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Kidney Stone Season

How To Prepare for Kidney Stone Season

With the arrival of warmer weather, we not only welcome longer, sunshine-filled days but also face a time of the year doctors call “kidney stone season.”

During the summer months, an uptick in kidney stones is seen year after year — usually only discovered when the stone is passing, which can cause intense pain.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of mineral and acid salts that collect within the kidneys. Kidneys are the organs that filter waste from the blood, balance body fluids, and regulate blood pressure.

Kidney stones develop when the concentrations of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid in the urine become high and harden into crystals. These substances include:

  • Calcium
  • Oxalate
  • Uric acid

Over time, the crystals can form stones varying in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. They can move into the ureter — the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder — triggering severe pain in the lower back and groin. Interestingly, the incidence of kidney stones is higher in warmer climates and during the summer months across various regions.

Why Is There a Seasonal Influence on Kidney Stones?

The prevalence of kidney stones spikes in the summer, largely due to environmental and physiological factors.

In the summer months, high temperatures make it easier to become dehydrated, which makes urine become more concentrated. This creates the exact environment that allows kidney stones to form more readily. This seasonal shift can surprise individuals as they might experience sudden discomfort or pain from kidney stones as the weather warms.

Kidney Stone Symptoms

Kidney stones can cause a range of symptoms, but they are known for the extreme pain that is felt when a stone blocks the ureter. This blockage can lead to a buildup of pressure in the kidney, resulting in:

  • Stabbing pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in the urine
  • A persistent urge to urinate

Preventive Measures

Preventing kidney stones, especially during the peak season, requires an approach focused on lifestyle and dietary adjustments. Strategies and ideas to help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones include:

1. Optimizing your fluid intake
Drink lots of hydrating liquids. This is particularly important if you’re physically active or spending time outside when it’s hotter than normal. Water is key, and you can also opt for natural, low-sugar beverage options to maximize benefits. You’ll know you’re hydrated enough when your urine is pale yellow or clear.

2. Limiting oxalate-rich foods
Some kidney stones are formed from calcium oxalate. If you’re prone to this type of stone, you should consume foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, beets, and nuts, in moderation.

3. Reducing sodium intake
High sodium levels can increase calcium in the urine, due to how the kidneys process and eliminate excess sodium. Limiting processed foods, canned soups, and salty snacks can help.

4. Eating animal protein in moderation
Diets high in animal protein can increase the risk of kidney stones. Consider reducing your consumption of red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, and balance your diet with plant-based proteins.

5. Maintaining a healthy weight
A balanced diet and regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce stone risk.

6. Reviewing medications and supplements
Some supplements and medications can increase the risk of kidney stones. If you’re prone to stones, discuss all your medications and supplements with your doctor to identify any potential risks.

7. Staying active
Physical activity can help manage weight and is associated with a reduced risk of kidney stone formation.

The Right Support for When You Have Kidney Stones

Adopting these preventive measures can help lessen your chance of developing kidney stones.

Remember, risk factors can vary from person to person, so it’s important to partner with your doctor to find the prevention methods that work best for you.

And if you happen to start to pass a kidney stone, we offer same-day lithotripsy to get you feeling better fast – call us at 843.347.2450 right away.


How Can We Help You?

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