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    Kidney Stone Prevention and Management: Tips for Healthy Living

    Kidney Stone Prevention and Management: Tips for Healthy Living

    May 24, 2024

    If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, chances are you already know how painful it can be to pass it. The incidence of kidney stones today is higher than ever before, which is why it becomes important to be aware of the risk factors beforehand and prevent them from occurring. Statistically speaking, if you have had a kidney stone once, your chances of recurrence go up by 50% in the upcoming 15 years. In this medical guide, we will discuss ways in which you can prevent kidney stones and some kidney stone management techniques for passing them as smoothly as possible.

    What is a Kidney Stone?

    A kidney stone is a hard mass of minerals in a person’s urine that crystallises over time. In most people, natural chemicals aid in kidney stone prevention. Kidney stones mostly form due to accumulation of calcium or uric acid. Kidney stones can vary widely in size, ranging from the size of a grain of salt to the size of a golf ball (rarely).

    Depending on the size of the kidney stone(s), you may or may not experience any symptoms. While smaller kidney stones may pass through your urinary tract without any side effects or symptoms, larger-sized kidney stones cause significant challenges in removal through natural orifices. This can impact your kidney’s ability to filter waste from the body and can even lead to bleeding.

    When you develop a kidney stone, it may take up to three weeks to pass one stone naturally. Even smaller-sized kidney stones can cause pain while passing through the urinary tract. In many cases, you need medical intervention to remove a stone that doesn’t pass on its own.

    How to Treat Kidney Stones?

    If you have smaller-sized kidney stones, your healthcare provider may monitor your symptoms and prescribe medicines to help you pass the stones comfortably. For larger stones that are causing blockage, your healthcare provider may recommend alternative kidney stone treatment to break up or remove it. Such alternative treatment is usually undergoing surgery to assist you in passing them naturally by breaking them down or removing them altogether.

    The type of procedure that may be recommended for surgery may depend on a few factors, such as the size and the location of the kidney stones. Your urologist may recommend one of the following types of surgical treatment for your symptoms.

    • Shockwave Lithotripsy

    In this kidney stone treatment, the doctor uses shock waves to break apart the stones from the outside of your body. Upon fragmentation, the stones can move through your urinary tract and out of your body smoothly.

    • Ureteroscopy

    This is a minimally invasive method of kidney stone management which involves inserting a scope through your urinary bladder and urethra, and into your ureter. The surgeon then passes surgical instruments through the scope to break down and remove the stones through the urinary tract.

    • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

    This procedure may be recommended when other methods of treatment fail to work for your kidney stones. During a percutaneous nephrolithotomy, the surgeon inserts a tube directly into the kidney via an incision made in your back. Upon accessing the area where the kidney stones have formed, they use an ultrasound probe to break down the stones and remove them.

    • Laparoscopic Surgery

    This is another minimally invasive procedure for kidney stone removal, which involves making a small incision to remove the stone.

    Tips for Kidney Stone Prevention

    What you eat significantly impacts your chances of having a kidney stone. Making small changes in your diet can help you reduce your risk of developing a kidney stone as well as prevent recurrence. Here are some of the best tips to manage kidney stones and prevent future recurrence.

    1. Drink Water – The More, The Better!

    The key to good kidney health is drinking ample amounts of water. If you already have a kidney stone, the best way to prevent further stones is by drinking more and more fluids. Drinking enough water and taking fluids helps dilute the urine, so crystals can’t clump together to form stones.

    People who have had kidney stones should drink 2 litres of water and fluids every day, which translates to roughly 8 glasses a day. If you’re working or living in hot and humid weather, you

    should increase your fluid intake. To aid in preventing crystals from clumping together, squeeze in some citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, and grapefruit, in your drink. You can also substitute your water intake by drinking orange juice.

    2. Limit Sodium Intake

    Consuming a high sodium (Na) diet can increase the amount of calcium in your diet. This can trigger kidney stone formation in people who are already at risk. By reducing your sodium intake, you also take care of your blood pressure as high blood pressure can narrow down blood vessels, reducing blood flow through the blood vessels in the kidneys. Over time, it can build pressure and cause renal failure.

    3. Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

    While it may not seem like a good idea, especially if you have already had calcium-oxalate stones, consuming healthy sources of calcium can be beneficial to you; however, the same cannot be said about supplements. You should consume about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium from different sources, like dairy products, soy products, beans, seeds, fortified tofu, and some green vegetables such as kale and broccoli.

    4. Watch Your Oxalate

    High levels of oxalate can aid in kidney stone formation. Sadly, it is found in many healthy foods, like spinach, beets, nuts, and soy. If you’re confused about which foods to avoid to limit oxalate consumption, you can talk to a certified dietitian.

    5. Steer Clear of Vitamin C Supplements

    It may surprise you that vitamin C supplements can also increase the risk of developing kidney stones. However, such findings have not been seen as consistent with natural sources of vitamin C, so you can go for them instead.

    6. Cut Back on Animal Proteins

    Consuming too much animal protein can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. This doesn’t just include red meat exclusively but is also applicable to meat from chicken, pork, fish, and eggs. This necessarily doesn’t insinuate that you should become a vegetarian! Seek consultation with a certified dietitian to understand which other protein sources you can consume or how much animal protein you can take.

    Kidney Stone Treatment in Bangalore at Apollo Hospitals, Karnataka

    Having kidney stones and passing them can be excruciatingly painful. It can occur in anyone, irrespective of gender and age. It can be hard navigating through the numerous restrictions on your diet, but you don’t have to go through it alone! Find the best doctor for kidney stone treatment at Apollo Hospitals, Bangalore, where our urologists, nephrologists, and dietitians work closely with the patients to provide a specially curated kidney stone prevention and treatment plan. Our individualised treatments focus on managing existing kidney problems with minimally invasive treatments. Consult our best urologists to get a comprehensive assessment of your kidney problems for world-class kidney stone management and prevention.

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