Does Drinking Water Help Pass Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are small, hard deposits of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. They can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball and can cause excruciating pain as they move through the urinary tract. According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in ten people will develop a kidney stone in their lifetime. While there are various methods to pass kidney stones, there is a common belief that drinking water can help to flush them out of the body. In this article, we will explore the role of water in passing kidney stones and determine if this home remedy is effective.
How Kidney Stones Are Formed
Kidney stones are formed when urine contains more crystal-forming substances, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, than the fluid in your urine can dilute. These substances can stick together and form into small, hard stones. There are various factors that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, such as genetics, diet, underlying medical conditions, and dehydration.
Can Water Help Pass Kidney Stones?
The answer is yes, drinking plenty of water can indeed help pass kidney stones. Water helps to dilute the concentration of the crystal-forming substances in the urine, making it less likely for kidney stones to form. Furthermore, water also helps to flush out the kidneys, preventing the substances from clumping together and forming into stones. In addition, staying hydrated can help to reduce the amount of pain and discomfort associated with kidney stones.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, individuals who have had kidney stones in the past should aim to drink at least 2.5-3 liters of water per day to reduce their risk of developing more stones. For those who have not had kidney stones, the recommended daily intake is 2-3 liters.
Other Benefits of Hydration
Aside from helping to pass kidney stones, staying hydrated has many other benefits for our overall health. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and this water plays a crucial role in maintaining our bodily functions. Some other benefits of staying hydrated include:
- Regulating body temperature
- Lubricating and cushioning joints
- Transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells
- Getting rid of waste through sweating and urination
- Promoting healthy skin complexion
Therefore, staying hydrated is essential for our overall well-being and can have a significant impact on preventing and treating kidney stones.
Other Ways to Pass Kidney Stones
Besides drinking plenty of water, there are other ways to pass kidney stones. The best method will depend on the size and location of the stones, as well as an individual’s overall health. Some common methods used to pass kidney stones include:
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications can help to alleviate the discomfort associated with kidney stones.
- Medical therapy: Doctors may prescribe certain medications to help stones pass more easily through the urinary tract.
- Shock wave lithotripsy: This procedure uses sound waves to break up the stones into smaller pieces that can pass more comfortably.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to remove larger stones that cannot pass on their own.
It is essential to consult with a doctor before attempting to treat kidney stones at home, as they can determine the best course of action for each individual case.
Preventing Kidney Stones
While drinking water can help to pass kidney stones, it is also crucial to take steps to prevent them from forming in the first place. Some tips to prevent kidney stones include:
- Drinking plenty of water