Did you know? Men are twice more likely to develop kidney stones than women. This can be attributed to several factors, such as men’s higher tendency toward eating a diet rich in protein and salt, and not drinking enough fluids.
Kidney stones are a global phenomenon, affecting as much as 12% of the world’s population throughout their lifetime. It’s defined as hard, pebble-like deposits in your kidneys when there’s an imbalance of certain minerals—namely, calcium, oxalate and uric acid—in your urine.
There are a few different types of kidney stones, but the most common are made of calcium oxalate stones. Other less common types include uric acid, struvite, and cystine. These stones not only cause pain when urinating, but they also increase the risk of developing other diseases like erectile dysfunction and prostate problems.
If you’re concerned about developing kidney stones, there are some things you can do to lower your risk. From making lifestyle changes to taking certain medications, it’s possible to decrease it even if you have a genetic disposition to acquire it.
Here are seven ways to prevent future kidney stones.
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Kidney stones are more likely to form when there isn’t enough fluid in the body to flush out the minerals. That’s because the urine volume becomes more concentrated, and the minerals are more likely to bind together and form stones.
The best way to increase your fluid intake is by drinking at least eight glasses of water throughout the day. Men who exercise or sweat excessively may need to up their intake. It’s also helpful to avoid or decrease the consumption of certain diuretics like coffee, tea, and alcohol.
Other fluids may also help prevent and slow down the development of kidney stones, including:
- Orange juice
A good way to gauge whether you’re drinking enough fluids is by checking the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow or straw-colored, you’re well-hydrated. If it’s dark yellow or amber, you need to drink more fluids.
2. Eat Less Salty Foods
Diets high in sodium have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. That’s because these foods can hinder the reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys, which can lead to stone formation.
Cutting back on foods that are high in salt is a good way to reduce your risk of kidney stones. Adults should aim to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. This is equivalent to about one teaspoon of salt.
Foods high in salt (and thus the ones you should avoid or restrict) include the following:
- Canned soups
- Processed meats
- Foods with MSG
- Condiments like soy sauce
- Snack foods like chips and pretzels
- Canned vegetables
You may also read the Nutrition Facts Label on foods to see how much sodium the food you’re eating contains. Taking no-salt or low-salt alternatives is also another suitable option.
3. Limit Animal Protein Intake
Animal proteins, such as meat, poultry, and fish, are major sources of dietary purines. These compounds are broken down into uric acid, which can lead to kidney stones if large amounts are stored in the bladder.
If you eat a lot of animal protein, you may want to cut back to help prevent kidney stones. The key is to find another source of protein that’s also low in oxalate. Good sources of plant-based protein include beans, legumes, nuts, and tofu.
That said, you can contact a licensed medical professional to help you create a kidney-friendly diet that meets your nutritional needs.
4. Steer Clear of Certain Medications
Some medications can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. These include:
- Protease inhibitors
If you’re on any medication, it’s important to speak with your doctor about the potential risks and whether there are alternatives that may be suitable for you. They may help stop you from forming calcium oxalate stones by adjusting the dosage or prescribing a different medication.
5. Find the Right Preventative Medication
People suffering from kidney stones can also take medication to help prevent new ones from forming.
There are four different types of kidney stones, each requiring a distinct treatment. These include:
- Calcium stones: Best medication is a thiazide diuretic.
- Struvite stones: Zyloprim can reduce uric acid.
- Uric acid stones: Antibiotics are needed to prevent bacteria growth.
- Cystine stones: Captopril can reduce cystine levels.
The type of kidney stone you have will determine the best course of treatment. That’s why it’s important to speak with a group of local men’s health specialists about the best medication for you.
6. Use Sound Waves
If you already have large kidney stones that can’t pass on their own, you’ll likely develop more stones.
To prevent this from happening, clinicians may prescribe patients to undergo sound wave therapy to help break existing kidney stones into smaller fragments. Also known as acoustic wave therapy, this treatment uses a machine to generate sound waves that target kidney stones. These waves then break the stones into smaller pieces that can be passed more easily.
This treatment procedure is non-invasive and can be accomplished on an outpatient basis, so it’s fairly easy to access.
7. Avoid Vitamin C Supplements
Do you take vitamin C supplements?
If you religiously take a supplement of Vitamin C a day, you may be inadvertently increasing your risk of acquiring kidney stones. That’s because large doses of this vitamin have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones, carrying as much as twice the risk according to one study.
Instead, focus on getting your vitamin C from dietary sources, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and strawberries. These foods don’t pose the same risk as taking supplements and can help ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need.
Contact Tampa’s Top Men’s Clinic for Help Fighting Male Health Issues
Kidney stones can be painful and cause lasting damage if not treated properly. To prevent kidney stones, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, limit your sodium intake, and avoid certain foods and medications.
If you’ve already tested for kidney stones and are found to have them, there are several treatment options available to help you get relief and prevent new stones from forming.
Need assistance? Contact a medical professional to help you create a kidney-friendly diet and treatment plan.
The medical professionals at Prestige Men’s Medical Center in Tampa specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.