Whilst the appearance of some kidney stones does not have an obvious underlying cause, there are certain steps which you can take to reduce the likelihood of kidney stones forming, if you know that you are susceptible to them.
Here are a few of the preventative measures which can help to decrease your likelihood of being affected by kidney stones.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of kidney stones, as water helps to dilute the urine and prevent large mineral deposits from attaching themselves to the lining of the kidneys.
The average person should try to drink around 2 liters of water per day if they want to ensure that their kidneys stay properly hydrated. If you are hot or sweating a lot of any other reason, you should increase your fluid intake to help to counterbalance the fluid which is being lost from your body in your sweat.
Limit Animal Proteins
Proteins from animal sources (red meat, fish, eggs and seafood) are known to increase the levels of uric acid found in the kidneys, because of a natural compound which they contain called purine.
Increasing the levels of acidity in the kidneys is conducive to the formation of kidney stones. If you know that you are susceptible to kidney stones, it is advised that you limit your daily levels of animal protein consumption to a quantity of meat or fish no larger than the size of an average pack of cards.
Because build-ups of uric acid prove conducive to kidney stone formation, doctors believe that changing the pH balance of the urine using chemicals or natural supplements can help to reduce the likelihood of kidney stones forming.
Compounds such as sodium bicarbonate, potassium citrate, and magnesium citrate may be used to do this. As well as helping to alkalinize the urine, some of these supplements can also help to increase the citrate level in the kidneys, as mentioned below.
Consume Citrates and Citric Acid
Citric acid is thought to be beneficial for people who are susceptible to kidney stones because it helps to create less favorable conditions in your kidneys for kidney stone growth. It can inhibit the formation of stones and help to break up smaller stones as they begin to form. The citric acid can help to coat small stones and prevent extra calcium from binding onto it and increasing its size.
Whilst some people are given tablets containing citrates to help to treat urinary problems, citric acid is also available from natural sources. Lemons and limes have the highest concentrations of citric acid, whilst oranges, grapefruits and many sorts of berries also have appreciable amounts.
Eat Fewer Oxalate-Rich Foods
Oxalate can prevent your body from absorbing calcium properly and it can join with excess calcium in your kidneys to form calcium oxalate stones. Reducing your intake of oxalates can help to reduce the likelihood of stones forming. Foods which are rich in oxalates include beetroot, chocolate, soy, rhubarb, spinach and shard.