Kidney Stone Prevention in Women

Kidney stones affect about 10% of American women. Although kidney stones are more common in men as compared to women, difficult detection of these stones in women accounts for the significant renal damage that can occur when the case is diagnosed lately. So, how can you prevent the occurrence of renal stones?

The cause of renal stones is not always clear in most cases. Most often, there is an imbalance between the water and salt component of the excreted urine. In other words, the kidneys excrete a large amount of certain salts that saturate the urine and become no longer soluble and they precipitate leading to kidney stone formation. Accordingly, increasing the amount of water and decreasing the concentration of salts in the excreted urine decreases the incidence of kidney stone formation. Drinking a large amount of liquids, especially water, is one of the best preventive measures to prevent the occurrence of renal stones. Water dilutes salts excreted in urine and prevents their precipitation forming stones.  Moreover, drinking water can help treat kidney stones after they have been already formed. Most renal stones can be excreted with the urine through the urinary tract by drinking plenty of water (2 to 4 quarts a day).

Women who are liable to develop oxalate kidney stones are often advised to limit or even stop eating certain foods that are known to contain an excess amount of oxalate salts. Foods with high levels of oxalate include spinach, beets, rhubarb, peanuts, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, peanuts and chocolate. These foods should better be avoided in women with proven kidney oxalate stones.

Women who develop calcium kidney stones were advised to decrease the consumption of dairy products in the past. However, this has been recently proven to be wrong as recent researches have concluded that foods that contain high levels of calcium salts, especially dairy products, can actually prevent the formation of kidney stones. On the other hand, consumption of therapeutic calcium pills can increase the incidence of formation of calcium stones in susceptible women.

Increased urine acidity can increase the incidence of formation of certain kidney stones. Women with high urine acidity are advised to decrease the consumption of fish, meat and poultry because they produce a large amount of uric acid which can precipitate leading to kidney stones.

A woman who has one kidney stone is highly susceptible to develop another. Hence, early detection is crucial to prevent the formation of multiple kidney stones. If you pass a stone, you should contact your physician as soon as possible. Urine analysis is pivotal to determine which salts are accumulating to form stones. Total 24 hour analysis of urine is very accurate in determining the levels of calcium, sodium, oxalate, uric acid, citrate and phosphate. Early detection of salts with high concentrations in 24 hour urinary collections is a key factor in the prevention of formation of multiple kidney stones.

Although kidney stones are rather common in women, early detection and adopting these preventive strategies can help decrease the formation of multiple stones and protect damage to the kidneys.

Kidney Stone Removal