Kidney Stones - Causes and Treatments
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with a kidney stone, you don’t need us to tell you the toll they can take. If you haven’t ever dealt with one, trust us when we say you should consider yourself lucky. While sometimes kidney stones can be so small that you pass them unnoticed, other times they can be large enough that the pain they cause has been declared more painful than childbirth. As we continue on our mission to better educate people on the benefits of whole food nutrition and the conditions affected by it, Whole Nutraceuticals has some information to share on the contributing causes of kidney stones and some of the treatment options available to you.
What is a Kidney Stone?
The first thing to understand is what is a kidney stone. While there are a few different types, generally speaking a kidney stone is a mass of minerals and salts that forms in the kidneys. Sometimes these can be harmless as they either stay in the kidneys or are so small they do not cause any obstructions. Stones that make it to the bladder can be passed through urine, but those that get stuck in the ureter obstruct the flow of urine and lead to the infamous pain. So what causes the buildup of these minerals and salts?
Drinking enough water is a major factor when it comes to kidney stones. If you don’t have enough urine to help dilute the minerals and salts that cause stones to form, you have a higher risk of forming them. The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends drinking at least 2 liters of water per day. If you live in a warmer climate or sweat a lot, you may be expending fluid from your body faster than you are intaking so you may need to increase that recommended amount of water. Ultimately the goal is to have urine that is slightly yellow or clear.
Family history is another contributing factor to kidney stones. If someone in your family has had a stone you are more likely to have one as well. Likewise, if you have already had a kidney stone in the past, you are more likely to have another one at some point in the future.
Other medical conditions can also lead to a higher risk of kidney stones. Conditions such as renal tubular acidosis and urinary tract infections can carry a higher risk of stones. Talking to your doctor will help you better manage these and minimize the risk of kidney stones as much as possible.
Diet is the factor that Whole Nutraceuticals has largely honed in on. Whole Nutraceuticals was founded on the principles of strategically using whole food nutrition - using the fuel we give our bodies - to help combat various other conditions (to learn more about whole food nutrition, check out our blog post here!). A poorly curated diet high in protein, sodium, and sugar can increase your likelihood of kidney stones. Sodium especially can become a problem. More sodium in your diet leads to more calcium going through your kidneys. Calcium oxalate stones make up the bulk of stones found in the United States, so it is important to avoid a lot of sodium in your diet.
In summation, there are a few key takeaways on how to better equip your body to avoid the development of kidney stones:
Drink your water. The AUA guideline of 2-2.5 liters per day is a great starting point, but keep in mind you may need to adjust it based on where you live and how much you sweat.
Talk to your doctor. Whether it’s a family history or another medical condition, communicate with your doctor so that they can help you put a plan together for long-term success.
Adjust your diet. Too much protein, sodium, and sugar can significantly increase your risk of kidney stones. Steer clear of foods high in oxalate such as spinach, beets, chocolate, tea and nuts. Caffeinated drinks that dehydrate, like coffee and soft drinks, should also be avoided. You should also make sure your diet includes citrate, potassium, magnesium, phytate, Vitamin D, and a normal allowance of calcium.
To learn more about combating kidney stones, contact Whole Nutraceuticals today and ask about our Whole Kidney product - our patent-pending dietary strategy for kidney stone patients. If you’re ready to take the next step, order today!