The Journey to Becoming Kidney Stone Free
For patient’s referred to one of Chesapeake Urology’s kidney stone disease specialists, the first step is to get patients stone free. Once all kidney stones have passed or been surgically removed, patients will undergo a metabolic work-up, an important component to your overall management of kidney stone disease.
What is a Metabolic Evaluation?
Metabolic evaluations are a vital component to a well designed kidney stone prevention plan. This series of diagnostic tests help your physician determine causes of your stone disease. The metabolic work up includes several key components:
- Urine tests
- Blood work
- Crystal analysis (when a stone or fragment of the stone is available)
Results from the metabolic work up often yield a diagnosis such as dehydration, low urinary citrate or elevated levels of urinary sodium or protein. Understanding the factors that caused your body to produce kidney stones ultimately helps your physician map out a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan to help ensure you stay stone free.
What is Metabolic Management?
Chesapeake Urology's stone disease specialists are committed to keeping you stone free for the long term. This means that our specialists won't just see you when you have a stone and need treatment, but will follow you at regular intervals after the removal of a stone to help you follow a comprehensive treatment and stone disease prevention plan that is designed to minimize the recurrence of stones.
Once you have undergone a thorough metabolic evaluation to determine exactly why your body is producing kidney stones, your physician will be able to develop a treatment plan that will manage your stone disease for the long-term. Managing your stone disease involves regular testing and evaluation, annual exams as well as changes to diet that can help prevent stones from forming in the future.
Steps You Can Take To Help Prevent Kidney Stones
The kidney stone disease physicians at Chesapeake Urology work closely with patients to manage stone disease for the long term. In addition to regular metabolic work-ups and close monitoring, the doctors recommend patients take the following steps to help prevent kidney stones from returning:
- Stay well hydrated – Make sure to drink enough fluids (water is best) to make 2L or about 1/2 gallon of urine a day. Drink more water in the summer months when you're apt to lose more water through sweat. Lemonade made with real lemon juice has citrate which can be good for the urinary system.
- Cut the salt - Limit the amount of sodium in your diet. The recommended daily allowance of sodium is 2500 mg, yet the average American diet takes in about 5,000 mg of sodium a day. Don't add salt to food and take the salt shaker off the table to avoid temptation. Limit eating out and processed foods which also contribute to higher sodium intake. Decreasing urinary sodium also decreases urinary calcium, which are leading culprits in kidney stone formation.
- Limit calcium intake - If you have a history of stone formation, your doctor may recommend a moderate intake of calcium- about 800-1200 mg a day.
- Cut the protein - Your doctor may also recommend that you cut down on your protein intake.