Toxic Habits That Put You at Greater Risk for Kidney Stones

habits causes kidney stones

Kidney stones, those painful crystalline formations within the kidneys, can bring about considerable discomfort. Understanding the factors that contribute to their formation is crucial for prevention. In this post, we will talk about the causes of kidney stones and highlight habits that increase the risk. We'll also explore preventive measures to identify individuals prone to kidney stones. In addition to this, we'll discuss the role of kidney stone prevention medication in averting this painful condition.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones form when substances in urine, like calcium and oxalate, become too concentrated, creating crystals. These crystals can stick together, growing into stones. Not drinking enough water is a big culprit, as it makes urine more concentrated.

Diets high in salt or low in calcium can also contribute. In some cases, genetics or certain medical conditions play a role. When these factors combine, they create an environment where crystals clump together, leading to the painful development of kidney stones.

Habits That Increase the Risk of Kidney Stones

Following are the habits that may increase the risk of kidney stones:

1. Inadequate Hydration: Insufficient water intake is a key factor. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water per day to keep your urine diluted and discourage crystal formation.

2. High Sodium Diet: Excessive sodium intake can elevate calcium levels in the urine, fostering an environment conducive to kidney stone formation. Be mindful of processed foods and limit salt intake.

3. Low Calcium Diet: Not having enough calcium in your diet can lead to kidney stones. Adequate calcium binds with oxalate in the intestines. It reduces absorption and lowers the risk of kidney stones.

4. Excessive Animal Protein: Diets high in animal proteins, such as meat and eggs, can increase the excretion of calcium and uric acid in urine, promoting kidney stone formation. Balance protein sources with plant-based options.

5. Too Much Oxalate-Rich Food: Some foods, like beets, nuts, and chocolate, contain high levels of oxalate. It's a substance that can combine with calcium to form stones. Moderation is key when consuming these items.

How to Prevent Kidney Stones?

Preventing kidney stones involves adopting a holistic approach that addresses lifestyle and dietary choices.

1. Drink Water Every Day: Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. It helps keep your urine diluted, reducing the chance of crystal formation.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet: Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your meals. Balance is key - not too much salt or animal proteins.

3. Watch Oxalate Foods: Some foods, like nuts and spinach, have oxalates. Don't overeat these, especially if prone to calcium oxalate stones.

4. Try Lemonade Therapy: Fresh lemonade increases citrate levels, preventing crystals. Squeeze lemons into your water or make homemade lemonade.

5. Limit Animal Proteins: Too much meat and eggs can increase stone risk. Balance with plant-based proteins like beans and lentils.

6. Maintain Healthy Weight: Keep your weight in check through a mix of good eating and regular exercise. It reduces the risk of obesity-related stones.

7. Cut Down on Soda: Colas can contribute to stones. Opt for water or non-caffeinated, low-sugar drinks instead.

8. Watch Sugar Intake: High sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes, increasing stone risk. Choose whole foods over sugary snacks.

9. Moderate Caffeine: Too much caffeine can dehydrate you. Balance coffee or tea with enough water throughout the day.

10. Consider Calcium Supplements Wisely: If advised by a doctor, take calcium supplements with meals. It helps prevent calcium oxalate stones.

Sticking to these simple steps can significantly reduce your risk of kidney stones. Always talk to your doctor for personalised advice that suits your health needs.

Who Are Prone to Kidney Stones?

In understanding the predisposition to kidney stones, it's essential to explore various contributing factors that can heighten the risk for certain individuals:

1. Dehydration Issues: Individuals with chronic dehydration or conditions that lead to reduced fluid intake are at an increased risk. Dehydration concentrates minerals in the urine, promoting the formation of crystals and, consequently, stones.

2. Occupational Factors: People who work outside a lot, like construction workers or those doing outdoor jobs, might have a higher chance of kidney stones. This is because being in hot and dry conditions makes them sweat more. This can lead to dehydration and increase the risk of stones forming in the kidneys.

3. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD): Conditions like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis can affect the absorption of calcium in the intestines. It potentially leads to an increased risk of kidney stones.

4. Weight Loss Surgery (Bariatric Surgery): Procedures like gastric bypass surgery can alter the absorption of nutrients. It leads to changes in urine composition and an increased risk of stone formation.

5. Prolonged Immobilization or Bed Rest: Lack of physical activity can contribute to bone resorption, releasing calcium into the bloodstream. This excess calcium may then be excreted into the urine, fostering stone formation.

Can You Take Medications to Prevent Kidney Stones?

In some cases, healthcare professionals may recommend medications to prevent kidney stones. These medications are prescribed based on the specific factors contributing to stone formation.

1. Potassium Citrate: This medication helps raise urine pH, making it less acidic and reducing the risk of certain types of stones, such as uric acid and cystine stones. It also inhibits the formation of crystals.

2. Calcium Supplements: For individuals with low dietary calcium intake, healthcare professionals may recommend calcium supplements. This might seem counterintuitive. But, adequate calcium can bind with oxalate in the intestines. It prevents its absorption and reduces the risk of calcium oxalate stones.

3. Monitoring and Adjusting Medications: Some medications that individuals take for other health conditions may contribute to kidney stone formation. Regular monitoring by healthcare providers ensures that medications are adjusted if necessary to minimise this risk.

4. Individualized Treatment Plans: The choice of medication depends on the type of kidney stones an individual is prone to developing. Healthcare professionals consider factors such as the composition of stones, urinary pH levels, and the underlying causes to tailor a treatment plan that best suits the patient's needs.

5. Lifestyle Modification Support: Medications work more effectively when combined with lifestyle modifications. Healthcare providers often emphasise the importance of staying well-hydrated and adopting a kidney-friendly diet even when medications are prescribed.


In conclusion, kidney stone prevention involves a proactive approach to lifestyle and dietary choices. By understanding the causes of kidney stones and avoiding toxic habits that increase the risk, individuals can significantly reduce their chances of experiencing this painful condition. Hydration, balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and, in some cases, medications collectively contribute to a kidney-friendly lifestyle. Prioritising kidney health today can lead to a more comfortable and stone-free tomorrow.