How to Prevent Kidney Stones During the Summer Months

September 10, 2018

By Abbey Gerveler

As summer winds down, one crucial thing to keep in mind is staying hydrated as hot and dry weather persists. That’s because doctors say more people suffer from kidney stones in the summer months due to dehydration. “The most common denominator for stone formers is that they don’t drink enough water,” says Dr. Steven Cockrell, Urologist at Hannibal Regional Medical Group. “People ought to drink 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day,” he says. People that become more active during the summer months tend to produce more sweat, which boosts the body’s risk for dehydration and thus fosters the crystallization of minerals in the kidneys.
Once a person has had a kidney stone, the chance of developing another is high. Genetic predisposition for kidney stones also increases your risk. There are, however, some measures you can take to help prevent kidney stone formation and decrease urine acidity, such as cutting back on meat intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, and steering clear of sugary drinks such as soda or tea, which are both high in oxalate. Foods and beverages containing oxalate contribute to the most common type of kidney stone: the calcium oxalate stone. For soda lovers, Dr. Cockrell recommends drinking light sodas, which often contain more citric acid, over dark sodas, which contain phosphoric acid.
Depending on the size, a kidney stone may cause severe pain as it moves along the urinary tract. A stone passing through the body can take as little as a day or as long as several weeks after a person experiences symptoms, which may include severe pain in the side and back that fluctuates in intensity, nausea and vomiting, pain with urination, and fever and chills with infection. If a person is experiencing these symptoms, they may seek medical treatment. “If someone has kidney stones they’re going to be hurting quite a bit. It depends on the location, size, and pain as to when we intervene” says Dr. Cockrell. Once a stone is nearly passed, the pain eventually will cease though complications are rare.