07 January 2005


Having a kidney stone can be very painful and any patient who had one will attest to this. But do you know that by simply following certain dietary modifications, you can lower your risk of having them?

Kidney stones come in many different sizes. Some are as small as a grain of sand, others are as large as a golf ball. It's the larger kidney stones that can get stuck in the ureter ---the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder --- or in the bladder and cause pain, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

There are 4 common types of kidney stones, with the most common being the type that forms from calcium in the urine. Struvite, uric acid and cystine are other common substances that form kidney stones.

When the researchers compared the diets of the women who developed kidney stones with the diets of those who did not develop them, they found that the risk of kidney stones was reduced by 27 percent in women who had the highest intake of calcium from foods like milk, cheese and yogurt.

A high intake of phytate, a natural substance found in vegetables and whole grains, lowered the risk by 37 percent.

A higher intake of fluid also appeared to make it less likely that someone would develop kidney stones, the study found.

Calcium supplements and eating meat seemed to have no effect on the development of kidney stones.

Sugar, however, was one dietary substance that did make a significant difference. Young women with an increased sugar intake upped their risk of kidney stones by 30 percent.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests that people who want to avoid kidney stones should limit their intake of coffee, tea and caffeinated cola to 1 or 2 cups daily and they should drink more water --- as many as 12 glasses a day.

Author: Serena Gordon
HealthDay News Service; Gary Curhan, M.D., associate professor of medicine and nephrologist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Khalid Zafar, M.D., William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; Nov. 16, 2003, presentation, American Society of Nephrology annual meeting; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Web site, updated April 2004
Publication date: Nov. 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved.

Summarizing, if you want to avoid kidney stones, the lessons in the study are:
  • you must eat more vegetables and whole grains,
  • decrease your sugar intake,
  • minimize soda, coffee, and tea intake
  • maintain your dietary calcium intake, and
  • drink more glasses of water daily (about 12 glasses per day).
My friend Tito Rolly is scheduled to undergo ESWL or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for his kidney stones --- leftovers, actually from his December 3rd ESWL session --- today. While the procedure is easy and he'll probably go home in a matter of hours, what is notable is this is his 4th time to undergo the procedure.

I strongly believe that if he can modify his dietary practices, he can limit his ESWL sessions. And you can, too, if you have the same problems.

More questions about kidney stones?

Click here and here to know more about how you can avoid getting kidney stones.

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