What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are small, hard crystals that can form and cause blockages in your urinary system resulting in symptoms such as intense pain, urinary bleeding, and vomiting. They can be made up of calcium oxalate, cystine, uric acid, struvite, and calcium phosphate, with calcium oxalate accounting for about 80% of kidney stone cases. 1 2
Kidney stones are relatively common, with 12% of men and 5% of women in the United States developing them at least once. 3 If a person develops a kidney stone once in their life, they have a 50% chance of developing them again within 10 years. 4
Often, people are able to naturally pass their kidney stones without any treatment (although over-the-counter pain medication may be used to manage discomfort). 5 In cases where the stone cannot be passed naturally, medication may be prescribed, or surgical therapies may be recommended. 6
Natural Kidney Stone Prevention Techniques
The following techniques could significantly help to prevent kidney stones, naturally.
Drinking enough filtered water every day is a simple and effective way to prevent kidney stones. Increasing water intake decreases the concentration of solutes in the urine, making it more likely to dissolve the salts that cause kidney stones to form in the first place. 7 The amount of water each person needs per day is different, so make sure that you are frequently sipping water, and talk to a naturopathic doctor to determine the right amount for you. Avoid carbonated beverages, caffeine and alcohol if you are concerned about kidney stone formation. Filtered water is the best option.
Manage Urine pH Levels
The acidity, or pH level, of urine plays a major role in the formation of kidney stones. Whether you should increase the alkalinity or acidity of your urine’s pH levels depends on the type of kidney stones you are prone to. To prevent calcium oxalate, cystine, and uric acid stones, urine should be alkaline. To prevent calcium phosphate and struvite kidney stones, urine should be higher in acidity. 8
Foods to Eat to Increase Urine Alkalinity
Increase your consumption of these foods to help with calcium oxalate, cystine, and uric acid kidney stones. These include the most common type of kidney stones.
- Collard greens
- Nuts & seeds
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Foods to Eat to Increase Urine Acidity
Increase your consumption of these foods to help prevent struvite and calcium phosphate kidney stones.
- Cranberry juice
- Orange juice
- Avocado oil
Foods to Avoid or Limit
- Foods rich in sodium- salty processed foods
- Foods rich in oxalate- spinach, chocolate, beets, rhubarb, soy products, dates, raspberries
- Animal protein- beef, poultry, fish, pork
For more information on other natural ways to prevent and treat kidney stones, speak to a naturopathic doctor today.