Want Fewer Kidney Stones? Drink More Water
One of the best ways to keep kidney stones away is also one of the best ways to keep your entire body healthy and happy. It’s easy and it’s free: drink more water.
There are actually many things you can do to lower your risk of kidney stones: you can eat less animal protein, you can cut down sugar and sodium, you can take a Chanca Piedra supplement, you can start exercising, you can manage your diabetes, etc.
And these are all effective and important.
But they often take time, effort, and even money. Drinking more water is the simplest step you can take to say “goodbye” to kidney stones.
So if you suffer from kidney stones – or if you know you are at risk for kidney stones – you absolutely need to start drinking plenty of water every single day. Here’s why…
Why Water Prevents Kidney Stones
In order to understand the importance of drinking enough water, you first have to understand how kidney stones are made.
Our kidneys are a major filtering system. Lots and lots of substances come through them. In a healthy situation, those substances just flow out of your body through your urine without any problems.
But when you have too much of a stone-forming substance – like calcium, oxalate, uric acid or cysteine to name a few – in your urine, a stone can start to form. They join together and crystalize. They start small and grow and grow and grow.
This is because:
- Your urine was too concentrated
- They were allowed to sit there for too long
To prevent both of these situations from occurring, you want to dilute your urine and create more of it.
How do we dilute urine? How do we create more urine? We drink more water!
And this isn’t just a theory – science shows us it’s true.
One recent study revealed that those who had 2 to 2 ½ liters of urine each day were half as likely to form kidney stones than people who didn’t make as much urine.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
So how much water is the right amount of water to keep your kidney stones away?
The general guideline for water drinking has been is eight 8-ounces glasses of water each day. But that’s just a baseline. It may not be the perfect amount for you.
Let’s go back to that study on urine production equaling fewer kidney stones. The goal was to get 2 to 2 ½ liters of urine each day, right?
For the average person, that takes somewhere between 8 and 10 8-ounce glasses of water to get to that point.
But let’s be honest – nobody is really sure how much urine they’ve passed each day. We don’t measure each time we visit the bathroom. So stick with an easier test:
Keep an eye on the color of your urine. If it is clear or very light yellow, you are drinking enough. If it is dark yellow or orange, you are not getting enough water.
Also pay attention to how often you need to go to the bathroom. Your visits should be somewhere around 7 to 9 times per day. If you are going much less, you are probably not getting enough fluids.
However, if kidney stones have been a real issue for you, you may want to make it a point to measure your urine output for a few days. See your averages, and make adjustments to your hydration levels when needed.
How Much Water Do You Need When Exercising?
That recommendation of eight 8-ounces glasses of water is for an average day. It is not taking into account physical activity – especially strenuous physical activity where you sweat a lot.
So if you’re drinking plenty, but also exercising plenty (which you absolutely should be doing – it’s great for kidney health/preventing future kidney stones) – you need to have considerably more water.
First off – you have to drink plenty of water before you start your workout. The goal to staying hydrated after an exercise routine is to start hydrated. Yet many people don’t really think about it. In fact, WebMD reports:
“When trainer Amanda Carlson did a study on college football players preparing for a major NFL scouting event, she found that 98% of them were dehydrated at the beginning of their morning evaluation.”
So drink around two glasses of water about an hour or two pre-workout. Drink another right before your workout begins. And then keeping drinking a glass for every 15 minutes of strenuous exercise. (You may need more if you are heavily sweating.)
And don’t forget to keep hydrating when you are done. It’s not only important for hydration and kidney stone prevention, but also for boosting your training benefits:
3 Ways To Get More Water
You see now why drinking plenty of water is essential for kidney stone prevention. And with a pain like that, you have yourself some strong hydration motivation. So if you realize you need to get more water in your daily routine to combat kidney stones, here are a few ways to help you make that a reality.
1. Make it taste good
Water can get boring. Add in chopped fruit or a few drops of essential oils (make sure they are safe for ingesting) to your water.
I like to add a drop of lemon in my hot water in the morning. Then I like to add a few drops of grapefruit oil in the middle of the day.
If you are looking for some tasty fruit-infused water combinations, check out this video that gives you 5 original ideas (my favorite is grapefruit/rosemary – it almost tastes like a cocktail!)
Sparkling water is hydrating too, so you can add that into your day to shake things up. Choose any kind that does not have sugar or artificial sugar.
2. Eat Watery Foods
Much of the produce we eat is actually mostly water. When you eat fruits and vegetables, you are also hydrating your body. But you may have to be picky about what produce you eat.
Calcium-oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone. You don’t need to eat less calcium, but you do need to eat less oxalate if you get these types of kidney stones.
Here are a few high water and low-oxalate produce choices:
3. Use an App
There are lots of different free apps out there that let you track your daily water intake. Many of them will also send you notifications to help you remember to drink throughout the day.
It may seem annoying at first to mark how much you’ve had to drink, but it’s important.
Most people don’t have an accurate view of how much water they are actually drinking each day. You might think you’re drinking a lot, but then realize you should be having an extra glass or two each day.
Take advantage of this technology. Even if it only helps you remember 8 extra ounces a day – it could be the difference between a kidney stone and no kidney stone.
Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Water?
With all this focus on drinking more water, you may be wondering if it is possible to go overboard. There are actually two cases where you could be drinking too much.
While it is possible for you to drink too much water, but it is extremely rare. Signs of water intoxication include:
- Heatstroke-like symptoms:
The problem here is you are actually diluting too much and ridding yourself of essential electrolytes.
But this really only happens to adults if they drink liters of water all at once. Just space out your water intake throughout the day, and you’ll be fine.
If you have kidney disease, your doctor may recommend that you limit your water intake. If this applies to you, ask very specific questions to know exactly how much water you should be drinking regularly and when you exercise.
If you are concerned about kidney stones, tell your doctor. Ask them how to balance healthy hydration with appropriate water levels for your kidneys.
What About Drinking Water When You Already Have A Kidney Stone?
Until now, we’ve been talking about preventing kidney stones. But what about when you have one currently?
You will want to drink some extra water when you are passing a stone – especially when you are doing it naturally without surgical intervention.
Though it is not going to make it go 10x faster; there’s no miracle cure for immediate kidney stone removal (other than surgery). But dehydration will not be your friend while you’re passing your stone. You need to be creating plenty of urine throughout the process.
You can also add a splash of apple cider vinegar to your water for an extra natural boost.
H2O For Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are such important organs. It is important to treat them well. Allow water to keep your kidneys healthy and kidney stone free! It really is easy, especially when you have the motivation of fewer kidney stones.
Pay attention to your urine over the next week. See when it is clear. See when it is dark. Do you need to drink more right when you wake up? Do you need to drink more during the workday? Do you need to start hydrating before your workout?
Once you have that information, you can start making habits that keep you hydrated all day everyday.
Pair all that water intake with a Chanca Piedra pill for full all-natural kidney stone prevention.