Either you, or someone you know, has likely experienced kidney stones. And if you have developed kidney stones before, you know that they are a painful experience. Kidney stones are concentrated substances, usually composed of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. They can cause symptoms such as:
- Sharp pain in the abdomen or back
- Pain while urinating
- An inability to urinate
While anyone can develop kidney stones, they are most common in men between 30 and 50 years old. Unfortunately, developing kidney stones once increases your risk of developing them again.
The good news is that there are several ways to prevent kidney stones. Below is a list of simple things you can do in your everyday life to decrease your chances of developing kidney stones.
This is the number one thing you can do to prevent kidney stones. Drinking at least 12 cups of fluids per day keeps kidney stones from forming. Stick to water and stay away from sugary soft drinks. The phosphoric acid and sugar found in most soft drinks can actually lead to the development of kidney stones.
Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
You can ask your doctor for a simple blood test to determine if you are deficient in calcium. If you are, the oxalate levels in your urine can rise, causing kidney stones to form. However, taking calcium supplements can also lead to kidney stones. So it is best to get your calcium from the foods you eat. Some good high-calcium options are
Cut Down on Animal Protein and Sodium
Aim to eat less than 6oz of red meat and shellfish per day. These protein sources are high in purines, which can lead to kidney stones.
Too much sodium can also cause kidney stones to form, because sodium may cause your body to release more calcium into your urine. Aim to limit your sodium intake to 1500 mg.
Kidney stones cause unpleasant symptoms and can interfere with your life significantly. Take steps in your daily life to decrease your chances of developing kidney stones.