If you’ve had a kidney stone in the past, it’s especially essential to work to prevent future kidney stones. About 15 percent of people who suffer from kidney stones will experience another stone within a year.
How can you prevent kidney stones?
The most important way to prevent kidney stones, especially during the summer, is to increase your water intake. Try to drink between 10 and 12 glasses of water every day. At the same time, decrease or eliminate your soda consumption, opting for water every time you want a soda. Be conscious of your animal protein intake and try to not eat more than 12 ounces of meat a day. Perhaps the trickiest part of this preventive regimen is calcium. Approximately 80 percent of kidney stones are deposits of calcium oxalate. If you currently have or have had calcium stones, talk to your doctor about how much calcium you should consume. Too much or too little calcium can prompt a kidney stone.
How do you treat kidney stones?
Most kidney stones pass through you without complications. It can take between a single day and a few weeks for a kidney stone to pass after you notice symptoms. Although kidney stones can feel horrible, most of the time they cause no other issues. Occasionally, the stones are too large to pass. Doctors treat these stones with one of three methods: shock waves or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, ureteroscope or tunnel surgery. The shock waves methods send shockwaves through your body, shattering the stone into little bits that pass more easily. The ureteroscope sends a tiny camera up the urethra, capturing and taking out the stone with a small cage. Lastly, tunnel surgery involves the surgeon making a tunnel from your back through your skin to the kidney, and removing the stone.
While kidney stones sound unnerving and definitely cause pain, you can take strides to prevent them with simple steps, like drinking plenty of water. Next time you head for the great outdoors, choose a bottle of water (or two!) over a soda and know that you’re protecting your body. St. Luke’s Health emergency rooms are always open to be there for you when minutes matter.
WSJ - Summertime, and Risk Grows for Kidney Stones