Preventing Kidney Stones

If you’ve had a kidney stone, you may worry that you’ll have another. Removing or passing your stone doesn’t prevent future stones. With your doctor’s help, though, you can reduce your risk of forming new stones. Follow up with your doctor to help detect new stones. You may need follow-up every 3 months to a year for a lifetime.

Drink Lots of Water

Staying well-hydrated is the best way to reduce your risk of future stones. Drink 8 twelve-ounce glasses of water daily. Have two with each meal and two between meals. Try keeping a pitcher of water nearby during the day and at night.

Take Medications If Needed

Medications, including vitamins and minerals, may be prescribed for certain types of stones. You may want to write your doses and medication times on a calendar. Some medications decrease stone-forming chemicals in your blood. Others help prevent those chemicals from crystallizing in urine. Still others help keep a normal acid balance in your urine.

Follow Your Prescribed Diet

Your doctor will tell you which foods contain the chemicals you should avoid. Your doctor may also suggest talking to a dietitian. He or she can help you plan meals you’ll enjoy. These meals won’t put you at risk for future stones. You may be told to limit certain foods, depending upon which type of stones you’ve had.

For calcium oxalate stones: Limit high-calcium foods (dairy products), and calcium or vitamin C supplements. Limit high-oxalate foods (such as cola, tea, chocolate, and peanuts). For uric acid stones: Limit high-purine foods, such as anchovies, poultry, and organ meats. These foods increase uric acid production. For cystine stones: Limit high-methionine foods (fish is the most common). These foods increase production of cystine.