Are you experiencing a sharp, stabbing pain in your lower back that comes and goes in waves? Or perhaps, encountering burning sensations while passing urine? These may be indications you are suffering from kidney stones.
Often misconceived as back pain, kidney stone pain first occurs in your flank before progressing to your lower abdomen or groin. This severe affliction can fluctuate in intensity, signalling the movement of kidney stones as they pass through your urinary tract. Depending on their size, they can be lodged in your ureter or bladder, blocking the flow of urine and causing excruciating pain.
Although there is no foolproof way to ward off kidney stones, there are preventive measures that you can take to help reduce your potential risk. With specific diet and lifestyle changes, you can learn to combat this condition better.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is vital in diluting the substances in urine that can cause kidney stones. Not only do fluids flush out toxins, but they also help to move stones through your urinary tract. Your water intake depends on several factors, such as weather and activity level – the more fluids you lose through sweat, the more water you will need to consume.
One good way to keep track of your hydration is by monitoring your urine output. As a rule of thumb, you should always aim to drink enough water to pass at least two litres of urine in a day. You must also pay attention to the colour of your urine – unless it is clear or a pale yellow, it is a sign you need to drink more.
2. Consume Calcium-Rich Foods
Among the different types of kidney stones, calcium oxalate stones are the most common. Due to its name, many patients are under the impression that calcium is the main culprit behind such stones; however, that is just a myth. In fact, consuming calcium-rich foods or supplements can help ward off kidney stones.
This is because dietary calcium binds with oxalate in your intestines and effectively reduces the concentration of oxalate absorbed into the bloodstream. It is then excreted from the body without forming any stones in the urine. Conversely, a diet low in calcium will increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
3. Limit Intake of Animal Protein
Overeating animal protein can boost your uric acid levels and urinary excretion of oxalate. It can also reduce your citrate levels – a chemical in urine that helps you to prevent stones from forming. This means that you should limit your intake of red meat, poultry, and seafood.
If you have a family history of kidney stones and are prone to this condition, you should limit your daily protein intake to a quantity of no more than a pack of playing cards. You can also consider including plant-based alternatives in your diet instead. For example, opt for greens like legumes, beans, or peas that are also great sources of protein.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise plays an essential role in maintaining the overall fitness of your body. You can keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and obesity in check with a regular exercise regime. Since these are risk factors that contribute to the growth of kidney stones, exercising will significantly aid to prevent them from forming.
In addition, staying active can also maintain the levels of salt, calcium, and minerals in your body and prevent excess oxalates or minerals from crystalising. Keeping fit will also divert any extra calcium to your bones, effectively forming calcium oxalate to lower the risk of kidney stones.
To facilitate the movement of any small kidney stones, you can also engage in yoga exercises or cardio workouts so that they can pass out through your urine naturally. With that being said, it is always recommended to consult a healthcare expert beforehand for advice on optimal exercises that suit your current condition.
Kidney stones are grave ailments that can cause complications and severe pain. It is paramount that you take charge of your health and follow these steps to help prevent kidney stones before they happen. If you are experiencing any potential symptoms, do discuss them with an online doctor in Singapore and seek immediate treatment.
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