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Kidney Stones and Summer

Summertime may be synonymous with backyard barbeques and lazy days by the pool, but did you know that it is also high season for kidney stones? In fact, kidney stone cases increase by as much as 40% due to the climb in temperatures over the summer.

Dr. William Haley, a nephrologist at  Mayo Clinic, advises that “heat, humidity and lack of proper hydration all lead to a higher prevalence of kidney stones in the summer.” This means that we may not be drinking as much as we should be to keep dehydration and the risk of developing a kidney stone at bay. There are two main types of kidney stones. The first is calcium-oxalate stones composed of 80% of calcium salts, especially the oxalate kind. The second are those composed mainly of uric acid, but today we will primarily focus on calcium-oxalate stones.

If you have gotten a kidney stone in the past or are prone to getting these small, hard deposits of mineral and acid salts that form when urine becomes concentrated, it will be especially important to take extra care of yourself during the hotter summer months. Some of the best things you can do to help prevent stone formation involve staying hydrated, (as one of the root causes of kidney stones is dehydration), and monitoring your diet.

Food to Avoid:

-Eliminate foods that contain high amounts of oxalic acid from your diet with the worst offenders being spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, collards, eggplant, beets, summer squash, sweet potatoes, peanuts, almonds, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, Concord grapes, and cocoa

-Grapefruit juice

-Animal fat/protein because animal fat causes the body to excrete calcium, creating a build-up in the kidneys

-Avoid red meat and limit consumption of other animal products as much as possible

-Calcium overload by eliminating dairy products from your diet. The calcium from milk, cheese and ice cream is not easily absorbed by the digestive system and ends up as extra waste matter in your kidneys

-Too much sugar results in high levels of insulin that leaches the calcium found in your bones and diverts it into the urinary tract.  Especially avoid refined sugar i.e. soft drinks, (also containing phosphoric acid) and cause increase risk in kidney stones

-Salt, caffeine, and alcohol al conspire to dehydrate the body and increase the concentration of minerals in the urine

Foods to Enjoy:

-Fresh, raw vegetable and whole grains

-Beans, nuts and seeds and fish for protein

*If you must eat animal products stick to lean, high-quality sources of white meat

-Oat and wheat bran daily

-Lemon juice mixed with a little hot water helps to acidify the urine and ease the passage of calcium-oxalate stones. Drink some at breakfast and throughout the day. (Orange juice is helpful as well in moderation but don’t overindulge due to the sugar content that often accompanies orange juice).

-Lots of orange-yellow and green vegetables because Vitamin A is healing to the urinary tract

-1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds daily

-Kelp, soybeans, almonds and apples because of their magnesium, which helps to boost levels of this nutrient

-Watermelon, celery and parsley help to cleanse the urinary tract

Symptoms of a kidney stone can include pain on one side of the lower back, belly, or down into groin, a frequent urge to urinate, blood and sediment in urine, nausea and vomiting and chills and fever if stone causes a blockage and an infection. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention.

For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Kenneson, please call us at 904.644.8353.

Lauren Rogers

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