Kidney stones are solid formations in the kidneys composed of a combination of minerals that are supposed to be passed out of the body through urine. Different types of kidney stones include:
- Calcium Oxalate Stones
- Calcium Phosphate Stones
- Uric Acid Stones
- Cystine Stones
- Struvite Stones
Kidney stones are formed in 9% of women and 19% of men. They are very painful to pass out as they grow in size. Some may even require surgery to remove the stone directly from the kidney failure which the kidney may fail.
What causes kidney stones to form?
- Drinking less water or fluids than what is required by the body.
- Consuming foods high in oxalates
- Consuming high protein diet that majorly includes red meat or animal-based protein
- Higher sodium consumption
Diet plays an important role in preventing the occurrence and recurrence of kidney stones. If you never had kidney stones and want to adhere to a good diet to prevent kidney stones, you need an overall diet plan whereas if you were already diagnosed with a particular type of kidney stones, your diet will depend on the mineral makeup of the stone.
Diet to prevent the formation of Calcium Oxalate Stones
Calcium Oxalate stones are formed when calcium and oxalate from the foods consumed are sent to the kidneys for passing out through urine. When calcium and oxalate are present in the urine, they tend to combine and form small crystal deposits in the kidneys resulting in calcium oxalate stones. Eventually, they grow in size as more minerals get deposited on them.
Indian foods rich in oxalates (that must be avoided to prevent Calcium Oxalate Stones):
- Spinach, Okra (Bendi / Ladies finger), Beetroots
- Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, soybeans
- Wheat bran
- Dark Chocolate
Let’s look at Calcium, the other half of the compound that results in the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Now, one may think that they have to cut down on calcium in their diet to prevent calcium oxalate stones formation but that’s wrong. You need to increase your calcium intake to avoid the formation of these stones. Here’s the reason why. When you eat more calcium through your diet, the calcium present in it gets combined with oxalates in the intestines instead of getting flushed into the kidneys separately. This prevents the deposits from forming in the kidneys. Following are the foods rich in calcium:
- Milk, curds, cheese, paneer, and buttermilk (dairy products)
- Kidney beans (Rajma)
- Ragi Flour
- Chickpeas, Cowpeas
- Sprouts from pulses like moong, moath beans, chana etc.
Remember that Vitamin D is very important for the body to efficiently absorb calcium from the foods you eat.
Now about the culprit – Sodium. Excess sodium intake prevents absorption of calcium in the intestines. As a result, more calcium gets transported into the kidneys paving way for the formation of calcium oxalate stones. Sodium, though is not consumed directly, it is present in several packaged and processed foods. Read the contents label before buying any packed foods from your grocery store/supermarket.
Diet to prevent the formation of Uric Acid Stones
Uric acid stones are formed when our body generates large amounts of uric acid from the foods we eat. Foods rich in purines such as red meat, liver, intestines, heart, the brain of animals, alcohol beverages promote the production of higher uric acid levels. A large amount of uric acid helps in the formation of Uric Acid stones in the kidneys. Also, you need to avoid artificial or refined sugar products such as cola, corn syrups, etc. Instead substitute your diet with fresh green vegetables, fruits, whole-grain foods, and also low-fat dairy products.
Instead, consume plant-based protein such as:
- Flax Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Lenthils etc.
What else can be done to prevent kidney stones?
Along with prescription medicine, dietary changes must be done to include/exclude certain foods based on the type of your kidney stone. This can prevent from forming kidney stone or stops recurrence. Also, you need to have lemonades (concentrated lemon juice with water) to increase the pH value of urine. Alkali citrates will be prescribed (such as potassium citrate) to make the urine more alkaline (higher pH value) and prevent the formation of calcium stones.
Is returning of kidney stones normal?
In many people, kidney stones do come back even after removal. This shouldn’t be attributed to the urologist or the doctor who treated you. The occurrence or recurrence of kidney stones depends on your lifestyle and the foods you eat. You must follow your doctor’s advice wrt food and drink plenty of water every day to flush out the crystalline formations from the kidneys before they become big.
What is the cost of kidney stone removal in Chennai?
The cost of any surgical procedure varies from place to place and from clinic to clinic in Chennai. Not just in Chennai, this statement holds good in any part of the world. The cost of kidney stones removal depends on the following factors:
- The size of stone
- Number of stones
- The procedure employed to remove the stones. (Some might require just breaking up and some might require making an incision and picking up the stone from the kidney directly).
While those are the direct factors, other factors include the amenities and care provided by the clinic and the hygiene standards followed by the clinic, says Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran, one of Chennai’s famous urologists who has been helping patients with kidney stones for 3 decades.