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Kidney Stones

How Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

Last modified: 
18/04/2012 - 16:34

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Part of the treatment of kidney stones involves preventing them from happening again. Preventive measures include:

Drinking A Large Amount Of Water

Drinking large volumes of water each day will dilute the mineral or stone-forming salts in the urine. Many experts advise people who are prone to kidney stones to drink 12 eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Stones cannot form in urine that is diluted.

Changes In Diet

Because calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone, some experts recommend a low-calcium and low-oxalate diet.

  • Foods high in calcium include dairy products.
  • Foods rich in oxalate include colas, chocolate, peanuts, leafy vegetables, and tea.

Restricting these foods in the diet should lower the concentration of calcium and oxalate in the urine.

In many cases of uric acid stones, a diet low in animal proteins is recommended. Foods that are high in purines, which contribute to uric acid stones, include poultry and red wine.

Medication

Even with careful regulation of water intake and diet, stones still may form. But there are some medications that can help prevent this.

These medications can reduce the level of stone-forming chemicals such as uric acid, calcium, oxalate, or cystine in the blood. They also can inhibit an enzyme required by the bacteria that cause struvite stones to form. Other medications can be used for relief of pain from kidney stones.

The following table provides an overview of selected medications and their uses in reducing the formation of kidney stones or their pain symptoms.

Drugs Used To Control The Formation Of Kidney Stones And Reduce Kidney Pain:

Name of Medication

What it's for

General Information

Thiazide

Calcium reduction (for calcium stones)

This diuretic helps the body reabsorb calcium from the urine back into the blood. This reduces the amount of calcium in the urine and helps prevent calcium stones. People who take this may have to reduce their intake of sodium (salt), because sodium may reduce its effectiveness.

Sodium cellulose phosphate

Calcium reduction (for calcium stones)

Binds calcium in the intestine and prevents it from leaking into the urine.

Oral calcium supplement

Reduces oxalate in the body (for calcium oxalate or calcium oxalate and phosphate stones)

Prevents absorption of oxalate into blood but requires careful supervision and cannot be used by people with kidney problems.

Allopurinol

Uric acid reduction (for uric acid stones)

Used primarily to reduce uric acid in the urine for people whose body can't process uric acid effectively.

Polycitra K

(potassium citrate)

Uric acid reduction (for uric acid stones)

Prevents uric acid from crystallizing in urine.

Thiola

Cystine reduction (for cystine stones)

This drug increases the ability of cystine to dissolve in water, thereby reducing the likelihood of forming stones. People who take this need to increase their water intake.

D-penicil-lamine

Struvite reduction (for struvite stones)

Inhibits an enzyme required by the bacteria that promote the growth of these stones. Side effects are potentially serious.

Acetohy-

droxamic acid (AHA)

Struvite reduction (for struvite stones)

Used with long-term antibiotic drugs, AHA prevents infection that leads to stone growth.

Toradol

Relief of kidney pain

Within one hour after injection, pain disappears with this nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

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Kidney Stones

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.