Folks who’ve had a kidney stone often describe it as the worst pain you’ll ever experience. And that includes moms who have gone through natural childbirth.
Kidney stones often hit without any warning. They form quietly and can hang out in your kidneys for years without you having a clue they’re there.
But then one can slide into place, blocking your ureter, and suddenly you’re in excruciating pain.
Prevent kidney stones in five steps
These five common sense tips can help you prevent kidney stones from forming in the first place. Or if you’ve had them in the past, they could help you avoid another one.
1. Drink plenty of water:
Staying hydrated is the easiest and most effective way to prevent kidney stones. It’s also one of the most overlooked ones. When you’re in the middle of a busy, hectic day it’s easy to forget to drink.
Make it a habit to drink water and other hydrating beverages throughout the day. Feel free to include an occasional glass of orange juice in the mix. The juice contains a chemical called citrate, which can keep stones from forming. But remember that OJ is high in sugar, so don’t indulge too often.
To train yourself to keep drinking try setting a timer as a reminder to refill your glass. Eventually it will become second nature. Your goal is for your urine to stay pale yellow to clear.
2. Eat calcium-rich foods:
Many folks think the way to prevent kidney stones is to slash calcium from their diet. But the exact opposite is true. In fact, a diet low in calcium can increase your risk for kidney stones, not decrease it.
Plus it can put you at risk for other health problems from chest pains to muscle spasms.
But if you’re prone to stones unless a doctor has recommended calcium supplements, skip them. Instead, increase your calcium by eating more calcium-rich foods such as yogurt and leafy greens. And be sure to get plenty of vitamin D to help your body use the calcium efficiently.
3. Monitor the drugs you’re taking:
Some over the counter drugs, as well as prescription medications, can raise your risk for kidney stones. Decongestants and diuretics can concentrate your urine causing it to become more acidic. This can lead to kidney stones forming.
Certain prescription meds can raise your risk too, including…
- protease inhibitors
- chemotherapy drugs
The longer you’re on any of the drugs the higher your risk for kidney stones is.
Go ahead and curb your use of over the counter drugs. But remember you should never stop taking a prescription med without your doctor’s okay. Instead, ask if you still need to be on the drug and if there are any alternatives.
To counter the effects of any drugs you’re taking you might want to consider the herbal remedy Chanca Piedra. Herbal experts say this tropical plant can help prevent kidney stones and reduce the size of existing stones. Chanca Piedra is available in capsules, extracts and teas.
4. Stop binging and fasting:
Eating oversized meals or binge eating can lead to concentrated urine, a risk factor for kidney stones. Plus binging and fasting, or yo-yo dieting, can cause your urine to become more acidic leading to stones.
Instead, eat healthy, modest meals with lots of organic veggies to help fill you up.
5. Lower your sodium:
If you’re prone to stones, or they run in your family, you’ll want to watch your salt intake. The Urology Care Foundation reports that too much salt in your urine can keep your body from processing calcium, leading to kidney stones.
To help prevent kidney stones try to reduce your sodium levels to 1500 mg per day, or less. And remember many processed foods are full of hidden junk sodium. Swap out the packaged foods for fresh ingredients and homemade meals.
Follow these five common sense tips to help prevent kidney stones and the excruciating pain that can come with them.