Stones tend to be multiple and tend to recur even after spontaneous
passage or surgical removal. Therefore, effective prevention
depends on determining the specific cause of stone formation.
After an individual has passed a kidney stone, the physician
usually orders a careful metabolic workup, and has the stone
analyzed to identify its exact composition. The workup may
include several blood tests, and the individual may be asked
to collect 24 hour urine samples.
The urine tests enable the doctor to determine if hypercalciuria
(an abnormal level of calcium in the urine), hypocitraturia
(low levels of citrate in the urine) or hyperuricosuria (excessive
uric acid in the urine) are present. Individuals with these
conditions account for about two-thirds of those with calcium
In some cases, diuretics, or "water pills" such as hydrochlorothiazide may be prescribed to reduce calcium in the urine. These medications are often effective in preventing recurrence of calcium stones. Individuals with high levels of calcium in their urine, termed hypercalciuria who also have high levels of uric acid in the urine, or hyperuricosuria, may be treated with a drug called Allopurinol. This medication is also used to treat gout.
Individuals with hypercalciuria often can control stone formation
simply by drinking a lot of fluids and following a moderate
(800-1200mg per day) calcium diet. Some individuals with hypercalciuria
may also be placed on a low oxalate and low sodium diet.
Physicians sometimes find that by using chemical agents to
manipulate the pH of the urine, crystal
formation can be inhibited and stone formation prevented.
An age-old treatment, increasing the patient's daily consumption
of liquids (primarily water) is a worthwhile preventive measure
regardless of the type of stones involved. On average people
with a history of kidney stones are advised to drink 3 liters (13 cups)
of fluid a day.
Fluid Intake Application Information
This Web site is intended for information only and is not a substitute for medical care or treatment by a qualified professional.
Any person who has or might have a health problem should consult their physician