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How can kidney stones be prevented?

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Quick Answer

Drinking plenty of fluids, eating a balanced diet and keeping a healthy body weight are most helpful in the prevention of kidney stones, according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Certain foods are more likely to promote stone formation in susceptible persons not taking such measures.

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Full Answer

Persons trying to decrease the risk of kidney stones should drink 2 to 3 liters of fluids daily; water and citrus drinks are best, recommends the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Fluids help to keep the urine diluted by washing away materials that may form stones.

Of the four major types of kidney stones, calcium stones are most common. Calcium oxalate stones are caused by high calcium and high oxalate excretion, while calcium phosphate stones are due to a combination of high urine calcium and alkaline urine. Uric acid stones form with persistently acidic urine, often the result of a diet rich in purines -substances found in meats, fish and shellfish- where the acid settles with calcium to form stones. Struvite stones most commonly result from kidney infections and are best prevented by staying healthy and infection-free; cystine stones often result from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak through the kidneys and into the urine.

Persons developing kidney stones should reduce sodium intake, decrease meat, eggs and fish consumption, avoid foods high in oxalate -such as spinach, rhubarb, nuts and wheat bran- and ensure there is enough calcium in the diet; supplements can provide an added boost, advises the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases and Information Clearinghouse.

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