Mumbai is yet again getting ready to witness the summer and also the peak season of kidney stones. In India, approximately 5 -7 million patients suffer from stone disease and at least 1/1000 of Indian population needs hospitalization due to kidney stone disease. The incidence of kidney stone cases rises by as much as 40% during hotter months, due to rise in temperature. Made up of minerals and acidic salt, kidney stones are hard crystals that form inside your kidneys. If they become large enough, they are difficult to pass and can cause extreme pain. If you have experienced this ailment in the past, it is important to understand how to prevent kidney stones from recurring.
Dr. Pradeep Rao, Head, Department of Urology, Global Hospitals, Mumbai, says, “People who work in a hot environment or have a work routine that does not allow them to drink enough water, are prone to developing stones. During summers, you lose more water through sweating, but fail to consume enough water to make up for the lost content. The water loss eventually leads to higher urine concentrations, which in turn increases the risk of kidney stone formation.” (Jun 21, 2015)
Dr. Pradeep Rao suggests following measures to prevent recurrence of kidney stones:
1. Drink more liquids:
· Liquids help flush out the substances that form kidney stones
· Water is the most beneficial liquid to consume. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily reduces formation of kidney stones by keeping the kidneys flushed out without adding any extra elements such as sugar, sodium or other ingredients from other types of drinks
· Apart from water, ginger ale, lemon or lime flavored soda, and fruit juices are also acceptable, but it is necessary to avoid caffeine as it can cause dehydration. Also, avoid black tea and back coffee
2. Determine which kind of kidney stone you have had:
In case you have had kidney stones in the past, your physician may know the type of stone you experienced and can help you find ways to stop this type of stone from recurring
3. Reduce chances of redeveloping the most common type of kidney stones:
Risk of redevelopment of calcium stone which is the most common kidney stone can be reduced by limiting consumption of high oxalate foods and salt
·Avoid using too much salt and sugar and increase your intake of magnesium and potassium
· Some amount of calcium is essential in dietary form to reduce incidence of these stones. Calcium supplements may not help
· Avoid using antacid tablets containing calcium and vitamin D
4. Consult your doctor about using medications to help prevent kidney stones:
· Hydrochlorothiazide decreases the amount of calcium released into the urine by helping retain it in your bones and helps reduce the chance of developing a calcium stone. This medication works best when you also curtail salt intake
·Cystine stones are helped by medication which reduces the amount of cystine in your urine
· Antibiotics help control the infections that can cause struvite stones to form
5. Control calcium stone formation with surgery if you have hyperparathyroidism:
· Calcium stones can be a risk if you have this disease. Removal of one of the two parathyroid glands in your neck usually cures the disease and eliminates the chance of kidney stones.
Dr. Rao added, “Medical therapy, when used judiciously in conjunction with dietary measures, can help in preventing recurrence and in expulsion of small size.