Half of people who have had a kidney stone will develop another one. A key way to reduce the risk of forming stones is to drink extra water. This dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. To prevent repeat stones, try to drink at least 3 quarts (about ten 10-ounce glasses) of liquid a day.
The amount of liquid you need to drink depends on the weather and your activity level. If you live, work, or exercise in hot weather, you may need more liquid to replace the fluid you lose through sweat.
Here are some tips to drink more water:
- Add color and flavor to your water without the calories by freezing grapes, or lemon, lime, or orange peels, and using them instead of ice cubes.
- In winter, drink hot water with lemon and honey.
- Though water is best, other liquids such as citrus drinks may also help prevent kidney stones. Some studies show that citrus drinks, such as lemonade and orange juice, protect against kidney stones because they contain citrate, which stops crystals from turning into stones.
- Choose sparkling or mineral water instead of soda.
- Use an app to track how much water you drink. Download one to your phone to set daily reminders and alarms.
- Mark lines on your water bottle so that you know exactly how much you should have sipped by different points throughout the day.
If you have kidney stones, you may need to follow a special diet. First, your doctor will run tests to find out what type of stones you form. From these, the doctor can determine which diet changes may be right for you.
- To prevent calcium stones, cut down on salty foods like cheese, most frozen foods and meats, canned soups and vegetables, salty snacks, bottled salad dressings, pickles and olives.
- To prevent oxalate stones, you may be told to reduce foods with high oxalate levels such as spinach, rhubarb and almonds.
- To prevent uric acid stones, reduce your intake of red meat and shellfish.
Check out our new Kidney Stones Cookbook.