Kidney Stone Disease

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys, made of mineral and acid salts.

Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract from your kidneys to your bladder. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.

Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but the stones usually cause no permanent damage.

Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances surgery may be needed.

Are Kidney Stone Preventable?

There are diet, nutrition and medication considerations that may reduce your chances of developing kidney stones.

Drink more water. More water = more urine. Less urine from not enough water means your urine is concentrated and less likely to dissolve the salts that cause stones. You can tell whether you’re hydrated by looking at the color of your urine — it should be clear or pale yellow. If it’s dark, you need to drink more.

Lemonade and orange juice are also good options. They both contain citrate, which may prevent stones from forming.

Eat calcium-rich foods
Even though the most common type of kidney stone is the calcium oxalate stone, a low-calcium diets increases your kidney stone risk and your risk of osteoporosis.

Eat your calcium. Supplements may actually increase your risk of stones. Low-fat milk, low-fat cheese, and low-fat yogurt are all good calcium-rich food options.

Reduce Sodium
A high-salt diet increases your risk of kidney stones. Too much salt in the urine prevents calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine to the blood. This causes high urine calcium, which may lead to kidney stones. Eating less salt helps keep urine calcium levels lower. The lower the urine calcium, the lower the risk of developing kidney stones.

Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods
Oxalate is a natural compound found in foods that serves to bind with calcium in the urine to form kidney stones, if you are predisposed to kidney stones you may want to limit your intake of:

  • spinach
  • chocolate
  • sweet potatoes
  • coffee
  • beets
  • peanuts
  • rhubarb
  • soy products
  • wheat bran

Consume less animal protein
Animal protein is acidic and may increase urine acid. High urine acid may cause both uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones.

Avoid vitamin C supplements
Get your vitamin C from food. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) supplementats may cause kidney stones, especially in men. A 2013 study found that men who took high doses of vitamin C supplements doubled their risk of forming a kidney stone.

Some medications can contribute to kidney stones. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from recurring kidney stones and are taking:

  • decongestants
  • diuretics
  • protease inhibitors
  • anticonvulsants
  • steroids
  • chemotherapy drugs
  • uricosuric drugs

The longer you take these drugs, the higher your risk of kidney stones. If you’re taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor about other medication options. You shouldn’t stop taking any prescribed medications without your doctor’s approval.

If you suffer with painful recurring kidney stones, there is help available to you – give us a call.

Advanced Urology Centers of New York – Manhattan / Lexington Avenue

Dr. Jed Kaminetsky, M.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU Medical Center and a Board Certified Urologist. His work has been published in many medical journals which led to a nationwide recognition and development of various treatment schemes for patients with sexual and erectile dysfunction.

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