Kidney stones are common in people aged between 30 and 60 and can develop in one or both kidneys.
They form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances, such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid, than the fluid in your urine can dilute.
The stones can range in size form just a speck to as large as a ping pong ball.
Small stones may go undetected and be passed out painlessly in the urine, but more often than not, the stone can block part of the urinary system and cause severe pain.
So what should you eat to prevent kidney stones?
Kidney stones diet
According tot he NHS, if your kidney stone is caused by too much calcium, you may be advised to reduce the amount of oxalates in your diet.
Oxalates prevent calcium being absorbed by your body, and can accumulate in your kidney to form a stone.
Foods that contain oxalates include:
- Almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts
- Soy products
- Grains, such as oatmeal, wheat germ and wholewheat
But the health body does advise: “Don’t reduce the amount of calcium in your diet unless your GP advises you to. This is because calcium is very important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
“To avoid developing a uric acid stone, you should reduce the amount of meat, poultry and fish in your diet. You may also be prescribed medication yo change the levels of acid or alkaline in your urine.”
Very small kidney stones are unlikely to cause many symptoms, but if a kidney stone gets stuck in your kidney, starts to travel down the ureter (the tube that attaches each kidney to the bladder) or causes an infection then some pain can be experienced.
The NHS says symptoms can include:
- A persistent ache in the lower back, which is sometimes also felt in the groin – men may have pain in their testicles and scrotum
- Periods of intense pain in the back or side of your abdomen, or occasionally in your groin, which may last for minutes or hours
- Feeling restless and unable to lie still
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Needing to urinate more often than normal
- Pain when you urinate (dysuria)
- Blood in your urine (haematuria) – this may be caused by the stone scratching the kidney or ureter
How else can you prevent kidney stones?
One of the best ways to prevent kidney stones is by drinking lots of water and cutting back on salt.
Keeping urine diluted and clear will prevent waste products forming into kidney stones
Scientists recently warned that the number of kidney stones cases is on the rise.