Kidney Stones: What You Need to Know

Ten percent of people will pass a kidney stone at some point. Learn about prevention and symptoms.

Huge solid mass made up of tiny crystals forming a big stone inside of a kidney
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Can dietary changes help? Diet can play a key role in preventing kidney stones. Here are some things you can do to prevent kidney stones:

• Drinking large amounts of water (two to three quarts a day) is the best way to prevent future stones. Drink whatever amount it takes so that your urine is light yellow or clear.

• If you have calcium stones, you will need to limit sodium intake to 200 milligrams a day.

• Do not eliminate calcium from your diet. This will lead to bone loss. Calcium intake from food actually prevents stones from forming. Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium.

• Avoid taking calcium supplements. They increase the risk of stone formation.

• If you have an oxalate stone, you should decrease oxalate intake. Foods high in oxalate include most nuts, soy products, wheat germ, wheat bran, spinach, tea, rhubarb, beets, most dried beans, chocolate and sweet potatoes.

• Reduce the amount of animal protein you eat. Cut back on beef, chicken, port, fish and eggs.

• If you take vitamins, discuss this with your doctor. Some vitamins, such as vitamin C, increase the risk for stone formation.

• Avoid using herbal products. There is no medical evidence supporting herbal treatments.

• Use sugar substitutes. Buy sugar-free products whenever possible.

• If you are overweight, lose the extra pounds.

Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 13, 2013 on It has been edited and republished by U.S. News. The original version, with references, can be seen here.