According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) you have about a 1 in 10 chance of developing at least one kidney stone — a crystal made of minerals and salts that forms in your kidney — during your life. Passing a kidney stone can be an excruciating experience. Some kidney stones grow so large that your doctor has to remove them surgically.
The best way to deal with painful kidney stones is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Alex Lesani, MD, an innovative urologist in Las Vegas, Nevada, helps his patients form the good habits they need to stay free of kidney stones. The first habit to learn is how to hydrate sufficiently to flush salts, calcium, and other substances from your kidneys so they can’t bind to one another and form a stone.
How much water is enough?
You’ve probably heard for most of your life that you should drink about eight glasses of water a day. But how big is the glass? Each glass should contain eight ounces — or one fluid cup — of water.
To keep your urine clear and stone-free, though, eight glasses of water a day isn’t enough. Instead, you should drink between 10 to 12 fluid cups of water a day. That translates to about three liters.
Even if you’re drinking plenty of water, make sure you get water from your food, too. Concentrate on eating fresh fruits and vegetables that hydrate you, nourish your tissues, and help prevent stone formation.
What counts as water?
Does a beer count as water? The good news is, yes! — with caveats. As long as you don’t have more than one alcoholic drink a day or have any other conditions that could preclude you from drinking alcohol, beer has been shown to prevent kidney stones.
Water is still the best beverage on earth for keeping hydrated and flushing away salts and chemicals from your kidneys and toxins from your body. But many other liquids can count toward your daily water intake. Some good choices for hydration and health are:
- Coffee (regular or decaf)
- Orange juice
- Coconut water
- Red or white wine
Coffee and tea also have some diuretic effects, which means they pull a little more water from your body to keep your kidneys well flushed, but you’ll need to replace what you’ve lost.
Be sure, though, to stay away from beverages that are high in sugar or salt. These can disrupt your urine’s acid-base balance. Avoid:
- Sports drinks
As with alcohol, Dr. Lesani may advise you that indulging in a soda once in a while may be fine, as long as you don’t have diabetes or another underlying health condition.
You can also vary the flavor of your water by infusing it with fresh fruits or vegetables, such as strawberries or cucumbers. Lemon and lime juice have the added benefit of binding with calcium, which might otherwise accumulate in your kidneys to form stones. Sweeten your home-made lemonade with a low-glycemic natural sweetener, such as stevia.
Watch your sweat
Even healthy men and women who work out regularly, eat fresh foods, and drink 2-3 liters of water a day can develop kidney stones. If you work out to the point where you sweat, or if you use saunas or spas, the fluids you lose should be made up with increased water intake.
Take a water bottle to the gym. Drink after your sauna or time in the hot pool. Or use the steam room instead; breathing in steam or using a humidifier at home helps you stay hydrated, too.
To get fast, effective treatment for kidney stones or a customized kidney stone prevention plan, contact Dr. Lesani today by calling our helpful office staff at 702-470-2579 or by booking online.