What Causes Kidney Stones? 5 Reasons You Can Prevent

Masthead Image
Author Name: Mia Barnes
Date: Wednesday March 10, 2021

Body + Mind is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through some of the links on our site. 

Today, it’s evident that more and more people are experiencing kidney stones. That’s especially true for females who can reproduce, as well as older adults in general. But what causes kidney stones — and how can you prevent them? Thankfully, you have some control over your chance of getting kidney stones in your lifetime.

Take a look.

What Are Kidney Stones?

A kidney stone is a hard deposit made from built-up minerals in your kidney. The development of kidney stones happens when crystals form in your urinary tract. Your urine has dissolved waste that needs liquid to move through your body. The absence of liquid causes kidney stones to gradually become more substantial.

You may be able to pass smaller kidney stones while urinating. A kidney stone that remains in the kidney causes a urine buildup. If you feel severe pain while having kidney stones, it’s likely due to that blockage. 

Types of Kidney Stones

There are four types of kidney stones. These variations include calcium oxalate, struvite, uric acid and cystine. Here’s a look at each kind’s different properties and causes.

  • Calcium oxalate is the most common type of kidney stone. It’s formed when calcium pairs with oxalate in your urine. 
  • Struvite is the result of an infection in your upper urinary tract. This kind isn’t as common as others.
  • Uric acid kidney stones are the result of high purine levels. This chemical compound leads to the culmination of monosodium urate. As a result, you get kidney stones.
  • Cystine is a rare type of kidney stone. It’s usually a product of genetics.

You can get different kidney stones for various reasons. That said, it’s sometimes hard to tell which one you have because symptoms can be similar. In any case, you should keep an eye out for symptoms like lower back pains, nausea or vomiting and abnormal-looking or -smelling urine.

Potential Causes of Kidney Stones

What causes kidney stones? There are several reasons why you may have them. In some cases, you’ll note that they’re preventable, as your lifestyle plays a significant role in avoiding the development of kidney stones. Here are five reasons why you might have kidney stones.

1. Dehydration

If you don’t drink enough water, you risk your body not having enough liquids to flush your urine’s waste. That buildup leads directly to kidney stones. It’s essential to keep yourself hydrated so that your kidneys have what they need to operate correctly.

Make an effort to avoid drinks like soda, coffee and alcohol that may make you more dehydrated. Try to consume at least five large glasses of water every day. You can set a timer on your phone to remind yourself.

2. Overeating Sugar and Salt

A sugar- or salt-heavy diet can increase the risk of kidney stones. These ingredients result in calcium building in your urine. Having too much calcium can be a bad thing. Your bones can actually get weaker. Plus, you’re more likely to experience calcium oxalate kidney stones.

You can still eat these ingredients without getting kidney stones. It’s the amount that matters. If you’re consuming too many sweets, chips or other processed foods, you should cut back.

3. Too Much or Too Little Physical Activity

How often do you exercise? Your habits may impact your likelihood of getting kidney stones. That’s especially true when you don’t raise your water intake to compensate for sweating. It’s crucial to be more active than not so that you can avoid kidney stones. However, you don’t want to overdo things.

There’s also a chance that physical activity can help pass kidney stones in your system. Your doctor may recommend a light walk or jog to get them moving.

4. Obesity

If you’re overweight, you may have a higher risk of developing kidney stones. That’s because obesity can increase the production of oxalate and calcium in the urinary tract. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight when taking steps to reduce your chance of kidney stones.

Be sure to talk to your physician about any weight concerns you may have. They should be able to help you develop a plan that’s right for your individual needs.

5. Consuming Animal-Based Protein

A high-protein diet can be detrimental for those wanting to prevent kidney stones. Eating animal-based protein in large amounts increases your body’s uric acid level. Plus, your urinary tract has less of a chance to fight kidney stones when you consume too much protein.

Consider cutting down on your protein intake, especially if it’s solely animal products. Instead, you should aim to eat more plant-based protein to keep your body healthy. A balance is key.

You Play a Role in Avoiding and Treating Kidney Stones

It’s no secret that kidney stones aren’t fun. Fortunately, you can take preventative measures to reduce your risk if you’re concerned about developing them. Use this information to figure out what causes kidney stones in your life — and how you can make the right changes.

Previous ArticleWhat Causes Back Acne? 5 Reasons and Solutions Next Article5 Reasons Practicing Good Nutritional Habits Is Important
Subscribe CTA Image

Subscribers get even more tailored tips & deets delivered directly to their inboxes!