3 habits that can give you kidney stones and 3 ways to prevent it

Do yourself a favor and make these three changes for your health.

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  • Dr. Scott Miller isn't the only person who pointed out that passing a kidney stone has been compared to the pain of childbirth. It's a sharp, piercing pain that happens when the kidneys have a little bit of a problem balancing the water, salts and minerals (and other things) in the urine, accordingto WebMD. All these minerals and other materials stick together and form little pebbles that sometimes just hang out, but sometimes need to come out... which isn't a pleasant experience.

  • Luckily, altering your life habits can drastically reduce your chance of getting these painful stones (which can range to be the size of grains of sand to the size of a golfball. Large stones are usually removed surgically, instead of passing through your body - luckily). But to avoid both options, stop doing these things:

  • Eating lots of meat

  • If you're prone to kidney stones, you might want to share your steak dinner with a friend. In a European study, Philppe Jaeger MD found that excessive meat intake is one factor to increasing kidney stone production. Experts suggest going from a high protein diet to a medium or even low-protein diet- eating about 4 oz. of meat, poultry or fish a day, at most. For reference, 4 oz. of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

  • Not drinking enough water

  • Low urine volume is one of the biggest factors in kidney stone production, as outlined by the Urology Care Foundation. Not enough liquid means those salts and minerals are more likely to stick together and form a stone- not good. Luckily, just drinking more fluids, preferably water, is the easy solution. The foundation suggests three liters (or 100 ounces) each day to produce enough urine that kidney stones hopefully won't form.

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  • Reducing your sodium intake is also crucial- avoid foods high in sodium (like soy sauce) and choose to season your foods with things other than salt... like a squeeze of citrus. Lemon and limes are also high in citrate, which can mean less kidney stones in your life.

  • Eating too many foods like this

  • One of the most common types of stones are called calcium oxalate stones, accordingto the National Kidney Foundation. Oxalate is one of those minerals that tend to stick together and form those pesky, painful stones, especially when you don't have enough liquid in your kidneys. Cutting down on certain foods that are high in oxalates (like nuts, beets, chocolate, red kidney beans, oat bran and a few others) can help this from happening.

  • But don't cut out oxalate completely from your diet (it's important). Just add calcium. Eating foods high in calcium with your oxalate foods can also prevent kidney stones from forming, as outlined by the National Kidney Foundation. Calcium and oxalate "bind" to each other in the stomach before they hit the kidneys, which means the oxalate can't bind to itself to form a stone. Foods high in calcium include dairy products, cucumbers, melons, bananas, cauliflower, cabbage and others.

  • You can also talk to your doctor about options if you're prone to kidney stones- diagnostic tests like blood testing, urine testing and even imaging can let you know if you have a kidney stone before it passes. Your doctor can also help plan a more personalized prevention plan to help make sure you can lower your chances of getting and passing a kidney stone.

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Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.

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