How to prevent kidney stones naturally

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

Kidney stones are becoming more and more common these days.

Many experts blame diet and lifestyle as the main culprits in the rise of this disorder.

Kidney stones tend to be more prevalent in men than women. Yet anyone can develop these stones no matter age or gender.

The incidence of developing kidney stones is on the rise in the United States for both males and females.

Once you’ve developed a kidney stone, you are significantly more likely to develop others in the future.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of crystalized minerals that form inside your kidneys. Kidney stones can have effects anywhere within your urinary tract from your kidneys to your bladder.

Some types of kidney stones include calcium oxalate stones, cystine stones and uric acid stones.

The passage of kidney stones can be quite painful. In rare instances, stones can become lodged in the urinary tract and may cause extreme pain and bleeding and require surgery.

Preventative treatment is important to reduce the risk of recurring kidney stones.

Read on for more information about what these stones are made of and how to prevent them.

Kidney Stone Signs & Symptoms:

  • Pain in abdomen or lower back
  • Pain when urinating
  • More frequent urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • If infection is present, there could be fever or chills

What Causes Kidney Stones?

There is not one specific cause of kidney stones. There are several risk factors that can contribute to kidney stone formation. Factors include but are not limited to:

Sipping lemon water and other ways to help prevent a recurrence of this painful condition

Up to 12 percent of Americans will develop a kidney stone during their lifetime, according to the American Urological Association, and recent research suggests they are on the rise.

For at least half of those afflicted, it isn’t just a one-time occurrence. Since the experience can be very painful, it’s important to know that there are steps you can take to prevent another attack.

Kidney stones form when the levels of minerals and salts normally present in urine—such as calcium and phosphate—are high and tiny particles of them stick together. The stones can then pass from the kidneys into the urinary tract. Symptoms include: sharp pain in your lower abdomen, back, side or groin; pain when you urinate; nausea and vomiting; and fever and chills.

If you have had a kidney stone, a lab analysis of the stone’s composition or of your urine can help provide information on the specific stone risk factor. About 80 percent of people with kidney stones have calcium stones. The good news is that there are some natural remedies for kidney stones.

What to Drink

Drinking 4 ounces of lemon juice daily (diluted in a half-gallon of water) over the course of each day may help prevent recurrence of two types of kidney stones—calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. The lemon juice boosts levels of citrate in your urine, which discourages the formation of these stones.

This “lemonade therapy” may be a possible alternative to traditional citrate treatments, which are often recommended to prevent kidney stones, but can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Don’t add sugar, though; sugar-sweetened beverages can boost stone risk by around 20 percent, according to Ramy Youssef Yaacoub, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of urology at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.

If drinking lemon water daily doesn’t appeal to you, another natural remedy for kidney stones is drinking plenty of fluids in general. Drinking enough to essentially double your daily urine output is the cornerstone of any action plan to prevent kidney stones, says Yaacoub. This step can dilute your urine, which helps keep calcium and other compounds from clumping together. Plain water is a good choice, and coffee can also help, Yaacoub says. While there is research suggesting that sipping tea may also cut risk, Yaacoub advises against it; high oxalate levels in tea could increase stone risk for some people.

What to Eat

Natural remedies for kidney stones also include some dietary changes. If you’ve had a calcium stone, cutting back on sodium-heavy processed and fast foods can reduce your risk because a high-sodium diet increases calcium levels in your urine.

Don’t skimp on calcium-rich foods, though. Too little calcium in your diet can increase urine levels of oxalate, another factor in the formation of kidney stones. “Two to three servings of milk, yogurt, or other healthy calcium-rich dairy foods are recommended for people who’ve had calcium stones,” Yaacoub says. “Have it with a meal; that way the calcium will bind in your digestive system with oxalates from the other food you eat.”

Your doctor may also recommend cutting back on high-oxalate vegetables, such as beets, navy beans, rhubarb, and spinach. Be sure to eat plenty of other types of fruit and vegetables, though, and to rein in serving sizes of animal proteins (red meat, chicken, fish, pork)—a dietary one-two punch that helps keep citrate levels in urine high.

Check Your Meds

Your doctor can also evaluate whether medications you take for other health conditions are causing stones to form, and may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to another drug. These include laxatives, some antibiotics, potassium-sparing diuretics (used for high blood pressure), potassium channel blockers (used to control heart rhythm and for multiple sclerosis), and sulfonylureas (used to treat type 2 diabetes).

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

Are you looking for natural ways to prevent kidney stones, also known as renal calculi? Here you will find a whole host of resources designed to help people reduce their risk of kidney stone formation by changing the way they eat.

Kidney stones (or renal calculi in medical jargon) are relatively common, especially in men over 30 years of age, and recent research indicates that their incidence is steadily rising in the United States. Kidney stones form when certain substances — usually calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate — become extremely concentrated in the urine and turn into hard, solid concretions. Kidney stones are classified based on the substance they are composed of. About 80 percent of kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones, meaning that they are composed of calcium oxalate crystals.

Kidney stones usually result in severe pain in the left or right lower back or the pelvic area. When a stone attempts to leave the kidney through the ureters (the tubes that propel urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the pain gets even more intense. Some people have compared the pain with that of childbirth. Other symptoms of kidney stones may include blood in the urine and an increased urge to urinate. Possible treatments for kidney stones include simply waiting for the stone to pass, painkillers, diet modification, and surgery.

Although anyone can develop kidney stones, middle-aged and older men seem to be at the highest risk. Also a family history of kidney stones, a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, and changes in the digestive process can predispose an individual to developing kidney stones. You are also at an increased risk of forming kidney stones if you have already developed a stone in the past.

Furthermore, certain dietary factors are strongly linked to an increased risk of kidney stone formation. On the other hand, other dietary habits have been shown to reduce the risk. The purpose of this online guide is to provide nutrition-related tips on how to naturally prevent kidney stones from forming. To learn all about how nutritional factors can affect your risk of developing stones, check out the diet, food and recipe sections of this online guide:

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

Kidney Stone Avoidance Diet: 6 Tips for Preventing Renal Stones

In this section of HealWithFood.org’s Guide to Kidney Stone Prevention, you will learn how certain dietary habits – such as limiting foods that contain oxalates, cutting down on salt and sugar consumption, and drinking more water – can prevent kidney stones from forming.

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

Best Foods for Kidney Stone Prevention

There are a number of foods that are thought to be particularly good for kidney stone formers. In this section of our guide, you will why foods like nettles and rice bran are particularly good for the kidneys and renal function.

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

Recipes for Fighting Kidney Stones

Treat your taste buds to carob pudding which, unlike chocolate pudding, is low in oxalates. Or how about a bowl of apple and carrot salad that is loaded with stone-preventing fiber? To view the recipes for these dishes and other dishes that feature kidney stone fighting ingredients, click on the link below.

Kidney stones are quite common and usually affect people aged 30–60 years of age. A kidney stone is a solid mass made up of tiny crystals formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine. Most of kidney stones are made out of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is an organic salt that when combined with calcium it produces an insoluble mass which is the most common compound in kidney stones.

Kidney stones are much more common in men than women. Also overweight and obese people are more likely to get a kidney stone than people of a normal weight.

It’s also worth noting that kidney stones are one of the reasons for leukocytes (white blood cells) in urine. The journal Urology published a report showing that almost half the patients who had kidney stones also had a high urine leukocyte count.

After a kidney stone has formed, your body will try to pass it out of the body in the urine. Small stones may be passed out painlessly in the urine and may even go undetected, but larger stones can be very painful to pass.

How to Naturally Prevent or Treat Kidney Stones Based on Science

People who tend to suffer from kidney stones can reduce the recurrences and prevent new calcium oxalate stone formation by treating kidney stones naturally:

Diet + Water

You should avoid or lower the consumption of foods rich in oxalate such as: chocolate, tea, caffeine, salt, nuts, beets, rhubarb, spinach, wheat bran and phosphate based soft drinks.

According to a research also grapefruit juice increases the risk of kidney stones. It is recommended to increase fiber consumption and to drink plenty of water that will make the calcium oxalate more soluble and less likely to form crystals.

You can add to your water half a cup of lemon juice a day, as lemon juice also helps to reduce kidney stone formation because it increases urine citrate levels.

Magnesium + Vitamin B6

One scientific study has shown that the combination of vitamin B6 + and magnesium citrate can dramatically reduce the rate of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Recommended dosage is 500 mg magnesium citrate and 40 mg B6 vitamin a day.

Fish Oil

Fish oil helps to reduce urinary oxalate thus reducing the risk of kidney stones. EPA and DHA are the two omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oil.

One scientific study mentioned that “consuming 1,200 mg per day of fish oil has been associated with significant decreases in urinary calcium and oxalate concentrations and increases in urinary citrate concentration”

Another medical study concluded that a consumption of 1800 mg EPA per day can reduces the risk of calcium stone formation.

Cold-water fish, including salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich sources of EPA.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid. Some people claim that when we ingest acetic acid it has an alkaline effect and a healthy body needs to be more alkaline than acidic. It is claimed that calcium oxalate, cystine, and uric acid stones form when the urine has too much acid in it.

One scientific study found that people who consumed fermented vinegar (like apple cider vinegar) had less chances to develop kidney stones.

The best way to use apple cider vinegar for kidney stone prevention is to mix 6 teaspoons or so in about a gallon of purified water and drink throughout the day.

Chanca Piedra

Chanca piedra is an herb that is indigenous to the Amazonian rain forest of South America. Chanca piedra means in Spanish “stone breaker” and has been used by many cultures as a remedy for kidney stones.

There is a research on the plant that was done in Germany, Brazil and India that has found the herb to be effective treatment for kidney health, as well as for other ailments. According to the research, the herb was given to more than 100 people with kidney stones, and 94% of them eliminated their stones within two weeks.

What’s good about it is that chanca piedra caused no side effects other than cramping during the passage of the stones. This herb can be prepared as a tea, or it can come as a tablet or tincture form. You should consult your doctor before taking extracts of this plant to avoid interaction with other medications.

Phyllanthus Niruri

Although research on the health effects of the phyllanthus herb is very limited, there’s some evidence that the phyllanthus niruri may help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Phyllanthus is a genus of plant long used in herbal medicine and is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.

To date, there is not enough information about the safety of long-term use of supplements containing extracts of phyllanthus herb. It’s therefore important to consult with your doctor before taking supplements containing extracts of phyllanthus as it may interfere with other medications.

Uva ursi

Uva Ursi (also known as bearberry) is an evergreen shrub that is common in the Northern Hemisphere including the United States. The leaves of the plant contain natural substances with antibacterial properties that are known to improve the function of the urinary system.

One medical study reported that uva-ursi (bearberry) has been approved for use for urinary tract inflammation by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and is available on prescription in Germany for this indication. Uva-ursi (bearberry) is reported to have diuretic, urinary antiseptic, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties

This plant is used for kidney stones because of the plant’s natural diuretic properties that increase the urine flow, so that it is easier to flush the kidney stones out of the body.

Uva ursi is available in tea form, in capsules and in tablets. People who use this plant can experience mild nausea for the initial days of treatment. You must consult with your doctor before using uva ursi as a natural kidney stone treatment to ensure it is safe for you.

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You are about to learn what the kidneys are, their functions, what causes kidney problems, what kidney stones are, and how to prevent and remove kidney stones.

What are the kidneys?

The kidneys are two organs in our bodies that shape like a bean. They are located below the rib cage, one being on each side of the rib and they are about the size of a fist.

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

How do the kidneys function?

Both the kidneys filter up to about 120 – 150 quarts of blood each day to produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine, mainly composes of waste and extra fluid.

The urine in the kidneys flows to the bladder through two thin tubes called the ureters that are located on each side of the bladder.

The bladder collects and stores urine while the muscles of the bladder remain to relax as it is being filled up with urine.

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

When the bladder is filled with urine, a signal is sent to the brain, telling the person to go to the restroom.

As the person begins to urinate, the muscles of the bladder contract, causing the urine to flow through a tube located at the bottom of the bladder called the urethra.

The urethra in men is long and the urethra in the woman is short.

What may cause problems in the kidneys?

There are several things that may cause problems in the kidneys, but the two most common issues are infections and kidney stones. An infection in the kidneys is mainly caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI) that spreads towards the kidneys.

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

NOTE: An infected kidney can be deadly if left untreated, so be sure to consult a doctor if you suspect an infection in your kidneys.

What are kidney stones?

These are stones formed inside the kidneys when minerals in the urine harden and crystallize. There are two types of kidney stones: Uric acid and Calcium Oxalate stones. The type of stone discovered in your kidneys may help in the prevention and treatment process.

Kidney stones may cause discomfort base on where the stone is located; if the stone is in the ureter it may cause pain while passing urine and you may experience difficulties urinating. Symptoms often include increased frequency and urgency with urination, pain in the abdomen and lower back. In some cases, blood may be in the urine.

NOTE: If you see blood in urine, see a doctor right away.

Other things that may cause kidney problems are chemotherapy, exposure to toxins, and venom from snakes, insects, and disorders like diabetes, heart failure, and lupus.

How to get rid of kidney stones and flush the kidney of toxins?

The kidneys clean themselves, but you will do your kidneys a good favor with this simple kidney detox recipe.

TOTAL TIME: 3 – 5 Minutes
SERVES: 8 Glasses
MEAL-TYPE: Beverage
DIET-TYPE: Vegan, Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Organic Lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Organic Lemon
  • 8 Cups Purified Water

Directions:

  1. Mix 4 Tablespoon Organic Lemon juice with 4 Tablespoon Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and drink it right away.
  2. Drink 1 8oz glass of purified water right after you have consumed the mixture and wait 30 minutes
  3. After the 30 minutes, squeeze 1/2 lemon in the next 8oz glass of purified water and drink.
  4. Repeat this process 8 times throughout the day from step 1 to step 3 until symptoms improve or stones are eliminated.
  5. Other remedies you can take are Dandelion Root, Pomegranate Juice and you can even cook with kidney beans, Organic Celery and Basil because studies have shown that they all have an amazing cleansing effect on the kidneys.
  6. How to prevent kidney problems?
  7. Stay away from soda and energy drinks as these things often cause the formation of stones in the kidneys and give the kidneys a lot of work.

Other remedies you can take are Dandelion Root and Pomegranate Juice. You can even cook with kidney beans, Organic Celery and Basil because studies have shown that they all have an amazing cleansing effect on the kidneys.

How to prevent kidney problems?

Stay away from soda and energy drinks as these things often cause the formation of stones in the kidneys and give the kidneys a lot of work.

Drink plenty of clean, purified water, because top-water is known as hard water and is filled with extra minerals that may cause the workload on the kidneys to be heavy and difficult.
We wish you the best of success with your kidneys. Go to our home page here to learn more about Health Reform and Bible Studies

How do health care professionals treat kidney stones?

Health care professionals usually treat kidney stones based on their size, location, and what type they are.

Small kidney stones may pass through your urinary tract without treatment. If you’re able to pass a kidney stone, a health care professional may ask you to catch the kidney stone in a special container. A health care professional will send the kidney stone to a lab to find out what type it is. A health care professional may advise you to drink plenty of liquids if you are able to help move a kidney stone along. The health care professional also may prescribe pain medicine.

Larger kidney stones or kidney stones that block your urinary tract or cause great pain may need urgent treatment. If you are vomiting and dehydrated, you may need to go to the hospital and get fluids through an IV.

Kidney stone removal

A urologist can remove the kidney stone or break it into small pieces with the following treatments:

Shock wave lithotripsy. The doctor can use shock wave lithotripsy to blast the kidney stone into small pieces. The smaller pieces of the kidney stone then pass through your urinary tract. A doctor can give you anesthesia during this outpatient procedure.

Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy. During cystoscopy, the doctor uses a cystoscope to look inside the urethra and bladder to find a stone in your urethra or bladder. During ureteroscopy, the doctor uses a ureteroscope, which is longer and thinner than a cystoscope, to see detailed images of the lining of the ureters and kidneys. The doctor inserts the cystoscope or ureteroscope through the urethra to see the rest of the urinary tract. Once the stone is found, the doctor can remove it or break it into smaller pieces. The doctor performs these procedures in the hospital with anesthesia. You can typically go home the same day.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy. The doctor uses a thin viewing tool, called a nephroscope, to locate and remove the kidney stone. The doctor inserts the tool directly into your kidney through a small cut made in your back. For larger kidney stones, the doctor also may use a laser to break the kidney stones into smaller pieces. The doctor performs percutaneous nephrolithotomy in a hospital with anesthesia. You may have to stay in the hospital for several days after the procedure.

After these procedures, sometimes the urologist may leave a thin flexible tube, called a ureteral stent, in your urinary tract to help urine flow or a stone to pass. Once the kidney stone is removed, your doctor sends the kidney stone or its pieces to a lab to find out what type it is.

The health care professional also may ask you to collect your urine for 24 hours after the kidney stone has passed or been removed. The health care professional can then measure how much urine you produce in a day, along with mineral levels in your urine. You are more likely to form stones if you don’t make enough urine each day or have a problem with high mineral levels.

How to prevent kidney stones naturallyHealth care professionals usually treat kidney stones based on their size and what they are made of.

How can I prevent kidney stones?

To help prevent future kidney stones, you also need to know what caused your previous kidney stones. Once you know what type of kidney stone you had, a health care professional can help you make changes to your eating, diet, and nutrition to prevent future kidney stones.

Drinking liquids

In most cases, drinking enough liquids each day is the best way to help prevent most types of kidney stones. Drinking enough liquids keeps your urine diluted and helps flush away minerals that might form stones.

Though water is best, other liquids such as citrus drinks may also help prevent kidney stones. Some studies show that citrus drinks, such as lemonade and orange juice, protect against kidney stones because they contain citrate, which stops crystals from turning into stones.

Unless you have kidney failure, you should drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. If you previously had cystine stones, you may need to drink even more. Talk with a health care professional if you can’t drink the recommended amount due to other health problems, such as urinary incontinence, urinary frequency, or kidney failure.

The amount of liquid you need to drink depends on the weather and your activity level. If you live, work, or exercise in hot weather, you may need more liquid to replace the fluid you lose through sweat. A health care professional may ask you to collect your urine for 24 hours to determine the amount of urine you produce a day. If the amount of urine is too low, the health care professional may advise you to increase your liquid intake.

Medicines

If you have had a kidney stone, a health care professional also may prescribe medicines to prevent future kidney stones. Depending on the type of kidney stone you had and what type of medicine the health care professional prescribes, you may have to take the medicine for a few weeks, several months, or longer.

For example, if you had struvite stones, you may have to take an oral antibiotic for 1 to 6 weeks, or possibly longer.

If you had another type of stone, you may have to take a potassium citrate tablet 1 to 3 times daily. You may have to take potassium citrate for months or even longer until a health care professional says you are no longer at risk for kidney stones.

  • potassium citrate, which is used to raise the citrate and pH levels in urine
  • diuretics, often called water pills, help rid your body of water
  • allopurinol, which is used to treat high levels of uric acid in the body
  • potassium citrate
  • antibiotics, which are bacteria-fighting medications
  • acetohydroxamic acid, a strong antibiotic, used with another long-term antibiotic medication to prevent infection
  • mercaptopropionyl glycine, an antioxidant used for heart problems
  • potassium citrate

Talk with a health care professional about your health history prior to taking kidney stone medicines. Some kidney stone medicines have minor to serious side effects. Side effects are more likely to occur the longer you take the medicine and the higher the dose. Tell the health care professional about any side effects that occur when you take kidney stone medicine.

Hyperparathyroidism surgery

People with hyperparathyroidism, a condition that results in too much calcium in the blood, sometimes develop calcium stones. Treatment for hyperparathyroidism may include surgery to remove the abnormal parathyroid gland. Removing the parathyroid gland cures hyperparathyroidism and can prevent kidney stones. Surgery sometimes causes complications, including infection.

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

Kidney stones are no fun. But With the right foods, plenty of water, and proper medication, you can lower your chances of getting them.

Risk Factors for Kidney Stones

“Kidney stones” is a term that covers different types of small, solid crystals. They can have different causes and different food culprits. Some are related to kidney infections. Others form because you have too much of certain minerals in your system.

Genes can play a role, too. Forty percent of the people who get kidney stones have relatives who have them, too. Their bodies may get rid of too much calcium or too little citrate (a chemical found in citrus fruits) in their pee, for instance.

Other conditions that make kidney stones more likely include:

  • Obesity. When you’re overweight, you tend to get them more often. The same is true if you have diabetes.
  • Gout. This painful condition happens when uric acid builds up in your blood. That makes crystals form in your joints or kidneys.
  • Intestinal surgery. If you’ve had certain types of gastric bypass surgery or other intestinal surgery, your risk may go up. . It can raise calcium levels in your blood and trigger kidney stones.
  • Certain kidney diseases. One example is polycystic kidney disease, in which clusters of cysts grow in your kidneys. Another is medullary sponge kidney, a birth defect that causes cysts to form in the organ’s tubes.

Middle-aged men are most likely to get kidney stones, though it can happen to people of any age or sex.

Causes of Kidney Stones

Even if you’re in good health, your diet may encourage kidney stones to grow. One top reason is you may not be drinking enough water. That means you’ll make too little pee, which gives the stones more chances to form.

Other things to watch:

  • Colas. These beverages are high in fructose and phosphates, which may lead to kidney stones.
  • Oxalates. These are organic compounds found in a number of foods, including healthy ones such as spinach and sweet potatoes. But oxalates also bind easily to certain minerals, including calcium, which then help form kidney stones.
  • Salt (specifically, sodium). Lots of sodium, which you get mainly through salt, means more calcium in your pee. That ups your odds for kidney stones. Eating calcium-rich foods like kale and salmon is OK unless you also eat too much salt. Too little calcium in your diet may lead to kidney stones in certain people.
  • Vitamin C supplements. Be careful with these. Research has found high doses of vitamin C taken regularly can double a man’s chances for a kidney stone. There’s no need to worry about vitamin C in food.
  • Animal protein. Too many steaks, chicken, eggs, and seafood can build up calcium and uric acid in your body. That’s another cause of kidney stones.
  • Medications. Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can contribute to kidney stones, including antacids, certain antibiotics, decongestants, diuretics, steroids and certain medicines for cancer, HIV, and epilepsy.
  • Previous kidney stones. If you’ve had them once, you’re likely to get them again, unless you take steps.

What You Can Do to Prevent Kidney Stones

If you’ve already had a kidney stone, your doctor may recommend medication to keep it from happening again. What kind will depend on what caused the stone.

Also, take charge of your diet:

  • Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated, especially when you exercise.
  • Check food labels. Read the ingredients. Avoid or cut back on foods with high amounts of ingredients like sodium chloride, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium nitrate.
  • Choose foods wisely. Usually it’s good to get more spinach and nuts in your diet. But if you have calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common type, your doctor may tell you to avoid or limit foods high in oxalates:
  • Nuts, including almonds, cashews, pistachios, and peanuts
  • Soy products, including soy burgers, soy milk, and soy cheese
  • Oat and oat bran
  • Red kidney beans, navy beans, and fava beans
  • Beets, spinach, kale, and tomato

These foods are low in oxalates. Caution: Too much dairy food and animal protein can up your chances of less common types of kidney stones:

  • Grapes, melons, bananas
  • Cucumbers, cauliflower, cabbage, peas , milk, butter
  • Beef, bacon, chicken, ham
  • Eat citrus fruits. Lemons and limes are high in citrate, which helps prevent kidney stones.
  • Get plenty of calcium. Not enough calcium in your diet can lead to kidney stones. It’s better if you get it from food, like low-fat dairy products, rather than supplements.

Sources

Harvard Health Publications: “5 Steps for Preventing Kidney Stones.”

Mayo Clinic: “Diseases and Conditions: Kidney Stones,” “Polycystic kidney disease.”

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: “Diet for Kidney Stone Prevention.”

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (uwhealth.org): “Urology: Genetic Heritability For Kidney Stones, “Medication Contributors to Kidney Stones.”

American Kidney Fund: “Who is at risk for kidney stones?”

University of Utah Health Care: “Can Women Get Kidney Stones?”

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Kidney Stones Are on the Rise Among Youth, Especially in Females and African-Americans.”

National Kidney Foundation: “6 Easy Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones,” “Phosphorus and Your CKD Diet.”

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Directory listing of /health/Oxalate/files.”

Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: “Soda and other beverages and the risk of kidney stones.”

The Cleveland Clinic: “Kidney Stones: Oxalate-Controlled Diet.”

Urology: “Can Sexual Intercourse Be an Alternative Therapy for Distal Ureteral Stones? A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Study.”

JAMA Internal Medicine: “Ascorbic Acid Supplements and Kidney Stone Incidence Among Men: A Prospective Study.”

How to prevent kidney stones naturally

The current statistics state that 12% of the men and 5% of the women in the United States will be effected by kidney stones at some point in their lifetime. Kidney stones are very rarely fatal, but they are often extremely painful and can lead to a trip to the emergency room. Looking at those statistics, it is clear that not everyone is prone to kidney stones.

The recommendations made in this article are for those people who are prone to kidney stones or kidney related issues. Since writhing in pain followed by a trip to the hospital is generally not anyone’s idea of fun, lets talk about ways you can prevent getting a kidney stone in the first place.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are small crystals that can form at any location in the urinary tract. Stones have been found in the kidneys, bladder, ureter and the urethra. The small crystals will become larger, or several crystals will stick together to form larger crystals. Pain happens when the stones break away from their formation location and get lodged some place along the urinary tract either fully or partially blocking the flow or urine.

As far as we know, there are four kinds of kidney stones that can form. They are:

  • Calcium Stones – Calcium stones are the most common form of kidney stone to develop. These stones are composed of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Calcium oxalate stones form when there is too much calcium and oxalate being excreted through the urine. Calcium phosphate stones form when the PH of the urine is too high.
  • Uric Acid Stones – Uric acid is a substance that is formed when the body breaks down compounds called purines. Purines are found in meats, fish and shellfish. These purines will decrease the PH of the urine, making it consistently acidic which can lead to the formation of uric acid stones.
  • Struvite Stones – Struvite stones are formed due to an infection of the kidney. The infected stones must be removed, and the kidneys must be kept infection free to prevent future formation of struvite stones.
  • Cystine Stones – Cystine stones are formed due to a genetic disorder that allows cystine to leak through the kidney walls into the urine. Cystine is an amino acid that is the least soluble of all the amino acids. This means that it will crystallize in the kidneys causing stones instead of being flushed out.

How Do I Prevent Kidney Stones?

Knowing which kind of stone you have is the first step to healing and prevention. If you have a uric acid stone, reducing the amount of oxalate containing foods you consume may not solve your problem.

Struvite stones and Cystine stones develop due to an infection or a genetic mutation. Both of these types of stones will need medical attention and direction for future prevention.

The calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate and uric acid stones are the ones that can be prevented through lifestyle.

There are some general guidelines that can help with almost all kidney stones, and then there are some specific recommendations for each type as well.

General Tips For Prevention:

  • Stay Hydrated – Being adequately hydrated every day is essential for the prevention of kidney stones. When you are hydrated you will literally be flushing out your kidneys on a more frequent basis, which can help to wash away crystals before they form large stones. Eating lots of water rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber and celery can also be helpful in flushing out the kidneys.
  • Maintain or achieve a healthy weight for your body – Being overweight is one of the most common risk factors for stone development. This does not mean you should go on a crash diet in an attempt to get your weight down. Just begin to alter your lifestyle in a way that supports overall health and you will reduce your risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Eat a Diet High In Fruits and Vegetables – Studies have shown that the same diet that helps to prevent heart disease; one that is rich in produce, fibre and water, and low or void of vegetable oils can help to reduce the risk of kidney stone development as well.

Recommendations for Specific Kidney Stones

When you know exactly which type of stone you are prone to developing, you can use the following information to tailor your lifestyle to prevent their formation.

Calcium Oxalate Stones:

  • Reduce the amount of high oxalate foods you consume: Spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, wheat bran and some nuts are best eaten in moderation if you are prone to producing oxalate stones.
  • Consume adequate dietary calcium: You do not need to reduce the amount of calcium you consume as calcium from food does not increase your risk of forming calcium oxalate stones. It is in fact important to get enough calcium in your diet to prevent the formation of stones. Foods like broccoli, sesame seeds and almonds are all excellent options to get a boost of calcium in your diet.
  • Reduce your sodium consumption: Reducing your sodium intake is a good idea when trying to prevent calcium oxalate stones. Excess sodium in the diet will cause the kidneys to excrete more calcium through the urine, increasing the chances that it will bind with oxalates to form a stone. To reduce sodium, avoid adding salt to your food. Another way to reduce sodium is to use Himalayan salt which is composed of 84 minerals, rather than just the sodium chloride found in table salt. Avoid processed meats, luncheon meats, canned foods and processed frozen foods as all of these items contain high amounts of hidden sodium. Look for the words MSG, sodium bicarbonate, disodium phosphate, sodium alginate, sodium nitrate and other secret names for sodium.
  • Reduce animal protein consumption: Animal proteins can cause an increase in the excretion of calcium in the urine leading to calcium stones.

Calcium Phosphate Stones:

  • Avoid Excess Sodium: The biggest thing you can do to reduce the risk of forming calcium phosphate stones is to avoid excess sodium. Follow the points made above about reducing sodium to avoid calcium oxalate stones.
  • Reduce animal protein consumption: Reducing your consumption of animal proteins is also important for reducing the risk of calcium phosphate stones.

Uric Acid Stones:

  • Reduce high purine animal protein consumption: Reducing animal protein consumption is the most important thing you can do to prevent uric acid stones. Animal protein foods contain compounds called purines, which break down to produce uric acid. This uric acid overly acidified the urine and over time can lead to the formation of uric acid stones. Foods highest in purines are organ meats, red meats, eggs and fish.

Recipes to Help You Pass a Kidney Stone

Warm water with lemon juice is a go-to if you’re having trouble with kidney stones. Try staying hydrated throughout the day and add extra lemon juice if you feel you’re passing a stone.