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Three ways to prevent kidney stones

21 June 2021 Blog
As nutritional and lifestyle patterns change over time, urologists are seeing increased rates of calculi or stones that form in the urinary tract. Urologist Dr Manmeet Saluja explains the best ways to prevent stones from forming.

Increase fluid intake

I recommend people drink around 2.5 to 3 litres of fluid per day and at least 50 per cent of this intake should be water. An increase of fluid can inhibit formation of stone crystals and is the best-known method to prevent stones.

Sweetened carbonated drinks should be avoided as they present a higher risk of stone disease, especially if they contain fructose. Coffee, tea, and alcohol may be slightly protective due to their diuretic effect.

Decrease salt intake 

A diet high in salt can diminish sodium re-absorption, which in turn leads to decreased calcium re-absorption. The excess calcium in the urine contributes to stone formation. The human body only needs about 500 mg of sodium per day to live and this is not very much considering that a typical hot dog has about 600 mg of sodium, not counting the condiments.

As a general rule, I recommend people have between 5 to 6 grams of salt per day or the equivalent of 1 to 2 teaspoons per day.

It is important to understand that salt can be present in food and it is not just the added salt, that contributes to overall consumption. Preserved foods such as those that are canned or processed can be up to 10 times higher in salt than fresh or frozen food.

Decrease protein intake 

Excessive consumption of protein has several effects that favour stone formation. It increases uric acid levels in the urine and reduces citrate, the chemical in urine that can help prevent stones from forming.

I recommend limiting protein consumption per day. Animal proteins are particularly worse, so one should decrease their consumption of animal meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy products. 

People who are at risk of developing urinary stones or who already have them should present to their GP for assessment and referral to a urologist for testing and management.

Dr Manny Saluja
Manny Saluja - Urologist
Dr Manny Saluja is a urologist based in Perth, Western Australia and is proactive about stone prevention, offering a variety of stone procedures. Manny is passionate about patient care and enjoys spending time with each patient.