Prevention of Kidney Stones
While the prevention of complications from kidney stones (pain, obstruction, scarring, infection, and kidney failure) is based on elimination, prevention of stone formation itself relies on adequate hydration and dietary alterations that make less likely overabundance of stone forming minerals in the blood and urine.
A foundation of prevention, first, relies on adequate hydration at all times. Not only will it encourage passage of small fragments as they form, but it will also dilute the crystallizing minerals that form the stones.
Alteration of diet is used primarily to discourage calcium oxalate stones. Since 70-80% of all stones contain calcium oxalate, however, the following dietary recommendations impact all of the mixed-component stones:
- Increase in dietary intake of fluid, as above, and calcium, potassium, and phytate, while
- Decreasing the dietary sources of oxalate, animal protein, sucrose, fructose, sodium, excessive vitamin C or calcium supplements (non-dietary). Also,
- Including coffee and tea, which lower the risk of stones (as does alcohol);
- Increased intake of fruits and vegetables;
- Reduce oxalate in the diet (seen in spinach, rhubarb, potatoes, and some nuts); and
- Low sodium diet.
Recurrence of stones demonstrates the process is continuously active but can benefit from thiazide diuretics to reduce urine calcium, allopurinol to reduce urine uric acid, and potassium citrate or bicarbonate to lower urine citrate.