Preventing kidney stones
The best way of preventing kidney stones is to make sure you drink plenty of water each day to avoid becoming dehydrated.
It is very important to keep your urine diluted to avoid waste products forming into kidney stones.
You can tell how diluted your urine is by looking at its colour. The darker your urine is, the more concentrated it is.
Your urine is usually a dark yellow colour in the morning because it contains a build-up of waste products that your body has produced overnight.
Drinks such as tea, coffee and fruit juice can count towards your fluid intake, but water is the healthiest option and is best for preventing kidney stones developing.
You should also make sure that you drink more when it is hot or when you are exercising to replenish fluids lost through sweating.
Read more about preventing dehydration.
If your kidney stone is caused by an excess of calcium, you may be advised to reduce the amount of oxalates in your diet.
Oxalates prevent calcium being absorbed by your body, and can accumulate in your kidney to form a stone.
Foods that contain oxalates include:
Almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts.
grains, such as oatmeal, wheat germ and wholewheat
You should not reduce the amount of calcium in your diet unless your GP recommends it. This is because calcium is very important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
To avoid developing a uric acid stone, you should reduce the amount of meat, poultry and fish in your diet. You may also be prescribed medication to change the levels of acid or alkaline in your urine.
If you have a kidney stone, medication is usually prescribed for pain relief or to prevent infections developing.
However, some medication may need to be reviewed by your GP if it is thought to be causing your kidney stone.
The type of medication your GP prescribes will depend on the type of kidney stone you have.
For example, if you have:
calcium stones – you may be prescribed a diuretic medication if they are caused by hypercalcuria (an inherited condition)
struvite stones – you may be prescribed antibiotics to help prevent aurinary tract infection or kidney infection, which are the main causes of struvite stones
uric acid stones – you may be prescribed allopurinol (a medication used to lower uric acid levels) and medication to help alkalise your urine
cystine stones – you may be prescribed medication to lower levels of cystine in your urine.