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How to Prevent Kidney Stones

How to Prevent Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are an extremely painful condition, affecting 19% of men and 9% of women in the United States. We sat down with Dr. Bradford Stevenson, Urologist at Ogden Clinic, to ask him how kidney stones are caused and what we can do to prevent them.

Q: What is a kidney stone?

A: A kidney stone is a hard, solid object that is made from chemicals in your urine – calcium, phosphate, xanthine, cysteine, or urate. Common symptoms include lower back pain, blood in your urine, nausea, fever, or urine that looks cloudy.

When that stone leaves the kidney and travels into the ureter, it can cause an incredible amount of pain. In fact, several mothers have actually told me that passing a kidney stone was more physically painful for them than giving birth to their children.

Q: What causes kidney stones?

A: There are different types of kidney stones and several different reasons as to why those stones might develop. As a general rule, there typically has to be some sort of genetic predisposition. There are some people who will simply never develop a kidney stone, no matter how many “bad” dietary habits they might have. Other people will develop stones even if they’re trying very hard not to.

Apart from genetics, you are more likely to develop kidney stones if:

  • You don’t drink enough water.
  • You have a diet high in sugar and/or sodium.
  • Your urine contains high levels of uric acid or calcium.
  • You are overweight.
  • You have had kidney stones before.

Q: How can kidney stones be prevented?

A: The number one risk factor for developing kidney stones, as mentioned above, is dehydration – simply not drinking enough water. Most people should drink eight to 12 cups of water per day. A good way to tell if you’re well-hydrated is by paying attention to the color of your urine – it will appear very light yellow or even clear if you are drinking plenty of water.

Remember that water is always better than soda, sports drinks, or coffee. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup should be limited to minimal quantities.

Bradford Stevenson, MD

Bradford Stevenson