bones. Hence, less calcium will be excreted out into the urine, reducing the risk of stone formation. Of course, you need to drink more water when you exercise a lot.
7. Continue eating fruits and vegetables, except oxalate-rich foods Some patients have kidney stones made up of calcium oxalate. In such cases, it may help to reduce your intake of oxalate-rich foods such as nuts, chocolate, coffee, cola, spinach and tea. However, you should continue eating fruits and vegetables. Ask your doctor about it.
8. Try high fiber foods High fiber foods, such as wheat bran and whole-wheat bread, reduce the amount of calcium and oxalate expelled in the urine.
9. Be careful with calcium supplements Although calcium-rich foods are allowed for patients with kidney stones, doctors caution patients on the use of calcium supplements. The high doses found in calcium tablets have been associated with kidney stones.
10. Be careful with vitamin C supplements According to kidney specialist, Dr. Elizabeth Montemayor, the intake of high doses of vitamin C can make one susceptible to develop calcium oxalate stones. This is because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate. Dr. Montemayor suggests that patients take no more than 500 mg of vitamin C a day.
11. Consider potassium citrate tablets One study reports that patients taking potassium citrate have an 80% reduction in kidney stone episodes. Your doctor also has other medical options depending on the type of kidney stone you have.
Finally, for patients with large stones and those with severe symptoms, they may need to undergo special procedures performed by urologists. Consult your doctor about it. For the moment, follow our prevention tips and stay healthy.
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DISCLAIMER: The health advice in this forum is only for general knowledge. For your specific questions, kindly consult your personal physician. Thank you.