How Does Diet Impact Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones result from the crystallization of certain substances, usually calcium, in your kidneys. They generally don’t cause issues until they start to pass. Larger stones can get caught, causing intense pain, though usually no lasting damage. 

When you’re felled by the pain of a passing stone, contact us at the Stone Relief Center in The Woodlands Texas. No appointment is necessary, and we usually treat your stone the same day. Our director of clinical care, William Cooper Buschemeyer III, MD, is a leading kidney stone specialist.

While fast relief is a priority during an attack, you may be able to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of kidney stone formation. 

Types of stones

Kidney stone prevention depends on what substance forms the hard deposits in your body. In most cases, this is calcium, so most advice is based on calcium stones. 

But uric acid can also crystallize into kidney stones, for which there are treatments to directly dissolve existing stones. You can only prevent future calcium-based stones.

Less common are struvite stones, which form in response to urinary tract infections, and cystine stones, which only occur in people with a specific hereditary condition. 

Adequate hydration

No matter what type of stone you have, drinking plenty of water is perhaps the best lifestyle factor for stone prevention. While you’ll urinate more often, that also means that your kidneys stay well flushed, and there’s less chance of crystals forming. 

Increase your water intake even more when you’re working up a sweat. When you use water to cool off through perspiration, it’s water that’s not flushing your kidneys. It takes about 8-12 cups of water throughout the day for most adults to stay adequately hydrated. 

Water is best. Some beverages, like soft drinks, sweetened iced tea, and grapefruit juice, can aggravate kidney stone problems. 

Diet for calcium stones

Calcium itself is not the culprit behind kidney stones. Calcium oxalate is the form of the mineral that forms stone crystals. Its dietary sources include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, tea, and, sadly, chocolate. 

Minimize your intake of the high oxalate types of these foods: 

Lowering other forms of calcium in your diet actually increases your chances for kidney stones. Pairing dairy foods with oxalate-rich choices moderates the kidney stone risk. 

If you consume too much sodium, you can lose the good calcium through your urine, so a low-salt diet also helps prevent calcium oxalate stone formation. 

Addressing uric acid stones

The body chemistry causing stones made of uric acid is different, though staying hydrated is a good practice for these as well. The dietary components behind uric acid stones are purines, which lead to increased uric acid production and a subsequent rise in the level of acidity in the urine. 

Foods to avoid when you have uric acid stones include: 

Limiting sugar-sweetened products helps lower acid levels. A diet that follows heart-friendly principles like plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins is also the best way to reduce uric acid production. 

Contact us at Stone Relief Center in The Woodlands, Texas, when the signs of a passing kidney stone begin. It’s your best bet for fast relief. We give you valuable information about your stones and the best way to handle them. 

Call the center directly or request an appointment using our online system. The sooner you book, the sooner the pain is gone.

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