Preventing Kidney Stones
The key to preventing kidney stones is first finding out what type of kidney stones you have and then taking the appropriate treatment. Laboratory tests help determine the levels of various substances in the stones. From there, your doctor may recommend that you increase your fluid intake, avoid certain foods, or take medication to minimize the risk.
It is important to prevent kidney stones, because once you have had them, you are more likely to form additional kidney stones in the future.
In order to prevent this condition, your doctor needs to determine what type of kidney stones you have. This is also important in determining your kidney stones treatment.
To this end, you may be asked to collect your urine for 24 hours after a stone has passed or been removed. This sample will be used to measure:
- Urine volume
- Levels of acidity
- Levels of calcium
- Levels of sodium
- Levels of uric acid
- Levels of oxalate
- Levels of citrate
- Levels of creatinine (a product of muscle metabolism).
Your doctor will use this information to determine the cause or causes of kidney stones. A second 24-hour urine collection test may be needed to determine whether the prescribed treatment is working.
The most important lifestyle change you can make as part of kidney stones prevention is to drink more liquids, especially water. If you tend to form stones, you should try to drink enough liquids throughout the day to produce at least 2 quarts of urine in every 24-hour period.
To prevent cystine kidney stones, you should drink more than a gallon of water every day to dilute the concentration of cystine that escapes into the urine. This can be difficult, however, because a third of that water must be drunk during the night.