Kidney stones are a relatively common problem among men and women, often occurring between the ages of 20 – 50 years old. Kidney stones are deposits of minerals and salts that form a stone-like object within the kidneys, which usually happens if there is too much of a mineral present in the urine.
There can be several different causes of kidney stones such as diet, but family history of this health issue also increases chances of developing it. There are five main types of kidney stones, each with their own cause. Let’s look into these different types:
1. Calcium Oxalate Stones:
This is the most common type of kidney stone! These occur when the urine does not have enough citrate and has too much calcium, along with oxalate or uric acid. Eating certain foods that have a high oxalate content can lead to this kind of kidney stone developing in your body.
2. Calcium Phosphate Stones:
This type of stone is formed usually because of abnormal or irregular functioning of the urinary system, or sometimes resulting from underlying urinary problems. These often occur along with Calcium Oxalate stones.
3. Cystine Stones:
This type of kidney stone can occur in various parts of urinary system, such as the bladder, kidneys, etc. It is caused by a genetic disorder that can lead to too much amino acid building up in the urine, and creating kidney stones.
4. Struvite Stones:
This type of stone occurs due to certain kinds of urinary tract infections (UTI) and is more common in women. These kidney stones tend to grow quickly in size, and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid additional problems.
5. Uric Acid Stone:
This type of stone is more common in men, and mostly occurs when there is not enough water intake or one is having a diet high in animal protein. These kidney stones are also common in people with family history of stones and gout.
Medical Nutrition Therapy For Nephrolithiasis:
Diet plays an important role in treatment of nephrolithiasis, or kidney stones. Although there is no single diet plan for preventing or treatment of nephrolithiasis, some of the general recommendations include:
- Having plenty of fluids; approximately 2.5 L of fluid per day is ideal.
- Moderate amount of protein, sodium, calcium and dietary oxalate intake.
- Avoid Vitamin D supplements; they may increase the chance of stone formation in some individuals.
- Consumption of alcohol and foods with added sugars should be limited.
- In individuals with a history of calcium oxalate stones, caffeine should be restricted.
- In order to prevent stone formation, achieving a healthy body weight should be encouraged and steps should be taken to prevent obesity and weight gain.
One should always consult a Registered Dietitian in regards to dietary recommendations or before making drastic lifestyle changes. Always trust a professional rather than information you find on social media; it may or may not be credible.
Foundation, N. K. (2019, June). Retrieved from National Kidney Foundation: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/diet
Langone, N. (n.d.). Retrieved from NYU Langone: https://nyulangone.org/conditions/kidney-stones-in-adults/types
Services, A. H. (2015, July). Nutrition Guideline Kindey Stones. Retrieved from Alberta Health Services: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/nutrition/if-nfs-ng-kidney-stones.pdf