When most people think about kidney stones, they tend to relate these tiny rocks to terrible kidney diseases, genetic disorders and consuming certain groups of foods and minerals. The truth is that all the mentioned factors can make you more prone to develop kidney stones, but in reality, the main cause of them is dehydration.
Not drinking enough water is the main reason why most people have to deal with the annoying pain caused by kidney stones. The reason to this is that when you keep your body hydrated your kidneys are flooded and busy, and the minerals contained in them don’t have the chance to join and form bigger crystals.
In this article, Joe Cosgrove will talk about some things that may contribute to dehydration and ways to deal with them in order to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Causes of Dehydration
Bowel Problems and Diarrhea: Having bowel problems is not good for your kidneys since it is going to be more difficult for you to stay hydrated. Diarrhea is one of the main causes associated with dehydration in most countries. It usually happens when people get food poisoned or develops a bowel disorder such as ulcerative colitis.
In any case, when diarrhea takes place, people tend to develop kidney stones faster due to the loss of plenty of fluids. On the other hand, many bowel problems include high levels of minerals and oxalate in the intestine, which also contributes to the formation of rocks.
Medication: Consuming certain medications can affect the way liquids are retained inside the body. Some pills to treat high blood pressure or skin problems also work as diuretics. Also, some of these medications may have high concentrations of vitamins and minerals that can increase your chances of developing kidney stones.
It is very important for people to be aware of the side effects and components related to the type of medication they are taking. This is the only way for them to know what they really need to do in order to remain hydrated and prevent the further formation of kidney stones.
What to do to Stay Hydrated?
Consume Water: Consume water and water only. Many people often believe that because they drink several cups of coffee or tea during the day they don’t need to worry about producing kidney stones. This is a common misconception that can lead to awful surprises since coffee and tea are both diuretics and can actually make you more prone to develop kidney stones.
You need to be aware of this and try to consume enough water to keep your urine color light yellow. Experts believe that consuming between 8 to 10 glasses of water every day is a good way for your body to remain stone- free.
Stay all the way away from alcohol: Let’s say it is a sunny day and you feel thirsty. Your first choice to stay hydrated is going to be that provocative and refreshing beer. Despite what many may believe, this is not the wisest decision if you want to prevent your kidneys from forming crystals.
Alcohol, just as coffee and tea, is a diuretic. This means it will dehydrate you, making you more prone to develop kidney stones. So, the next time you face a hot summer day, try to choose a bottle of water instead of that beer. It may not be as tasty, but it will definitely help you stay healthy.
Watch out for the color of your urine: Most people don’t know if they are hydrated or not. They usually drink water when they feel thirsty and don’t have the habit of drinking water during the day. A good way for you to know if you need to consume more water is to look at the color of your urine.
When your urine is dark yellow or even orange, it means that you are dehydrated and at great risk of developing kidney stones. On the opposite side, when your urine is light yellow and almost crystal clear, it shows that you are properly hydrated and there is nothing to worry about.
Take Care of Your Urine Volume: If you want to stay stone free you need to care about your urine volume as well. A low urine volume is an indicator of dehydration, and it means that your body is losing fluids in other ways (the most common one is through sweat) or that you are not consuming enough water.
In any case, having a high and steady urine volume will help you stay stone- free since all the minerals and salts contained in the urine will be diluted and won’t get the chance to bind and form bigger rocks.
A healthy adult should produce 2,5 liters of urine a day. Less that this amount will put it at risk of getting kidney stones.
* Featured Image courtesy of Nico Nuyda at Flickr.com