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Kidney Stones – Prevention

David Canes, MD David Canes, MD February 14, 2021


"Kidney stones can be prevented. There are five strategies to prevent kidney stones, but the first one, making sure you're well-hydrated most of the time, is by far and away, the single most important defense against forming kidney stones. Kidney stone formers need to drink a lot of water, somewhere around 80 to 90 ounces per day. In fact, it's very easy to tell how well you're doing. Every time you urinate, all you have to do is look at the color of your urine to know how well you're doing. If the urine color looks very light, even clear, you're doing a fantastic job. If it's light yellow, that's okay. But if it starts to get more concentrated, dark orange or brown, you're too dehydrated and you need to drink more. The second weapon in the arsenal is by adding more citrate to your diet. Citrate can be found in lemonade and other fruit juices.

Citrate is a natural way of inhibiting stone formation. The next piece of advice is that dairy is not to be avoided. Most people think calcium stones and they think, Oh, it must be from eating too much dairy. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You need some dairy in your diet to prevent stones, and we recommend at least two servings of dairy per day. However, you shouldn't take calcium in supplement or pill form because usually most of that ends up in your urine. Oxalate can be a culprit for some stone formers. Oxalate is found in some healthy foods. Healthy foods should be avoided or taken only in moderation. These include things like nuts and spinach and green leafy vegetables. If you do have oxalate containing foods, you should eat them with a lot of water that meal and combined with some dairy. As it turns out, calcium binds the oxalate and allows your body to get rid of it through the colon instead of letting it get absorbed in your body. The last piece of advice for stone formers is to have a low salt diet. That means not grabbing the salt shaker and not having processed foods that are high in salt. Salt in your kidneys pulls calcium into your urine and increases the chance of kidney stone formation."

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