Kidney Stone Alert: How to Stay Hydrated and Avoid Pain this Summer!

Jacksonville, Florida – As the summer season approaches, warm weather activities like beach days and outdoor fun become popular. However, along with the fun in the sun comes an unexpected concern: kidney stones. Researchers warn that inadequate hydration can increase the risk of developing painful kidney stones, especially as temperatures and humidity levels rise during the summer months. Additionally, individuals with diets high in sodium, fat, and sugar are at a higher risk of becoming one of the 1 in 10 Americans who will experience kidney stones in their lifetime.

Kidney stones form when minerals from urine solidify into small stone-like masses that can get stuck in the ureter, causing obstruction and intense pain in the lower back or side. While some stones pass without much discomfort, others may require medical intervention. Dr. Ivan E. Porter, a nephrologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, emphasizes the importance of staying hydrated during the summer to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation, especially when sweating more in hot weather.

Research published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases reveals an increase in emergency room visits for kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and other kidney injuries during warmer months in New York state hospitals. Dr. Shao Lin, a professor of environmental health at the State University of New York at Albany, suggests that the rise in kidney stone cases during warmer months may be attributed to people spending excessive time in the sun without proper hydration or cooling mechanisms.

Aside from environmental factors like heat and dehydration, dietary choices also play a significant role in the prevalence of kidney stones. Dr. Timothy Averch, a urologist in Columbia, South Carolina, points out that the increase in kidney stone rates in the United States can be linked to diets high in sodium and animal proteins. Processed foods, known for their high sodium content, should be avoided to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation.

To lower the risk of kidney stones, experts recommend staying hydrated by drinking water or citrate-rich fluids like lemonade, while minimizing intake of dehydrating drinks like coffee and alcohol. Avoiding excess consumption of animal proteins and fats, as well as calcium supplements, can also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Additionally, debunking myths around dairy consumption, studies show that calcium-rich foods like cheese, milk, and yogurt can actually lower the risk of certain types of kidney stones.

For individuals experiencing symptoms of kidney stones, such as sharp pain in the back or groin, blood in urine, or difficulty urinating, seeking medical attention is crucial. Doctors can conduct tests to diagnose and determine the size of the stone, as well as provide treatment options. It is recommended to seek medical care if there is suspicion of a kidney stone or if symptoms persist.

In conclusion, staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet, and seeking medical attention when symptoms arise are key factors in preventing and managing kidney stones. By being mindful of lifestyle choices and environmental factors, individuals can reduce their risk of experiencing the discomfort and complications associated with kidney stones.