1st Sign of a Kidney Stone? Do This

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/05/2024

Ever experienced that sudden, excruciating pain in your lower back? A severe spasm could buckle your knees and bring you to the floor. If yes, there's a good chance you've had an unwelcome encounter with kidney stones. However, there are measures you can take to manage this frequent health problem.

Learn more about kidney stones, how they can affect your health, and what you can do to prevent this issue.


The onset of pain is typically sudden and sharp – not something you can easily ignore. It may come in waves or fluctuate in intensity as the stone moves. This severe pain usually occurs on one side below the ribs where our kidneys reside before migrating towards the lower abdomen and groin area.

Other warning signs besides excruciating pain include pinkish-red or brown-colored urine caused by blood presence—a symptom known medically as hematuria or foul-smelling cloudy pee if infection sets in.

Frequent urges to use the bathroom might also be a telltale sign that something fishy is happening with your renal system.

Risk Factors & Prevention

While anyone can get kidney stones, some people are more susceptible than others. Factors like dehydration, certain diets, obesity, and specific medical conditions increase the risk of stone formation.

Don't worry; you've got the power to fight these annoying stones. Minor tweaks in your lifestyle can help a lot. Staying hydrated is important, your goal is light yellow or clear urine.

Keep a proper diet low in sodium and protein but rich in veggies. If you have experienced this situation, remember it could occur again so be prepared.

Human Kidney stones medical concept as an organ with painful mineral formations

The Role of Hydration in Preventing Kidney Stones

Hydrating correctly is more than just a health trend; it's your kidney's best friend. Staying well-hydrated can help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine output and promoting healthy urine flow.

The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Urine Flow

Kidneys are like nature’s filtration system for your body, so keeping them flushed out with water helps keep everything running smoothly. Drinking plenty of fluids increases the volume of urine passing through the kidneys.

This dilutes the concentration of minerals, so they're less likely to crystallize and form clumps known as kidney stones.

Your goal should be pale yellow pee. Pale yellow signals optimal hydration levels, which will help flush those unwanted substances away before they can stick around and cause trouble. Harvard Health Publishing has excellent tips on how to stay hydrated.

If you've ever experienced the pain when a stone passes, then you know it's an experience worth avoiding if possible. Increasing fluid intake can decrease this risk significantly, roughly 40% lower odds.

Dietary Interventions for Kidney Stone Prevention

By altering one's diet, it is possible to significantly reduce the chances of developing kidney stones. Specifically, limiting certain foods and adding others can make a difference.

Foods to Avoid for Kidney Stone Prevention

If you're prone to calcium oxalate stones, cutting back on foods high in oxalates is crucial. These include spinach, almonds, chocolate, Swiss chard, and beet tops.

This doesn't mean you must completely eliminate these from your diet, but moderation is key.

The Role of Fiber in Reducing Kidney Stone Risk

Incorporating more fiber into your meals might be one secret weapon against kidney stones. Studies suggest that dietary fiber binds with calcium in the intestines, preventing it from crystallizing into pesky little rocks in our kidneys.

Aim for at least 30 grams per day, but make sure to introduce new fibers slowly; too much too soon could lead to gas or bloating.

Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones

Nature may provide some relief from kidney stones with natural remedies, which can help avoid them and lessen their effects.

Lemon Juice: Nature’s Potassium Citrate

A surprisingly simple answer is lemon juice. Packed with natural citric acid, lemons are an easy and refreshing way to increase your daily dose of protective compounds.

Even half a cup daily can make a significant difference. So give those ice cubes company by adding some freshly squeezed citrus goodness.

Potassium Citrate Supplements: The Underestimated Ally

Sometimes though, life gets busy, or perhaps sour drinks aren't your thing. This is where potassium citrate supplements come into play.

Like lemon juice, these supplements provide your body with the much-needed citrate. They work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure those pesky crystals keep their distance from each other.

So whether you're a fan of lemons or prefer popping a pill, increasing your intake of citrates can help stop kidney stones. Remember, take lemons (or potassium citrate) when life gives you them. Your kidneys will thank you.

The Potential Benefits of Supplements in Kidney Stone Prevention

Some supplements have shown promise as natural remedies against these painful pebbles. For instance, apple cider vinegar's rich acetic acid content may help dissolve kidney stones while preventing new ones from forming.

Wheatgrass juice powder is another potent remedy due to its high antioxidant levels and ability to increase urine output, helping flush out those pesky stones more quickly. A daily shot could potentially keep your kidneys clear.

Berberine and chondroitin sulfate are other supplements worth considering if you're battling recurring kidney stones.

Berberine helps regulate glucose metabolism, which may indirectly affect stone formation, while chondroitin sulfate inhibits calcium oxalate crystal growth, one primary types of kidney stones.

Cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D (both known for promoting overall renal health), which makes it helpful for fighting kidney stones.

Doctor urologist makes an injection in a human kidney

When to Seek Medical Attention for Kidney Stones

If you're managing a small kidney stone, it may be unclear when to seek medical attention.

But here's the thing: while many small kidney stones pass on their own, sometimes they can lead to severe symptoms or health conditions that need immediate care.

Experiencing severe pain is one of those signs. This pain can also spread down your side and into your lower abdomen, at which point it is wise to seek medical advice.

Blood pressure spikes are another red flag indicating that it’s time for a doctor's visit. If left unchecked, high blood pressure from kidney stones could result in heart disease or stroke, so don't take any chances.

In addition to these physical symptoms, certain medical conditions make seeking prompt treatment crucial if you suspect a kidney stone issue.

The Importance of Scheduling an Appointment

You should request an appointment immediately if the severity of your discomfort increases significantly or if your condition worsens despite using home remedies.

You'll likely undergo some tests during this visit which will give doctors vital information for effective treatment planning.

So remember: scheduling regular check-ups is always beneficial, even without alarming symptoms.

Oxalate-Rich Foods.

Oxalates bind with calcium, forming crystals that grow into larger masses known as kidney stones.

To mitigate this risk, consider limiting foods high in oxalates like spinach and chocolate while also watching out for less obvious sources such as almonds and beet tops which surprisingly contain significant amounts.

Moderating Animal Protein Intake

Eating animal protein can increase uric acid levels, which is one factor contributing to kidney stone creation. By moderating intake from sources like beef, chicken, eggs, and cheese, we're helping maintain a healthier balance, potentially reducing the chances of developing issues.

Increase Citrate Intake

Boosting citrate intake, primarily through natural sources like lemon juice, can also help prevent kidney stones. Citrates decrease urine acidity and may bind with calcium in the urine, preventing stone formation.

Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones

Don't forget about natural remedies. Apple cider vinegar, for instance, might help break down smaller stones. You might want to add something like chondroitin sulfate or berberine to your routine.

Regarding kidney stones, natural remedies can be a valuable addition to conventional treatment. People often ask, "What does gargling salt water do?" However, while saltwater gargles are helpful for throat discomfort, they're not directly related to kidney stone management.

Instead, focusing on increasing fluid intake, especially water, and incorporating dietary changes can be beneficial when dealing with kidney stones. Certain foods and beverages, like lemon juice and sugar-free cranberry juice, may assist in kidney stone prevention.

Still, consulting a healthcare professional for guidance tailored to your specific condition and needs when dealing with kidney stones is essential.


Kidney stones can be a painful and disruptive health issue, but there are numerous measures you can take to manage and prevent them.

Hydration plays a key role in preventing kidney stones by promoting healthy urine flow and diluting mineral concentrations.

Dietary modifications, such as reducing intake of oxalate-rich foods and animal proteins while increasing citrate-rich sources like lemon juice, can also aid in prevention. However, it's essential to seek medical attention if experiencing severe symptoms or complications.

By adopting a proactive approach to kidney stone prevention and management, individuals can improve their overall kidney health and reduce the risk of future occurrences, enhancing their quality of life.

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