By Wei Zheng, MD
There is an increased incidence of kidney stone in the fall and early winter because people tend to get dehydrated more often in the summer. Studies have shown that the time delay between high temperature exposure and clinical manifestation of kidney stone is 2-3 months.
The urine from dehydrated people is more concentrated. The minerals in the highly concentrated urine are often above the saturation point and therefore form crystals more readily. The purpose of the urine is to get rid of body’s toxin and excess minerals. Every mineral in the urine has its saturation point. Once the saturation point is reached, minerals will precipitate out from the urine to form crystals, which will in term snowball into stones. A good analogy is that if you put too much sugar in your coffee, you will have a layer of sugar at the bottom of the cup.
Foods can also contribute to the risk of kidney stone formation. High sodium, high protein diet increases the risk of kidney stone. Certain fruits and vegetables also have similar risk. Most of the kidney stones in the East Bay area are calcium-based stones. The culprit of the calcium-based stone is actually not calcium; oxalate is the one to be blamed here. Calcium supplement is actually protective for some patients. Oxalate in our body comes from two sources. Our body produces a small amount. The bulk of oxalate in our body comes from our diet.
The best way to protect yourself from having kidney stones is hydration. Pay attention to the color of your urine, keeping the color light yellow or better yet clear. If your urine is dark yellow or brown, you are at risk of forming stones.
If you are experiencing kidney stone symptoms, request an appointment with one of our Urologists online.