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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
Board Certified Urologist
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Dietary Changes to Help Prevent Kidney Stones

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on February 17, 2017, 8:21 pm

The first step in preventing kidney stones is to understand what is causing the stones to form. This information helps Dr. Bellman recommend specific diet changes to prevent future kidney stones.  For example, limiting oxalate in the diet may help prevent calcium oxalate stones but will do nothing to prevent uric acid stones.  Some dietary recommendations may apply to more than one type of stone.  Most notably, drinking enough fluids helps prevent all kinds of kidney stones by keeping urine diluted and flushing away materials that might form stones.

Most urinary stones are composed of calcium oxalate crystals; a kind of salt in the urine that's difficult to dissolve. Uric acid is a less common cause of stones.  If your urine is chronically infected with certain organisms, you can be prone to getting different types of kidney stones as well.  Certain people are frequent 'stone formers.'  An individual who has one stone has a 50% chance of developing another stone over 10 years.
 
Four major types of kidney stones can form:
  • Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone and occur in two major forms: calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. Calcium oxalate stones are much more common.  Calcium oxalate stone formation may be caused by high calcium and high oxalate excretion.  Calcium phosphate stones are caused by the combination of high urine calcium and alkaline urine, meaning the urine has a high pH.
  • Uric acid stones form when the urine is persistently acidic.  A diet rich in purines-- substances found in animal protein such as meats, fish, and shellfish—may increase uric acid in urine.
  • Struvite stones result from kidney infections.  Eliminating infected stones from the urinary tract and staying infection-free can prevent more struvite stones.
  • Cystine stones result from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak through the kidneys and into the urine, forming crystals that tend to accumulate into stones.

How Can I Prevent Kidney Stones?

You can do many things through dietary modifications to help prevent a recurrence of kidney stones.  Knowing the stone's specific mineral composition will help determine which preventive steps are most likely to reduce your risk of getting another kidney stone.

Dr. Bellman advices patients to be proactive to prevent kidney stones by making changes in fluid intake and, depending on the type of kidney stone, changes in consumption of sodium, animal protein, calcium, and oxalate.  Drinking enough fluids each day is the best way to help prevent most types of kidney stones. 

Individuals with cystine stones may need to drink even more. Though water is best, other fluids may also help prevent kidney stones, such as citrus drinks.

Recommendations based on the specific type of kidney stone include:

Calcium Oxalate Stones

  • reducing sodium
  • reducing animal protein, such as meat, eggs, and fish
  • getting enough calcium from food or taking calcium supplements with food
  • avoiding foods high in oxalate, such as spinach, nuts, and tea

Calcium Phosphate Stones

  • reducing sodium
  • reducing animal protein
  • getting enough calcium from food or taking calcium supplements with food

Uric Acid Stones

  • limiting animal protein

Call to schedule an appointment if your are experiencing one or many of these symptoms-
 
  • You suspect that you have a kidney stone
  • You're experiencing waves of sharp pain in your back, side, abdomen, or groin
  • You're experiencing any pain or difficulty with urination
  • You notice blood in your urine

Dr. Bellman's office can be reached at 818.912.1899

 


For an appointment or consultation with Dr. Gary Bellman,
please contact the office or call 818-912-1899




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