Although the body’s renal system—which includes the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters—is extremely complicated, knowing how to maintain its health is essential for your body to function optimally.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of kidney stones in your urinary system, and what you’ve heard about them probably hasn’t been very favorable. According to Samit Soni, MD, a urological surgeon at Memorial Hermann, kidney stones are hard clumps of salt and minerals that grow in the kidneys over time due to factors such as heredity, environment, nutrition, activity, and more.
. If stones need to be passed through the urethra and bladder, they can be very painful and often require a trip to the hospital. Dr. Soni explains that there are several aspects of kidney stones to consider besides food and exercise.
For example, people living in warmer regions actually have a higher incidence of kidney stones than those living in colder climates. This is mostly due to hydration, one of the key elements of kidney health. According to Dr. So, people tend to be less hydrated in warmer climates, and this persistent dehydration can result in kidney stones. For the record, kidney stones are more common in the summer because of this.
In conclusion? When it comes to preventing kidney stones, there is no set of standards that apply to everyone, but Dr. Soni and Alyssa Dweck, OB/GYN and Bonafide Medical Advisor have some recommendations that can reduce your risk.
1. Be aware of your health history and that of your family.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you are more likely to get kidney stones if your relatives, particularly close relatives, have had them. This is the first step in learning how to protect your body from kidney stones. Why? Because you can make more focused judgments the more you understand your risk. For instance, kidney stones come in four different varieties and have a variety of reasons. Knowing what type your ancestors experienced and what led to it can help you make future preventative measures and lifestyle decisions.
According to Dr. Soni, certain persons should stay away from oxalic acid, while others should steer clear of excessive calcium supplements. Though Since the danger and propensity to produce stones varies from person to person, it is impossible to suggest a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Dr. Additionally, Dweck says that if you’ve ever had kidney stones, you’re more likely to get them again in the future. One of the best ways to prevent them in the future is to connect with a care provider who is knowledgeable about the kidney system and knows your medical history.
2. Keep hydrated.
Dr. Dweck believes that one of the most important elements in preventing kidney stones and maintaining bladder health, in general, is hydration. Your kidneys, like the rest of your body, require a lot of water. According to Dr. Dwecka, enough water in the blood can help optimally filter toxicity, but dehydration can lead to a greater concentration of kidney stones. Men should drink 3.7 liters of fluids each day, while women should drink 2.7 liters, according to the Mayo Clinic.
3. Exercise caution while taking extra calcium and vitamin C
Some minerals and typical dietary components, such as calcium, salt (more on this below), and vitamin C, can raise your chance of kidney stone formation. According to Dr. Soni, consuming a lot of foods high in calcium and vitamin C is not at all dangerous. Consuming excessive doses of these minerals through supplements or cold remedies like Emergen-C is what should really raise concerns. If you are prone to kidney stones, Dr. Soni says that consuming particularly large doses of these components may be risky. Maintain communication with your doctor about any supplements you’re taking.
4. Watch how much salt you consume.
A high-sodium diet is another factor that contributes to the formation of kidney stones, said Dr. Soni. The 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend aiming to consume fewer than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of salt per day, so making sure you’re not exceeding the daily limit is crucial to preventing kidney stones.
In the end, many causes of kidney stones may be beyond your control and more related to your environment and family history, according to these specialists. Kidney stones don’t indicate that you didn’t follow a healthy diet or drink enough water. Staying knowledgeable, hydrated, and in contact with a physician are important while attempting to avoid kidney stones.