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Causes of Kidney Stones and How to Prevent Them

About kidney stone

Kidney stones are mineral and/or salt deposits that form in the kidneys, harden, and grow over time. They are also referred to as nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis. Kidney stones are a common problem—the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimated that 19 percent of male patients and 9 percent of female patients will have experienced a kidney stone by 70 years of age. As such, studies have shown that the prevalence of kidney stones is approximately twice as high in male patients relative to female patients.

Kidney stones are often painful when they pass through the urinary tract. Therefore, it is important to prevent their occurrence, especially if you have already experienced a kidney stone and its often-inconvenient associated symptoms. If you have a kidney stone, your physician may recommend that you strain your urine and save the stone from analyzing and determining its composition. There are many different types of stones (ex. Calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, uric acid, etc.), and avoiding foods that are high in the mineral(s) of interest may help prevent future stones. Your physician may also perform bloodwork, imaging tests, and a 24-hour urine collection, especially if an underlying medical condition responsible for stone occurrence is suspected.

How to prevent kidney stone?

Additionally, regardless of the type of stone, many of the risk factors associated with kidney stone formation are modifiable. Below are some ways you can actively prevent kidney stone formation:

1. Drink lots of water:

low levels of fluid intake will decrease your urine output, which will in turn increase the concentration of minerals and salts that can promote stone formation. Avoid sugary drinks, which have been associated with an increased risk of kidney stones.

2. Limit salt consumption:

calcium is a common component of kidney stones, and higher concentrations of urine calcium increase your risk for kidney stones. Urinary excretion of calcium depends on the concentration of sodium or salt, and a low-sodium diet has been shown to reduce calcium excretion.

3. Increase fruit and vegetable intake:

studies have shown that fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in potassium, can help reduce the risk of stone formation.

4. Inform your physician:

brief your physician on your past and current medical conditions. A number of medical conditions have been associated with increased risk of kidney stones, including high blood pressure, gout, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Also be sure to inform your physician about the medications you are currently taking, since some drugs are also known to increase the risk of kidney stone formation.

Apart from these, other non-modifiable risk factors for kidney stones include family history and genetic susceptibility, as well as certain environmental and occupational factors such as warmer climate and geography.

References :

Aleilign T, Petros B. (2018) Kidney stone disease: An update on current concepts. Adv Urol 2018:3068365. Borghi L et al. (1996) Urinary volume, water and recurrences in idiopathic calcium nephrolithiasis: a 5-year randomized prospective study. J Urol 155(3):839-43. Brikowski TH, Lotan Y, Pearle MS (2008) Climate-related increase in the prevalence of urolithiasis in the United States. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105(28):9841-6. Ferraro et al. (2013) Soda and other beverages and the risk of kidney stones. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 8(8):1389-95. Fontenelle LF, Sarti TD. (2019) Kidney stones: Treatment and prevention. Am Fam Physician 99(8):490-6. Khan SR et al. (2016) Kidney stones. Nat Rev Dis Primers 2:16008. Meschi T et al. (2004) The effect of fruits and vegetables on urinary stone risk factors. Kidney Int 66(6):2402-10. Muldowney FP, Freaney R, Moloney MF. (1982) Importance of dietary sodium in the hypercalciuria syndrome. Kidney Int 22(3):292-6. Soucie JM et al (1996) Relation between geographic variability in kidney stones prevalence and risk factors for stones. Am J Epidemiol 143(5):487-95.


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