The American College of Physicians (ACP) tells people who have a history of renal stones how to avoid getting them in future. A fairly common problem affecting almost 7% women and 13% men in the USA at least once during their lifetime, kidney stones can make life unbearable because of pain and other complications. Some stones require medicines, surgical procedures and even sound waves to be expelled from the body. Some kidney stones can cause bleeding and kidney damage in addition to debilitating pain.
Kidney stones are formed when tiny crystals in urine (calcium, phosphorus and other minerals or salts) come together and form hard deposits. If not treated, at least one third of the people who get stones are likely to get them again within the next five years.
The ACP however specifies that increasing fluid intake could help prevent formation of such stones. People drinking at least two liters of water a day ca decrease the chances of getting a renal stone again by half.
“Increased fluid intake spread throughout the day can decrease stone recurrence by at least half with virtually no side effects but people who already drink the recommended amount of liquids, or when increased fluid intake is contraindicated, should not increase their fluid intake,” David Fleming, president of the ACP said in a release.
Almost all fluids can help, with the exception of colas. They have been found to be associated with the recurrence of kidney stones. “There is no evidence found though whether water tap is better than a bottled mineral water in reducing risk of kidney stone,” it said.
Reducing intake of colas and dietary protein can further help cut down the chances of getting kidney stones again and again. Reducing dietary animal protein and purines (compounds that break down into uric acid), and maintaining normal dietary calcium can also help avoid formation of renal stones.
However, the ACP noted that “the quality of available research varies, and studies comparing one treatment with another are limited.” If increased fluid intake does not help, affected people can try medicines like thiazide diuretic, citrate or allopurinol. This is an excerpt from the new guidelines released by the American College of Physicians and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
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There are different kinds of kidney stones. If you have a kidney stone, you should try to trap it as it passes and get it analyzed by your doctor to determine what kind of stone(s) you are having. If the stone is calcium oxalate, the best way to prevent recurrence is to take magnesium supplements. Don’t reduce your calcium intake. And do be careful not to take too much magnesium as it can cause diarrhea. I took 400mg of Magnesium daily for years after my third kidney stone and it has prevented recurrence. Recently, however, I figured out that the Magnesium was causing my too-loose-stools, so I cut my intake to 200mg daily. We’ll see if that dosage still prevents recurrence. Also, as the article says, you should increase your water intake. But I’m not sure about cutting out foods with oxalate — the foods they list (spinach, wheat bran, nuts, etc.) have other health benefits that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.