Lifestyle Practices to Prevent Kidney Stones

preventing kidney stones

Kidney stones, though small in size, can cause significant pain and discomfort. Understanding their formation, identifying preventive measures, and recognising symptoms are crucial aspects of managing kidney health. In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of kidney stones, exploring their formation, prevention, kidney stone exercises, medications, and how to recognise the signs of kidney stones.

What Are Kidney Stones and How Are They Formed?

Kidney stones are hard, crystalline formations that develop in the kidneys as a result of urine chemicals. These stones may cause acute lower back pain, blood in the urine, chills, nausea, and vomiting. Urine, which contains various waste products, can become a breeding ground for crystals when the concentration of waste is too high and the liquid content is too low. These crystals attract other elements, forming solid masses that can grow unless expelled from the body through urine.

Typically, the kidney, acting as the body's chemical filter, eliminates these chemicals in urine, but factors such as dehydration or an imbalance of specific substances can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Once formed, kidney stones may remain in the kidney or travel through the urinary tract, causing pain and discomfort.

Foods to Prevent Kidney Stones

Preventing kidney stones involves making dietary choices that discourage the formation of crystals and support overall kidney health. Here are some foods to prevent kidney stones:

  • Water: Ensuring a sufficient water intake is essential in the prevention of kidney stones. Adequate fluid consumption aids in urine dilution, preventing the aggregation of crystals and the subsequent formation of stones. Citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, can augment preventive measures owing to their citrate content, which hinders stone development.
  • Low-Sodium Foods: A diet high in sodium can elevate calcium levels in urine, contributing to the propensity for kidney stone formation. Adhering to the recommended daily sodium intake guidelines of 2,300 milligrams, as suggested by federal standards, can mitigate this risk.
  • Calcium-Rich Foods: Contrary to popular belief, including calcium-rich foods in your diet is crucial. Calcium binds with oxalate in the intestines, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing calcium oxalate stones.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: A diet abundant in fruits and vegetables not only fosters overall health but also serves to prevent kidney stones. These foods contribute to lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels while increasing urinary citrate, a natural acid that impedes calcium aggregation in urine.

Furthermore, some natural remedies, such as wheatgrass, have been recommended for kidney stone prevention. Wheatgrass comprises compounds that enhance urine flow, facilitating the easier passage of stones, and is rich in nutrients and antioxidants that promote kidney health.

Exercises to Prevent Kidney Stones

Regular kidney stones exercises play a crucial role in preventing kidney stones by reducing calcium levels in urine. Here are some yoga poses that can contribute to kidney stone prevention:

  • Ustrasana (Camel Pose): This kidney stones exercise pose strengthens and stretches the lower back and shoulders, enhancing overall body posture. It promotes the movement of prana (life force) throughout the body, sends fresh oxygen to the kidneys, detoxifies them, and helps prevent kidney stones.
  • Uttanpadasana (Leg-Up Pose): Beneficial for lower abdominal organs, this pose strengthens the muscles of the lower back, legs, abdomen, and pelvic area. It enhances the functions of the pancreas, kidneys, and liver, providing relief from kidney stone-related pain.
  • Pawanmuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose): This pose promotes digestive functions, helps curb gastric problems, alleviates the impact of constipation, and aids in passing kidney stones by eliminating trapped gases and reducing bloating.
  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose): Known for reducing stress and strain, this pose stretches and strengthens all bodily muscles, enhances kidney processes, and alleviates symptoms associated with kidney stones.
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This pose is essential for increasing flexibility in the muscles of the neck and shoulders, reducing belly fat, boosting blood circulation, stimulating organs in the abdominal region, and optimising kidney functions to prevent renal problems.

Incorporating these exercises into your lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of kidney stone formation and promote overall kidney health.

Medication to Prevent Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, medically known as renal lithiasis or nephrolithiasis, are hard deposits of salts and minerals that form inside the kidneys. While dietary changes and increased fluid intake are essential in preventing kidney stones, some cases may require kidney stone prevention medication.

  • Thiazide Diuretics: Patients with increased calcium levels in their urine and calcium stones are treated with these. These medications function by supporting the kidneys' process of eliminating calcium from the urine and reintroducing it into the blood.
  • Potassium Citrate: Potassium citrate may be recommended to patients with cystine stones, uric acid, and low urinary citrate in addition to those with calcium stones. By reducing the urine's acidity or increasing its alkalinity, this medication helps stop the development of uric and cystine stones.
  • Allopurinol: This medication is frequently used to treat gout. It decreases the levels of uric acid in the blood and urine. Both uric acid and calcium stones may be prevented with the prescription of this medication.
  • Acetohydroxamic Acid (AHA): For patients prone to forming struvite or infection stones due to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), acetohydroxamic acid (AHA) may be recommended. AHA makes the urine less conducive to the formation of struvite stones, and surgical intervention is often necessary to completely remove these stones.
  • Cystine-Binding Thiol Drugs: Specifically designed for patients forming cystine stones, drugs like d-penicillamine or tiopronin bind to cystine in the urine. This forms a compound less likely to crystallise, serving as a preventive measure when other approaches like increased fluid intake and reduced salt intake have failed.

How Do You Check if You Have a Kidney Stone?

Kidney stones can cause excruciating pain and discomfort, but early detection is crucial for prompt treatment. Some symptoms to watch for include:

  • Acute pain below the ribs or in the back, which may shift as stones travel through the urinary tract.
  • Lower abdominal or groin pain.
  • Fluctuating severity of pain.
  • Painful urination.
  • Cloudy or discoloured urine (pink, red, or brown).
  • Foul-smelling urine.
  • Persistent need to urinate or increased frequency.
  • Urinating in small amounts.
  • Nausea, vomiting, chills, and fever (indicating infection).

If you experience severe discomfort along with symptoms like nausea or blood in the urine, seeking immediate medical attention is essential.

Several diagnostic kidney stone tests can confirm the presence, size, and location of kidney stones:

  • Imaging Tests: X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds are used to create images of kidney stones. CT scans offer detailed images, while ultrasounds provide a non-invasive option for visualising the affected area.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests can identify elevated levels of uric acid or calcium, contributing to kidney stone formation.
  • Urine Tests: Laboratory kidney stone tests on urine samples can detect minerals causing kidney stones and identify deficiencies that may contribute to stone formation.

Treatment options depend on the size and location of the stones. Sound-wave therapy may be considered, or surgery may be necessary for larger stones causing infection or damage. If you can pass the stone on your own, saving it for examination by a urologist can provide valuable insights into the causes, allowing for preventive measures to be implemented.


While lifestyle changes play a crucial role in preventing kidney stones, kidney stone prevention medication tailored to the specific type of stone and urine abnormalities can be valuable additions to the treatment plan. Understanding the symptoms and seeking timely medical attention, coupled with diagnostic tests, ensures effective management of kidney stones. If you suspect you have kidney stones or seek more information, consult with a healthcare professional for personalised guidance and treatment.