Kidney stones can be incredibly painful for sufferers, and the stones can cause more serious complications if they are not passed properly, therefore preventing kidney stones before they occur is the best possible medicine, although if you already have kidney stones there are several different forms of treatments available. Below are some suggestions to help you to reduce your chances of developing kidney stones in the first place.
Monitor your urine
Although this may not sound like the most appealing suggestion in the world, looking at the colour of your urine can help you to tell how diluted it is. Dark yellow urine is very concentrated, whereas pale yellow urine is very diluted. You should try to make sure that your urine stays relatively diluted, as this will help you to avoid a build-up of waste products in your renal/urinary system which will help prevent kidney stones forming. These build-ups often lead to the formation of stones.
Urine is often darkest in the morning, because your body produces a lot of waste products whilst you sleep, however you should be concerned if you continue to pass dark urine throughout the day. Up your fluid intake with healthy beverages such as water to help to keep your urine dilute. Remember to increase your fluid intake on hot days or at times when you are likely to sweat more.
Although kidney stones normally form because of excess calcium in the renal system, it is important that you do not reduce your calcium intake, unless you have been advised to do so by a medical professional. It is better to maintain your recommended daily calcium intake, but to be aware that certain foods can inhibit the amount of calcium which is absorbed by your body. Limiting the absorption levels will increase the amount of calcium which is able to build-up in your renal system, which increases the chances of stone formation.
Oxalates, which can be found in foods such as beetroots, leeks, berries, almonds, soy products, chocolate, and some grains, can reduce calcium absorption levels. Reduce your consumption of these foods, rather than cutting them out altogether, because these foods often include vitamins and minerals which have a positive effect on health.
To reduce the chances of Uric Acid stones forming, reduce the amount of meat, fish and poultry in your diet, by seeking alternative sources of protein. If you want to alter your diet to reduce your chances of developing kidney stones, but you do not want to put yourself at risk of developing other medical issues, you may want to speak to a nutritional specialist to help you to develop a more appropriate diet plan.
Review your medication
If you are on medication for any other medical condition, you should be aware that it may increase your chances of developing kidney stones. Look at the information leaflet for your medication if you suddenly develop kidney stones, and you have not suffered from them previously. As with any other side effect of medication, you should speak to your doctor to see if there is any alternative available, or whether they can make adjustments to your dosage to help to prevent the problem from reoccurring. In some cases, they will be able to prescribe you with additional medication which can reduce the levels of harmful waste products in your kidneys or urinary system. For example, medication can be given which helps to change the pH (acidity/alkalinity) of your urine, to help to prevent uric acid stones from forming, or medication which lowers the levels of cystine in your urine, to reduce the chances of cystine stones forming.
Antibiotics may also help to reduce the likelihood of developing infections which can subsequently cause stone formation.