Kidney stones are created when tiny minerals and salts in urine clump together and become lodged within the urinary system. When the stones become stuck, they can be excruciating, often resulting in a trip to the emergency room.

Kidney stones are caused by a few different risk factors. Unfortunately, those who have experienced kidney stones in the past are more likely to develop them again. Here are some risk factors that may contribute to developing kidney stones and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Dehydration

Dehydration can lead to kidney stones. This is because when you do not drink enough water, your urine becomes concentrated and can cause the salts and minerals in the urine to clump together more easily.

Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent kidney stones. Most people should drink 12 glasses of water per day. In addition, you should drink mostly water throughout the day and limit drinks like coffee, tea, soda, or sports drinks.

2. Diet

Eating certain foods may increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Here a few types of foods you should try to limit in your diet to lower your risk of kidney stones:

  • Animal proteins like red meat and shellfish may increase uric acid levels in the body, which can cause kidney stones.
  • Salty foods like canned, packaged, and processed foods may lead to lead kidney stones.
  • Foods high in sugar may also increase the risk of kidney stones.

To help prevent kidney stones from developing due to your diet, you should eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the acid found in urine, making stones harder to form.

3. History of Kidney Stones

About half of the people who have had kidney stones in the past will develop another within seven years. If you have had a kidney stone in the past, speak to your doctor about ways to lower your risk of developing kidney stones.

4. Certain Medical Conditions

Being diagnosed with certain conditions can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Some health conditions that may cause kidney stones to include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gout
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Parathyroid disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease and chronic diarrhea

Unfortunately, some of these medical conditions make avoiding kidney stones difficult. Speak to your doctor about how to manage your chronic diseases so you can avoid developing kidney stones.

5. Medications

Some medications you take can cause kidney stones to form in your urinary tract. These medications include:

  • Diuretics
  • Calcium-based antacids
  • Certain HIV medications
  • Seizure medications like Topamax or Dilantin
  • Antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone

If you have had kidney stones, speak to your doctor before starting these medications.

Lower Your Risk of Developing Kidney Stones

Sometimes kidney stones cannot be avoided, but there are some things you can do to decrease the risk of developing them in the future.

Schedule an appointment today to talk to your doctor about how to avoid developing kidney stones.