Avoiding kidney stones

Ever had a kidney stone? Ever seen someone with one? It hurts – a lot. Here's how to avoid having to deal with one.

We won't even worry you with the odds, because the chances of winning the national lottery are around 1 in 30 million, while your chances of being struck by lightning twice in your life are around 1 in 15 million. That doesn't mean much to the faithful folk who buy lottery tickets.

It's the same with kidney stones: even if your chances were slim, you wouldn't want to get one.

The fact is, your chances of getting one aren't that slim. If you're between 20 and 40, lead an active lifestyle in the summer heat – at work or play – you might end up with one.

As you know, your kidneys are where your pee is made. Mineral deposits can build up in the kidneys and form hard lumps. At any given time one can start drifting down your urethra like a small and painfully spiky iceberg. Eventually it'll pop out, by which time you and your todger may be begging for mercy. It's painful and avoidable, and here's how to avoid the pain.

Know thine enemy: Kidney stones are sharp little lumps of mineral. They only form when there's not enough liquid in the kidneys to wash them out, so your first step is to:

  • Drink plenty of water. Beer and soft drinks don't count, because they can dehydrate you. Stick to good ol' haich-two-oh.
  • Lose the salt. It elevates your blood pressure and does other bad things anyway, so reduce the amount of salt in your diet. Also watch out for the salt lurking in things like pickles and cured meats. Why's this a problem? The sodium makes your kidneys retain calcium, where they start crystallising.
  • Veg out. Limiting your intake of animal protein drastically reduces your chances of developing kidney stones. One study found that male vegetarians in the UK had half the incidence of kidney stones that their carnivorous cousins had. Hey, maybe that's what killed the dinosaurs. How does it work? Eating meat increases the amount of uric acid going into your kidneys and if the acid isn't expelled it can form kidney stones.
  • Scarf a banana. Or an orange, nectarine, naartjie, potato or other fresh produce. All these items are rich in potassium, which helps prevent the formation of kidney stones.
  • Slug some yoghurt. Dairy products contain calcium, which binds to the minerals that comprise kidney stones. Then you drink a beer and a big class or water and go to the loo, and away the stones go. Easy as that. If you're lactose- intolerant or don't like dairy, chewing a couple of calcium tablets works just as well.

(William Smook)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Authorities should bring in the army already
12% - 853 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
44% - 3184 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
41% - 2989 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 288 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.