How to Prevent Kidney Stones

Prevention of renal stone disease depends on the type of stone produced, underlying urinary chemical risk factors, and the patient's willingness to undergo a long-term prevention plan. The patient will be asked to make lifestyle modifications such as increased fluid intake and changes in diet.

Orange juice and lemonade with real lemon juice are good sources of citrate and may be recommended as an alternative to water. Limiting meat, salt, and foods high in oxalate (e.g., green leafy vegetables, chocolate, nuts) in the diet may also be recommended. Medication may be prescribed and treatment for an underlying condition that causes renal stone disease may be necessary.

24-Hour Urine Test

Effective preventative measures are based on the patient's chemical risk factors, which can often be uncovered with a 24-hour urine test and a blood test.

  1. The patient strains their urine to collect stones for chemical analysis.
  2. The physician performs a blood test to evaluate the serum calcium, uric acid, phosphate, electrolytes, and bicarbonate content.
  3. Urine is collected during a 24-hour period and analyzed for calcium, citrate, uric acid, magnesium, phosphate, sodium, oxalate, pH (acid level), and total volume.

The physician evaluates the data and recommends dietary modifications, supplements, and medications to minimize the risk for developing kidney stones. The 24-hour urine test may be repeated several months after treatment has begun to determine the success of the therapy and any adjustments that should be made. Long-term strict compliance and periodic retesting will substantially reduce the risk for future stone formation.

Publication Review By: Stephen W. Leslie, M.D., F.A.C.S., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 02 Dec 2011