If you have been through a bout with a kidney stone in the past or think you might be a candidate for developing one, you should do your best to beat the odds by trying the home remedies listed below.
Drink more than your fill. Increasing your fluid intake should be your first step (and may be the only step needed) toward staying free of kidney stones. Six to eight 8-ounce glasses is the minimum amount you should drink every day. While water is always a good choice, other caffeine-free and nonalcoholic beverages count (although your doctor may caution you about drinking too much decaffeinated tea if you produce a high concentration of oxalates in your urine).
Check it out. Sometimes, it's not easy to keep track of how much fluid you've taken in during the course of the day. That's why measuring your urine output may provide a better indication of your fluid intake. (Pharmacies generally carry measuring devices that fit right inside the toilet bowl.) During a typical day, your body should produce 40 to 45 ounces of urine.
Go easy on oxalates. Eating large quantities of fruits and vegetables provides you with lots of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients; however, some of these foods also provide oxalates, which you may need to go easy on if you have a tendency toward kidney-stone formation.
People prone to forming calcium-oxalate stones may be asked by their doctor to cut back on the following foods if their urine contains an excess of oxalate: Beets, chocolate, coffee, cola, nuts, parsley, peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, tea, and wheat bran. But don't completely avoid these foods without first talking to your doctor. In most cases, these foods can be eaten in limited amounts.
"C" less. Although some regard it as a wonder vitamin, in very high doses -- more than 3,000 milligrams daily -- vitamin C can be a potential problem for those who tend to form kidney stones. That's because the body converts this vitamin to oxalate. If you have had a kidney stone, your safest bet is to get your vitamin C from foods, not high-dose supplements. (Vitamin C is essential -- the Recommended Dietary Allowance for men is 90 mg a day and for women, 75 mg a day -- so don't think of trying to go without it.)
Eat less meat and certain fish. Individuals who form uric-acid stones are usually found to eat diets high in animal protein. Animal protein can accelerate formation of uric acid and calcium in the urine, which may, in turn, cause stones to form. So try to moderate your meat intake.
Uric acid also forms when purines in protein foods are broken down. If you suffer from uric-acid stones, you also may need to cut back on protein, particularly foods high in purine. Some of these foods include anchovies, fish roe, herring, mackerel, mussels, sardines, and shrimp. Other foods high in purine to watch out for include beer, brains, heart, kidney, liver, sweetbreads, and wine. Of course, high-protein fad diets should also be avoided.
. One of the many benefits of regular exercise is that it facilitates the passage of calcium out of the bloodstream and into the bones. The result: stronger bones and less risk of stone formation. If you need one more reason to lace up those walking shoes, recalling the anguish of a kidney stone may be a great motivator.
Don't oversoothe your tummy. Some over-the-counter antacids are calcium based (indeed, some people use them primarily as calcium supplements). Check the label, and if the word "calcium" appears there, you may need to select another type of stomach medication (again, confirm this with your doctor).
Home remedies from your kitchen can also prevent kidney stones from inflicting their pain on you. Learn about these remedies in the next section.
For more information about treating disorders of the kidney and gallbladder, try the following links:
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.