Portneuf Health Partners

March 28th, 2019

Preventing Kidney Stones through What You Eat

If you have ever experienced a kidney stone, you will do whatever it takes to prevent them from forming again. Kidneys act like the filtration system of the body, they process 190 quarts of blood per day and eliminate excess water.

“When we have too high a concentration of various substances and minerals in the urine, tiny crystals will form, which are the beginning of a kidney stone,” said Jason Orien, MD, Portneuf Urology. “The concentration of these substances in the urine depends on several factors including how much fluid we drink, foods we eat, medications we take, and various disorders of the GI tract or parathyroid gland.”

According to Dr. Orien, here are some way to help prevent kidney stones:

  • Drink more water. Aim to drink 100 oz. of fluid per day, preferably water.
  • Control your salt intake. Foods such as bread, pizza and processed foods typically contain high amounts of sodium; this may lead to kidney stone formation.
  • Increase your citrate intake. Citric acid will minimize your risk of developing kidney stones. Lemons and limes have the most citric acid; it may be beneficial to make a homemade lemonade.
  • Regulate your calcium intake. Keep your calcium intake at a normal level, without taking too much or having too little.

“I often recommend patients add lemon juice to their water, and in some cases prescribe medication that contains citrate,” said Dr.Orien.

The symptoms of a kidney stone may include flank pain (discomfort in your upper abdomen, back and sides), blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, sometimes fever or an increase in frequency of urination. Kidney stones are typically diagnosed with a CT scan, ultrasound or x-ray. If you feel the symptoms of a kidney stone, please see your primary care physician. If you are feeling severe pain, fever or chills, go to the emergency room.

Some kidney stones will pass on their own without surgery. Others, depending on the size of the stone and severity of symptoms, may require more aggressive treatment. Kidney stones may not be life-threatening, but can lead to an infection in the urinary system or lead to sepsis.