Preventing Kidney Stones – Urology Care Foundation
Kidney stone disease is one of the most common problems of the urinary tract.
Kidney stones have become more common over the
past few decades among both men and
women. About 1 in 10 Americans will have
a kidney stone during his or her
lifetime. Over half the people who get a
stone will get another one within 5
years. So, it’s important you do what you
can to prevent getting kidney stones in
the first place or if you’ve had a stone
before prevent getting another one.
If you’ve had kidney stones before a big part of preventing future stones is finding out
why you get them in the first place. Your
healthcare provider will get your
medical history and may perform a few
tests such as blood and urine tests,
imaging tests like an x-ray, stone
analysis testing a stone that you have
passed or had surgically removed.
Changing your diet and taking certain
medications have been shown to be the
best at preventing a stone from forming
in the first place and keeping you from
getting another one in the future. Here
are some things you can do to prevent
future kidney stones.
Drink enough fluids each day. You should get at least
2 to 3 liters of water or low-calorie drinks
each day which is about 8 to 10 ten ounce glasses.
Additionally you may need to
drink even more if you’re exposed to
high ambient temperatures or exercise
frequently that causes excessive sweating.
Eat plenty of fruits and
vegetables. Eat at least five servings of
fruit and veggies every day. A serving
means one piece of fruit or a half cup
of cooked vegetables. Eat foods with low
oxalate levels if you have high urine
oxalate. Nearly all plant foods have
oxalate but some foods contain a lot of it.
These include beets, spinach, and almonds.
limit your daily meat intake this
Limit your daily meat intake.
This includes all types of meat: beef, chicken,
pork, and fish.
This may mean eating meat only once per
day versus two to three times, eat meat
fewer times during the week, or eat
smaller portions when you do eat meat.
Portions should be eight ounces or less,
size of a deck of cards.
If protein intake is needed, try and get
it from non-animal sources such as
beans, quinoa, hummus, etc.
Eat the right amount
of calcium. It’s important that you do
not have too little or too much calcium.
Talk with your healthcare provider about
your calcium intake and what they
recommend. If you need calcium
supplements take them with your meals.
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet.
This tip is for people with high sodium
intake and high urine calcium or cystine.
Sodium can cause both urine
calcium and cystine to be too high.
Your healthcare provider may advise you to
avoid adding salt to your food and avoid
foods with lots of salt such as cheese,
deli meats, canned soups and veggies
Remember your healthcare provider will
recommend you do what is best for you
and the type of stone you have. Not every
tip will work for every stone former.
The recommendations are not
one-size-fits-all. If you feel that
lifestyle and dietary changes aren’t
helping, talk to your healthcare provider
to see if there’s a medication you can
take to prevent the type of stones you form.
If you’d like more information on
kidney stones, visit UrologyHealth.org.
The Urology Care Foundation is the official foundation of the American Urological Association.