Summer – time for firing up the grill, relaxing by the pool, and exploring our local parks. But warm weather can also bring an unwelcome visitor: kidney stones. Nephrologists often see an uptick in kidney stone related appointments during the hottest months of the year. Here are a few things to keep in mind to have an enjoyable, kidney-stone-free summer.
What causes kidney stones to form?
Kidney stones form when your body’s ratio of water, minerals, and salts is disrupted. These salts and minerals combine to form crystals that can cause serious pain in your lower back.
Your chances of getting a kidney stone increase with age, but summer kidney stones can happen in those between the ages of 20 and 40.
Why are they more common in summer?
Hot, humid weather around the tristate puts us all at greater risk of dehydration, especially if we’re spending a lot of time outdoors and sweating more than usual. Without replacing fluids lost through sweat, urine can become concentrated, creating prime conditions for the formation of kidney stones.
What can I do to avoid kidney stones?
One of the best things you can do to avoid kidney stones in any season is to stay properly hydrated. Everyone needs a different amount of water, so the best way to check your levels is to look at the color of your urine. Light yellow to clear urine indicates proper hydration. Dark colored urine is concentrated with waste products and indicative that you need to consume more fluids.
Especially at summer cookouts, we might be tempted to fill up on sodium-rich foods like chips and hotdogs. An occasional sodium-rich treat is okay, but make sure you’re balancing them out with lots of fruits and vegetables, many of which have a high water content that can help you hydrate.
From all of us at the Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati, we wish you and your kidneys a happy, healthy summer!