About a week or so ago, we spent five hours at the ER because my hubby was passing a kidney stone and was in the worse pain he had ever felt in his life. For those of you that have been through it, or have has a family member go through it, you know what I’m talking about. When the stone is passing through the urethra is the most painful part of the process, and might be just as painful as birthing a child. I say might, because I birthed and child and that process was not a picnic.
Kidney stonesare made of salts and other minerals in the urine that stick together to form small "pebbles." These stones can form in the kidneys, the ureters (the tubes that lead from the kidneys to the bladder), or the bladder. Stones are usually not a problem as long as they stay in the kidneys, but they may cause sudden, severe pain as they travel from the kidneys to the bladder. They can block the flow of urine and cause bleeding.
Kidney stones are going to happen if you are prone to having them form, but today I am going to talk about ways to less your chances.
1) Healthy Diet – Well it’s not groundbreaking news that you need to have a better diet in order to lessen your chances of getting a kidney stone. The most common types of kidney stones are calcium and oxalate and each type may require a different eating plan. If you had a calcium kidney stone, it may help to: Eat less salt and salty foods. One way to do this is to avoid processed foods and limit how often you eat at restaurants. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how much calcium you need every day. Try to get your calcium from food, rather than from supplements. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all good sources of calcium. If you had an oxalate kidney stone, your doctor may ask you to limit certain foods that have a lot of oxalate, such as dark green vegetables, nuts, and chocolate. You don't have to give up these foods, just eat or drink less of them.
2) Increase your Water intake – Drink lots and lots and LOTS of water. Not drinking enough fluids can cause the minerals and other things in the urine to stick together and form a stone. Try drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day
3) A glass of lemonade a day keeps the doctor away - Drink lemonade made from real lemons (not lemon flavoring). It is high in citrate, which may help prevent kidney stones.
4) Make Sure You Get Adequate Magnesium – Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body, and deficiency of this mineral has been linked to kidney stones. It also plays an important role in your body's absorption and assimilation of calcium, as if you consume too much calcium without adequate magnesium, the excess calcium can actually become toxic and contribute to health conditions like kidney stones. Magnesium helps prevent calcium from combining with oxalate, which is the most common type of kidney stone.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, and one of the simplest ways to make sure you're consuming enough of these is by juicing your vegetables. Vegetable juice is an excellent source of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts like almonds, and seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. Avocadoes are also a good source. However, surveys suggest that many Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diets.
5) Soda is EL DIABLO. As well as sugar and high fructose diets – My hubby was unable to catch the stone when it passed, which is unfortunate because if you do, you can get it analyzed so that you can see what type of food was causing your kidney stones, but the doctor and I suspected it was the amount of soda that my husband was drinking. Between the carbonation and the sugars in soda, it was enough to form quite a few kidney stones in my hubby’s kidneys, he’s lucky he really only had one. I can go into this even more on how horrible soda is to your health, but that will be another blog on its own.
Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body by interfering with calcium and magnesium absorption. The consumption of unhealthy sugars and soda by children is a large factor in why children as young as age five or six are now developing kidney stones. One South African study2 found that drinking soda exacerbates conditions in your urine that lead to formation of calcium oxalate kidney stone problems. Sugar can also increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in your kidney, such as the formation of kidney stones.
6) Get your Booty off the Couch! - You're more prone to kidney stones if you're bedridden or very sedentary for a long period of time, partly because limited activity can cause your bones to release more calcium. Exercise will also help you to resolve high blood pressure, a condition that doubles your risk for kidney stones.