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'Drink, drink, drink': Doctor shares 3 tips to prevent kidney stones |

Health And Family

'Drink, drink, drink': Doctor shares 3 tips to prevent kidney stones

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
'Drink, drink, drink': Doctor shares 3 tips to prevent kidney stones
Water helps flush out harmful substances from the kidneys
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MANILA, Philippines — Kidney stones range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball and can cause excruciating pain on either side of the back or abdomen. The pain can sometimes be so unbearable that the hospital seems to be the only place to go for relief.

Between groans and screams brought about by unimaginable pain, one may wonder how a stone can put one through such agony and how it gets into the kidneys in the first place.

“Also known as renal calculi, kidney stones are irregularly shaped solid masses of minerals and salts that form around your urinary tract, which is made up of your two kidneys, bladder, urethra and ureters,” said Eladio Miguel M. Peñaranda Jr., MD, Department Chair of Nephrology in Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed).

Medical conditions, certain prescription drugs, and what you eat cause kidney stones to form.

“Calcium stones develop from consuming too much potato chips, peanuts, chocolates and spinach. Stones formed from uric acid are due to a diet rich in purine, a substance found in seafood and meat.  People prone to urinary tract infections tend to get kidney stones made of the phosphate mineral struvite. And a rare genetic disorder called cystinuria produces kidney stones made of the amino acid cystine,” continued Dr. Peñaranda. 

If the kidney stones are tiny enough, one will not even know they’re there and they can pass through the urinary tract without feeling a thing. But at a certain size, they can get lodged in the ureter, which is the narrow passageway that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder.

“It takes about a day or two for a kidney stone smaller than 4 millimeters to exit your ureter, and at least two weeks before you can pee stones larger than 4 millimeters,” the doctor explained.

Apart from the unbearable pain on the lower back or side of the body, other symptoms of trapped kidney stones include nausea or vomiting, fever or chills, and issues with urinating — from the presence of blood in the urine, a foul odor, or cloudiness in the pee, to the need to urinate frequently or not being able to urinate at all.

 X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds can detect if the symptoms are caused by kidney stones. Medications can help manage pain and nausea, and also allow the ureter to relax so it can pass the stone. “Should you need surgery, doctors perform a minimally invasive procedure involving small incisions and shockwaves to break up the stones,” said Dr. Peñaranda.

If an individual has high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, gout, or a family history of kidney stones, he or she is at risk of developing them. Lower the chance of developing kidney stones by following these simple suggestions from MakatiMed:

Drink, drink, drink

Water is not the only liquid that doctors recommend. Lemon juice contains citrate, which helps prevent kidney stones from forming. The point is to keep constantly hydrated so one can pee more often, flushing out the substances that cause kidney stones to form.

Cut down on salt

Too much salt in the diet increases the amount of calcium in urine, making one prone to forming kidney stones.

Manage weight

Studies show that obesity and a high body mass index raise one’s chances of developing kidney stones. When overweight, an individual is most likely eating junk food, fast food and processed food that can lead to kidney stone development.

Being overweight also means being prone to hypertension and diabetes, which increase the risk for kidney stones. Regular exercise coupled with eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and high-quality protein in moderation will keep the weight down and prevent kidney stones from forming.

RELATED: How to prevent kidney disease

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