Eat Right To Avoid Kidney Stones
If you've ever had a kidney stone, there's no doubt you're highly motivated to avoid a repeat experience. Fortunately, making changes to your diet may help prevent these stones.
Learning how the stones are formed and answers to key questions regarding this condition can help you avoid the pain of a recurrence.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are hard masses, or stones, that form from crystals in the urine. Most people have chemicals in their urine that keep these masses from developing. However, this protective factor doesn't work for some people, who have an increased risk for stones.
Most stones pass out of the body unnoticed, but others can cause extreme pain and may require medical intervention.
What are the symptoms of a kidney stone?
Extreme pain in the back and side are often the first indication of a kidney stone. Other symptoms include:
What changes can I make to my diet to reduce kidney stones' occurrence?
The required changes depend on the type of stones you have. Your doctor can determine the stones' nature through urine and blood tests. For example:
Calcium oxalate stones form when urine is acidic, and they are the most common. If you're plagued by this type of stone, you may want to avoid foods high in oxalate, such as rhubarb, spinach, beets, Swiss chard, wheat germ, peanuts, okra, chocolate, black Indian tea, and sweet potatoes. Your doctor may ask you to cut back on salt or calcium, too.
Uric acid stones can form when the urine is acidic from eating too much animal protein and purines - substances common in organ meats, fish, and shellfish.
In addition, following the DASH diet is an effective way to ward off kidney stones, according to a study of more than 240,000 men and women published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains, and low in salt, red and processed meats, and sweetened beverages.
Are there other steps I can take?
Drink plenty of water - enough to produce at least two quarts of urine a day. According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, drinking enough water is the most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones.
(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology - DASH-Style Diet Associates with Reduced Risk for Kidney Stones
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
National Kidney Foundation
Stomach Pain Can Be Serious
Everyone gets an upset stomach now and then. For a mild stomachache, sipping water and avoiding solid foods for a few hours may help. You may even prevent run-of-the-mill stomachaches by exercising and drinking plenty of water. Eating smaller, more frequent meals is another solution.
On the other hand, some stomach pains could be signs of a problem that needs your doctor's attention. For example:
Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen can be a sign of appendicitis, or an inflamed appendix.
Extreme, cramping pain in the back and lower abdomen could point to a kidney stone.
Pain in the upper right abdomen that increases rapidly and lasts from 30 minutes to several hours may signal gallstones.
If you have abdominal pain as well as changes in your bowel habits, the problem might be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People with IBS feel less pain after they have a bowel movement. Make sure to mention your symptoms to your doctor.