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Understanding Kidney Stones -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones?

You can do many things to help prevent a recurrence of kidney stones. Knowing the stone's specific mineral composition can help determine which preventive steps are most likely to reduce your risk of getting another kidney stone. Check with your health care provider before making any major changes in your diet, but these general guidelines may help.

  • Drink 2 to 3 quarts of liquid every day. Drinking plenty of fluid is probably the most important way to prevent future stones since this will dilute the mineral concentration in your urine. Ask your health care provider how much fluid is right for you, especially if you have other medical conditions or take any medicines.  
  • Limit your intake of oxalate-rich foods such as chocolate, nuts, spinach, beets, and tea. This may be suggested if you have had recurrent kidney stones.
  • Limit vitamin C to less than 2 grams a day. It may convert to oxalate in the body, though it is not known if vitamin C increases the risk of stones.
  • Reduce your salt intake to no more than 2400 mg a day since higher amounts may raise the level of calcium in your urine. Your health care provider may recommend even lower amounts if you have certain medical conditions.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in animal protein.
  • Get to or maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.

Do not restrict calcium unless your health care providers advises you to do so. A moderate amount of calcium in the diet has been shown to be best for most people. Restricting calcium may actually increase the risk of stones in some people.

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Understanding Kidney Stones -- the Basics

Kidney stones are created when certain substances in urine -- including calcium, oxalate, and sometimes uric acid -- crystallize. These minerals and salts form crystals, which can then join together and form a kidney stone. Kidney stones usually form within the kidney, where urine collects before flowing into the ureter, the tube that leads to the bladder. Small kidney stones are able to pass out of the body in the urine -- and may go completely unnoticed by you. But larger stones can irritate...

Read the Understanding Kidney Stones -- the Basics article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 31, 2014

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