Kidney stones are one of the most common urological conditions. They are hard and mostly small deposits made of minerals inside our kidneys. Patients normally discover them only when they make their way from the kidneys into the ureter where they can cause obstruction of urine and pain.
There are 4 types of kidney stones- Calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite and cystine. The most common type are calcium stones. They are made of calcium and oxalate. Patients that have this type of stones tend to have too much calcium or oxalate in their urine. Cystine stones are the rarest type as they only tend to form in patients with an inherited metabolic disorder that causes high levels of cystine in the urine.
Patients often ask how can they prevent kidney stones. One of the most effective ways of preventing kidney stones is to make lifestyle modifications such as drinking water throughout the day. Patients with kidney stones tend not to have the habit of drinking sufficient water daily. The guideline in patients at risk of recurrent kidney stones is to drink 2.5litres of water per day. Eating fewer oxalate-rich foods can also reduce one’s risk of forming calcium oxalate stones. These foods include potatoes, almonds and spinach. Reducing your intake of sodium can also lower your risk of forming kidney stones.
Kidney stone prevention varies from individual to individual. It is important to have a detailed discussion with your Urologist to see how you can prevent kidney stone formation.
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