Banish the stones

diminishing CHANCES

Banish the stones

Lots of innovations have been made in the world of kidney stone treatment, but there is very little knowledge regarding the stone formation and how it can be prevented. What people don’t realise is that kidney stones are easily preventable with some minor changes in your daily diet. Environmental factors, body weight and heredity also have a say in the occurrence of kidney stones, but modifying your diet is the easiest way to banish them.

Wonder fluid

The best fluid to inhibit kidney stone formation is water. Inexpensive and easily available, water needs to be consumed regularly depending on the weather and the person’s activity level. People who have had a history of kidney stones should drink enough water and other fluids to produce at least two litres of urine a day, which can be achieved by drinking about three to four litres of water every day. The amount should be consumed on a periodic basis, about a glass or two every hour. 

Drinking enough water helps keep urine diluted and flushes away materials that might form stones and is the most important thing a person can do to prevent kidney stones. Citrus drinks like lemon and orange juice should also be consumed regularly, because they contain citrate, which inhibits stone formation. Fluids like grapefruit juice, colas, beer, wine, coffee and tea should be avoided in excess as they promote stone formation.

There is a misconception that eating spinach and tomatoes leads to formation of stones. But it only happens when you eat them in large quantities over a long period of time. Eating them once in a while doesn’t really harm or increase the risk of stone formation. Another misconception is to avoid drinking milk since it contains calcium. Calcium in the stomach binds to oxalate from food and keeps it from entering the blood, and then the urinary tract, where it can form stones.

To counter this, people who are taking supplementary calcium to maintain the bone density should take the calcium tablets along with the food. Sodium, often from salt, causes the kidneys to excrete more calcium into the urine. High concentrations of calcium in the urine combine with oxalate and phosphorus to form stones. Reducing sodium intake is preferred to reducing calcium intake. The consumption of meat, fish and egg should be reduced as they contain purines, which break down into uric acid in the urine,
resulting in uric acid stones.

Once you get kidney stones, it is highly possible that you will develop them again.  However, if the above recommendations are followed, there will be a reduction in the recurrence. Most of the small stones pass spontaneously, but the larger stones may require treatment.


(The author is consultant urologist, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital,
Bengaluru)

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