I’ve been told by my female patients that kidney stones are more painful than childbirth. Since I have had neither, I take their word for it. Kidney stones are no joke. I have witnessed many a patient curled into a fetal position groaning from the pain. After a minimally invasive treatment to remove the stone, the question comes quickly, “Doc … how do I NEVER go through this again!?” The answer is simple and yet surprisingly difficult to hear.
Water, Water, and More Water
As an avid consumer of H2O, the concept of water haters was foreign to me. Who knew people HATED water?! Why are they doggin on Poland Springs?? Get over it folks. If you want to keep those rocks out of your plumbing system you must increase your water intake.
Why is water so important? It’s simple chemistry. I’m Italian and I like to cook. I always salt the water before cooking pasta. Occasionally I get aggressive and add too much salt. Despite stirring, I can still see the salt crystals at the bottom of the pot. What do I do? Add more water!
But how does cooking pasta relate to kidney stones? When you add water to your body you are dissolving the minerals in your urine. This prevents crystals from forming and you can avoid those dreaded stones. If you’re naughty and don’t hydrate, you may be looking at a seriously painful delivery of a stone baby.
Many of my patients protest that they are already hydrated and drink plenty of fluids: 2 cups of coffee first thing in the morning, a Coke with lunch, and some sweet tea with dinner. WRONG! Those drinks are killing your hydration. Caffeine is a diuretic. Diuretic is doctor speak for: it makes you tee tee and rids your body of water.
No Water = Totally Horrible Writhing in Pain with Kidney Stones
1. Chug It!
As soon as you wake up, right before lunch, and right before dinner drink 16 oz of water. No whining, just get it down. As a side benefit, drinking 16 oz of water prior to meals decreases your caloric intake and promotes healthy living.
2. Sip, Sip, Repeat!
Let’s make is easy. I am in love with this 32 oz water bottle by Cactaki. It has time goals on the bottle so you have a constant reminder to drink 64 oz of water between 8 am and 6 pm. For the water haters, it has a strainer insert and recipes to make your own infused water. Flavor with no added sugar, caffeine, or chemicals. Order one here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find the potty because it’s 11 am and I just finished my first gallon of water.
– Dr. P