Diet and Fluid Management for Kidney Stones

The end products of the digestion of all ingested food and tissue breakdown are excreted by the kidneys along with minerals like sodium, calcium and magnesium. They are formed into crystalloids to be excreted through the urine. If there is insufficient fluid intake, insufficient fiber content in the diet, excess protein food intake like meat, fish and poultry and a hereditary proneness to stone formation then these crystals may be separated from the urine and deposited on the inner surfaces of the kidney as stones. This can cause pain in the back or sides around the lower abdomen and may also spread to the groin. Another symptom is the need to urinate frequently and a burning sensation during urination. In an advanced condition there may be nausea, vomiting and even blood in the urine. The most common kidney stones are made up of oxalates, urates, or phosphates combined with calcium.

Fluids & Food Management are the key principles of treatment

Stone formation is a gradual process and the tendency in a susceptible person persists through out life. If you have a history of stone formation in a blood relation or you have had a stone earlier you need to be vigilant always. The fundamental principle in the treatment of kidney stones is to ensure adequate water intake, 2 and a half liters is the normal requirement. If you are living in a very hot place, if you are engaged in work such as farming, labour or walking on site or you are an athlete or player you may need anything between 3-4 liters of water per day. The best check is to see that the urine being passed is light in colour and atleast 2000ml is passed per day.

Normal quantities of any food along with a 10-12-glass water intake should not create a problem for most people. But if genetically, you have a family history of kidney stone or gout (uric acid) problem then you should be careful to restrict certain foods. It is useful to find out what kind of stone is being formed and then be specific about the foods you avoid.

The most common stones are calcium oxalates or uric acid. Foods rich in oxalates, calcium and uric acid are as follows.

Oxalate - almonds, cashew nuts, peanuts, chocolates, cocoa, spinach, tomato strawberry, chickoo, custard apple, beef and tea.

Calcium - large amounts of milk, curd, cheese, paneer and milk cream, egg yolk, cauliflower, beans, potato, figs.

Uric acid- organ meats, kidney, liver, brain, beef, small fish, prawns, meat gravies, meat soups, spinach, French Beans, & Pulses - channa, rajma, moong, etc.

Alcohol - consumption must be avoided or very strictly restricted in the above conditions as it causes dehydration and worsens the condition.

Fiber - High fiber diets with plenty of salads is seen to have a significant effect in controlling the precipitation of kidney stone.

People trying weight reduction by low carbohydrate and high protein diets-namely, Atkins diet, etc, can end up with kidney problems due to a build up of nitrogen and overworked kidneys. Those who do crash diets like G.M. diet, cabbage soup diet, etc. have not only fat breakdown but also protein and muscle breakdown and these waste products again overload the kidney and cause problems.

Young sports people who eat large quantities of chicken and other protein foods or take protein supplements without proper medical super vision can have a kidney problem. Also those who take large doses of vitamin and mineral supplements like Vit C, zinc, calcium,etc. can over tax the kidney.

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