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Greater Risk of Kidney Stones in Summer

  • Date: 2011/06/22 (Rev: 2018/06/30) Press Release* : Pacific Urology
  • Synopsis : During summer increased outdoor exertion and chances of dehydration are a major factor in kidney stone formation.

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Summer's Arrival Increases Risk of Kidney Stones - Hot, dry weather boosts stone incidence; three steps can cut risks, expert says.

With research studies showing the incidence of kidney stones on the rise in the last 30 years, Californians should be mindful that today's arrival of summer increases risks, say experts at one of Northern California's largest urological medical practices.

What Are Kidney Stones?

As the human kidneys filter waste from the blood sometimes, salts and other minerals in the urine clump together forming what is called kidney stones. Kidney stones can be as small as grains of sand or as big as golf balls. They can stay in your kidneys or exit out of your body through your urinary tract.

Kidney stones will quite often cause no pain while they are inside your kidneys. But they can cause sudden and severe pain as they move from your kidneys to your bladder.

Kidney stones that remain inside your body can lead to several complications, including blockage of the tube connecting your kidney to your bladder, which obstructs the path that urine uses to leave your body.

About one in 300 Americans suffer kidney stones annually, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In California, doctors say the incidence rises each year along with outside temperatures.

"As the weather gets warmer and drier every year, we see a significant increase in kidney stones," said Dr. Judson Brandeis of Pacific Urology.

"The trend starts in spring and continues into the summer heat and aridity."

More Men than Women Get Kidney Stones

While risks generally increase with age, people of ages 20 to 40 can also be more prone in the summer due to increased outdoor exertion and chances of dehydration, a major factor in stone formation.

Three simple preventative measures can be effective, Dr. Brandeis says:

  • The easiest step is simply to drink more water. Lemonade can also help, due to a concentration of citric acid, a natural stone inhibitor.
  • A low-oxalate diet can reduce intake of the chemical compound calcium-oxalate, a contributor to stone formation. Oxalate is found in berries, certain vegetables and nuts and seeds. For more information: www.pacificurology.com/diet-a-kidney-stones.
  • Recent studies have shown that foods high in calcium, including dairy products, may help prevent calcium stones - contrary to what doctors used to think. However, taking calcium in pill form may increase the risk of developing stones.

The prevalence of kidney stones rises as men enter their 40s and continues to rise into their 70s.

For women, the prevalence of kidney stones peaks in their 50s.

People with a past history of stones are more prone to a recurrence, said Dr. Brandeis, and might consider avoiding food with added vitamin D and certain types of antacids with a calcium base.

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