Having kidney stones is no joke.
Some compare the pain of passing a kidney stone to the pain of giving birth. From personal experience, I can tell you that the comparison isn’t far off. The pain came out of nowhere and hit me in the back as if I had been shot, it came in waves and was unbearable. I went to the Emergency Room for help because I had no idea what the pain was. After doing a little research, I found that Kidney.org describes the symptoms as: severe pain on either side of your lower back, vague pain or stomachache that doesn't go away, blood in the urine, nausea or vomiting, fever and chills, and urine that smells bad or looks cloudy. I would PAY anything to never feel that again, but the reality is if you had kidney stones before, your chances of getting another one in your lifetime increases immensely. One in 10 people will have kidney stones in their lifetime, says Kidney.org.
Urine contains a lot of chemicals, dissolved minerals, and salts. When these become concentrated in your kidney’s and settle, they can form stones. Some stones can be large and not cause symptoms, but a small stone can slip by and work its way through your urinary track. If a stone gets stuck and blocks your urine, it causes major pain. Harvard Health says that about half of the people who had kidney stones will have another one within 7 years if preventable measures aren’t implemented.
So, how can you prevent it? There are a few things you can do to help prevent stones from forming beginning with dietary changes and medication. The most important measure to take is making sure you are DRINKING ENOUGH WATER. I can’t stress this enough - HYDRATION. HYDRATION. HYDRATION. The recommended amount to drink a day is 64oz a day. Drinking water throughout the day will increase your trips to the bathroom. The more you urinate the more you are flushing out those stone causing minerals. Make sure to increase your fluid intake during hot summer days, vigorous work outs, or sauna sessions because these will make you sweat more and sweating more decreases the quantity of your urination output. This can cause build up to occur and stones to form. Other dietary ways to prevent stones is to manage or reduce your daily intake of sodium, animal protein, calcium, or oxalate in your food. Certain stones require specific preventable measures, so please speak with your doctor to see what type of stone you had before and ways to prevent it from forming again.
Speak with our dietitian Kristal at Kristal.Twardy@franciscanalliance.org to schedule a private appointment on meal plans/dietary changes to help prevent stones.
Join us in this month’s Drink your Water fitness challenge to ensure your water intake. Challenge yourself to see how much you can drink in a month.
Start this habit today for a better tomorrow.
Kidney stones - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic Eating
Diet, & Nutrition for Kidney Stones | NIDDK (nih.gov)
Kidney Stones: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment - Urology Care Foundation (urologyhealth.org)
5 steps for preventing kidney stones - Harvard Health
Kidney stones | National Kidney Foundation