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New Guidelines: Drink Water to Prevent Recurrent Kidney Stones

Update Date: Nov 04, 2014 10:30 AM EST

Experts are recommending people with recurrent kidney stones to consume more water and fewer soft drinks. According to the American College of Physicians' guidelines, patients should drink at least two liters of water per day to lower their risk.

"On average, drinking enough fluid so that you have two liters of urine per day significantly decreases your risk of having a kidney stone," Dr. Robert Centor, a practicing internist and Chair of the American College of Physician's Board of Regents, said to Reuters Health reported by FOX News. "I want patients' urine to be clear, not yellow."

A kidney stone occurs when chemicals in the urine crystallize, creating a hard mass that needs to be passed. Based on the size of the stone, the condition can get very painful. In the new guidelines, the experts stated that drinking large amounts of fluids could lower one's risk of developing kidney stones by at least 50 percent. The experts also advised people with recurrent kidney stones to avoid certain foods and beverages, such as soft drinks, red meat, chocolate, nuts, beets and leafy greens. These foods have dietary oxalate that can lead to the formation of these stones.

"The reason that water is supposedly helpful is that it's a mechanical flushing process so that stone fragments can pass but also so the urine doesn't sediment in the kidney and collect," Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, said reported by CBS News. "Soda have oxalates and phosphoric acid in them which both can be major factors in the formation of kidney stones. In addition, soda can be a diuretic so it dehydrates."

The guidelines added that if these dietary changes still do not help prevent recurrent kidney stones, doctors should consider prescribing drugs, such as thiazide diuretic, citrate or allopurinol.

The guidelines, "Prevention of Repeated Episodes of Kidney Stones in Adults: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physician," were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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