Urolithiasis is a disease in which stones form in the urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder. It is said that a decrease in water intake, genetic factors, high protein and excessive salt intake, dietary habits, temperature, and humidity all work together to influence the occurrence. In particular, it is known to occur frequently in tropical regions, desert regions, and geographically mountainous regions due to the characteristics of the cause of disease such as temperature and humidity. In addition, it has been reported that urine is concentrated due to excretion of a lot of sweat, which facilitates the formation of urolithiasis, and that exposure to sunlight for a long time increases the formation of vitamin D and increases the risk of urolithiasis. has been known. It is also known that men are two to three times more likely to develop the disease than women. When urolithiasis occurs, the stones formed interfere with the flow of urine, and sudden pain in the flank appears. These pains appear suddenly and last for several tens of minutes to several hours, then disappear and then appear again and again in a repetitive form. In addition, if the stone is located near the bladder, bladder irritation symptoms such as frequent urination may also occur. In addition, if symptoms become more severe, it may cause complications such as urinary tract infection, hydronephrosis, and renal failure. As it is known that urolithiasis is one of the diseases with a very high probability of recurrence even if treated, it is important to prevent recurrence of urolithiasis and to prevent the formation of stones in advance. So, today, let’s look at some of the lifestyle habits that help prevent and manage urolithiasis.
How to prevent urolithiasis
1. Water intake
Lack of water intake is said to be the most important cause of urolithiasis. If you drink too little water, urine production is reduced, and this action causes the crystals to stay in the urine for a long time, making them larger. Therefore, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day is good for preventing urolithiasis, and if you have already experienced urolithiasis, it is recommended to consume about 3 liters of water. It is said that it is better to drink water in several portions rather than drinking a large amount at once. Especially in summer, it is very important to drink enough water as the body loses water due to sweating, which increases the incidence of urolithiasis. On the other hand, if you drink coffee or carbonated drinks, you should refrain from excessive intake because it can be a factor that can promote the development of urolithiasis by expelling water from the body more quickly.
2. Eat foods rich in citric acid
Citric acid, also called citric acid, is a type of organic acid found in many citrus fruits and vegetables. This citric acid is known to have the effect of inhibiting the formation of stones, so it is said that eating rich foods can help prevent urolithiasis. Citric acid is abundant in many citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, and oranges, and it is also found in tomatoes, which are considered excellent superfoods.
3. Control your salt intake
Dietary habit of consuming too much salty foods can also affect the formation of stones because it increases the crystallization of calcium and reduces the production of citric acid mentioned above. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid excessive intake of foods with a high salt content such as stews, salted fish, frozen foods, processed foods, processed meat, kimchi, soy sauce, soybean paste, and red pepper paste.
4. Regulate animal protein intake
Habits of excessive consumption of animal protein foods also excrete calcium and citric acid and acidify urine, which can act as a risk factor for stone formation. Therefore, it is important to reduce excessive intake of foods with high protein content, such as beef, pork, chicken, and fish, and eat them in moderation.
5. Controlling intake of sodium hydroxide-containing foods
Hyperoxicuria, in which a large amount of sodium hydroxide is present in the urine, is also known as a risk factor for urolithiasis, so excessive intake of sodium hydroxide should be restricted. Food groups that contain a lot of sodium hydroxide include spinach, peanuts, chocolate, and black tea.
Other preventive practices
Adequate intake of foods high in calcium also plays an important role in preventing urolithiasis, as recent studies have shown that people who follow a low-calcium diet have a higher incidence of urolithiasis. However, high-dose calcium medications should be avoided as they increase the risk of stones. In addition, regular exercise such as walking and jumping rope is known to help prevent urolithiasis.