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The summer weather makes us thirsty and more prone to dehydration. Combining dehydration with a subsequent large intake of sugar-sweetened drinks makes favorable conditions for the formation of painful kidney stones.
With kidney stones, sweat leads to dehydration. Dehydration affects urine output, which is a problem for people who form kidney stones. When the body is dehydrated, the kidneys conserve water by making urine that is concentrated, and concentrated urine sets up a cascade for stone crystal formation. The focus in kidney stone prevention is not the amount of fluid consumed, but rather the amount of urine produced. In the summer months, extra intake is necessary to counteract the summer’s dehydrating effects.
What are Kidney Stones?
Dr. Anant Kumar, Chairman of Urology, Renal Transplant, Robotics and Uro-Oncology of Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket says that, "Kidney stones are mineral salts that accumulate in the urinary tract. When these substances crystallise and lump together, kidney stones begin to form. As the stones increase in size, they begin to block urinary flow and lodge in the tube leading from the kidney to the bladder.
Indications of possible kidney stones are severe pain in the back, lower abdomen or groin, which may also be accompanied by fever, chills or flu-like symptoms. Urination may be painful or more frequent than usual. Urine may appear cloudy or bloody, 80% of all kidney stones are calcium stones.
Climate Change and the rising cases of Kidney Stones
Even though changing lifestyles and change in diet are major contributors, climate change and rising heat has resulted in an increased number of cases of kidney stones, not only in adults but also in children. Heat, as explained earlier, acts as a catalyst in developing painful kidney stones to the people who are already predisposed to the formation of kidney stones.
Preventing Kidney Stones during summer
Increase urine output
Remember that perspiration decreases urine volume. It’s important to maintain a high urine output despite the loss of fluid through sweating. Pale, clear urine 24 hours per day, seven days a week is the goal. The volume of urine should exceed 2 litres in 24 hours. Water is the best liquid, but fruit juices are also acceptable.
Limit salt and sodium intake
Limit beverages high in caffeine or calories and avoid high sodium sports drinks. Limit salt and sodium intake as salt drives extra calcium into the urine, which increases the risk of calcium stone formation.
Consume calcium-rich foods to meet Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
It is a common misconception that patients who form calcium stones need to avoid dairy products. Current research supports consuming a normal amount of calcium in the diet for nearly all patients who form stones.
Magnesium for prevention and cure
Magnesium prevents most kidney stone attacks by inhibiting stone formation. The magnesium blocks the spasm and not only relieves the pain quickly but also helps dislodge the stone. By taking the supplement magnesium citrate/malate you get the best of all worlds. The magnesium, citrate and malate inhibit the stone formation and the magnesium prevents ureter spasm.
Drink lemon water
To prevent kidney stone formation, squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon or add a drop or two of therapeutic grade lemon essential oil into a glass of water and drink daily. If you are suffering from a kidney stone, for pain relief, squeeze one-half of a fresh lemon into an 8-ounce glass of water and drink every half hour until the pain eases.
We hope you have a better understanding of why kidney stone pains occur more frequently in summer. As well as a better understanding of the formation of kidney stones and various steps one can take to prevent kidney stones.