5 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Kidney Stones

If you’ve dealt with the intense pain of kidney stones, it’s only natural to want to prevent them from recurring in the future. Even the tiniest of stones can cause excruciating pain as it travels through and leaves the kidney. Your kidneys perform life-saving duties and are meant to filter fluid only. 

At Houston Kidney Specialists Center, our board-certified urologists have extensive experience treating kidney stones. We specialize in conservative and minimally invasive treatments for kidney stones and help patients implement strategies to prevent kidney stones. 

Our specialists have put together five of their top recommendations for reducing the risk of developing kidney stones. 

1. Know your stones

Kidney stones are made up of various minerals and salts that combine to form hard, calcified deposits. Knowing which type you develop plays a key role in developing strategies to lower your chances of developing new stones.  

Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stones. Some people aren’t able to get rid of oxalate, a naturally occuring substance found in plant foods. For these people, eating foods rich in oxalate may raise the risk of developing calcium oxalate stones. 

We can analyze your stone content and develop an individualized strategy to combat future stones.

2. Maintain healthy calcium intake

When you develop kidney stones, cutting back on calcium may seem like the natural solution. While the most common stones are made up of calcium and other minerals, there’s no need to limit your calcium intake. In fact, reducing your calcium intake boosts your risk of developing other health problems. 

Talk to your provider about dietary changes that can benefit you if you’re tempted to restrict calcium. Some patients may need to limit oxalate-rich foods such as spinach, chocolate, and beets. 

3. Cut back on sodium

If you’re like most Americans, you could stand to back off salt. The typical diet contains significantly more than the recommended intake of sodium. Salt boosts calcium excretion and increases the likelihood of kidney stone formation. 

Try cutting back your sodium to no more than 1,500 mg a day if you have a history of kidney stones. Carefully checking labels, eating less processed food, and preparing more of your meals from natural, minimally processed foods will go a long way in slashing your salt intake. 

4. Maintain proper hydration 

Chronic dehydration is a recipe for kidney stones. Water and clear fluids keep your urine dilute, a good thing for people prone to kidney stones. Concentrated urine enables minerals and salts to clump together. 

Aim to drink at least eight cups of water and clear fluids throughout the day. You’ll need to drink more to replace fluid loss through sweat on hot days or during exercise. Even mild dehydration increases the risk of kidney stones. 

5. Lean toward forks over knives

Eating a diet high in animal protein raises your risk for developing uric acid kidney stones. Red meat, poultry, eggs, and even fish increase uric acid levels. 

There’s no need to give up animal foods completely, but cutting back can help manage uric acid levels if you tend to develop uric acid kidney stones. 

Try implementing meatless Mondays and replacing animal protein with other types of high-quality protein, such as beans, tofu, and tempeh.

For an effective strategy for treating and preventing kidney stones, schedule a visit at one of our three offices in Houston and Cypress, Texas. Call the office nearest you or request an appointment online today.

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