Kidney stones prevention

Know the signs of kidney stones

Pain is usually the first sign of a kidney stone. The pain usually begins when a stone moves into your urinary tract. This can be a sharp pain in your back, just below your ribs, it can spread around to the front of your body and sometimes towards your groin.

Other symptoms include:

  • blood in your urine
  • nausea and vomiting
  • shivers, sweating and fever
  • cloudy or bad smelling urine if you have an infection
  • ‘gravel’ in the urine, which is made of small uric acid stones
  • an urgent need to pass urine

What are the risk factors for kidney stones?

In the majority of cases, the precise cause of a person’s kidney stones remains unknown. However the general factors that can increase the risk of developing kidney stones include:

  • not drinking enough fluid, becoming dehydrated
  • mineral imbalances in your body
  • some medicines used to treat other conditions such as diuretics and corticosteroids¹
  • if you have had a kidney stone, you have an increased chance of getting a second stone
  • if you are male, kidney stones are more common in men
  • urinary tract infections
  • family history of kidney stones

Some things you can do to prevent kidney stones include

Nutritious food

  • plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • grain foods, mostly wholegrains
  • some milk and milk products
  • some legumes, nuts, fish, eggs, poultry, red meat
  • choose and prepare foods that are low in salt with little or no added sugar
  • general guidelines from the Ministry of Health will benefit most people who are at risk of kidney stones
  • achieve a healthy body weight by making good choices about what you eat and drink and be physically active to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • some people may require more specific nutrition care. A dietitian experienced in kidney stone management can provide targeted nutrition therapy based on your type of stone, specific needs and stone risk factors

Fluid intake

  • drink enough fluids, so that you are passing more than 2 litres in 24 hours
  • drink at least 3 litres of fluids a day (more if you exercise heavily or are in hot weather)
  • spread your fluid intake throughout the day and night (all drinks count – water, coffee, tea, milk)
  • drink more low sugar, sugar-free beverages
  • drink beer, wine, spirits in moderation

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