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What causes kidney stones in the first place?

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  • Kidney stones form when your urine has high amounts of calcium, oxalates or uric acid, while having little quantities of substances that can dilute them
  • Kidney stones are common among people who don’t drink enough amounts of water Drinking soda, which contain high amounts of sugar, can raise your kidney stone risk by 23%

There are two main reasons why kidney stones form: the presence of high amounts of substances like calcium, oxalate or uric acid in your urine, and a lack of fluids that will dilute them.1

How do you get kidney stones?

Several risk factors also come into play in the formation of kidney stones. If you’re prone to any of these issues that may cause painful kidney stones to develop, exercise caution and talk to your doctor:

  • Not drinking enough water — Kidney stones are common among people who fail to drink enough water, since it greatly helps dilute stone-forming substances.2
  • Drinking fluoridated water According to authors of this 2001 article, kidney stones were 4.6 times more likely to develop in people who lived in a “fluoride-endemic area.”3
  • High-sugar diet Consuming high amounts of sugar, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, may predispose you to kidney stones because it increases your levels of uric acid and urine oxalate,4 known substances that may cause stones to form.
  • Excessive soda consumption — Drinking sugar-loaded soda frequently was proven to increase kidney stone risk by 23%.5
  • Eating non-fermented soy products — These foods are abundant with oxalates.6 If your urine’s oxalate levels significantly rise, this can cause calcium oxalate stones to form.7
  • Obesity — This 2018 article highlighted that obese people tend to develop uric acid and calcium oxalate kidney stones because of issues like their diet, insulin resistance and lithogenic urinary profiles.8
  • Overeating — Research from 2013 showed that women who consumed more than 2,200 calories daily had a 42% higher risk for kidney stones.9
  • Not consuming enough of the right kind of calcium-rich foods — Calcium may aid in inhibiting stone-causing substances in your digestive tract,10 so if your body doesn’t have enough of the right kind of calcium, it may increase your chances of developing this condition. Check with your doctor to see if you need to increase your consumption of low-oxalate foods that are high in calcium.
  • Genetics — Japanese researchers found “14 significant loci, including nine novel loci” that may play a role in your kidney stone risk.11 Loci (plural of locus) refer to spots in the chromosome where certain genes for traits can be found.12
  • Conditions that affect your gut — If you’re diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, they could make you more prone to developing kidney stones. WebMD explains that these bowel-related issues can trigger diarrhea and reduce urine production. This causes your body to absorb oxalates from the intestine that then find their way into your urine and result in kidney stone formation.13
  • Magnesium deficiency You may be more prone to developing kidney stones if you don’t consume enough magnesium-rich foods.14 This mineral binds with oxalates that you consume so they aren’t absorbed in your body, leading to a lower risk for oxalate kidney stones.15 Magnesium also helps with the body’s absorption16 and transport of calcium.17 This is important because if you’re magnesium-deficient but have high calcium levels, your risk for kidney stones may rise.18
  • Type 2 diabetes19 Results of this 2015 study highlighted that uric acid kidney stones may develop in people with Type 2 diabetes.20
  • Gout — If you’re diagnosed with gout, there’s a high chance that uric acid buildup can occur in your blood, and lead to the appearance of joint crystals and kidney stones.
  • Renal tubular acidosis (RTA)21 Having this condition means your kidneys are unable to release acids into your urine, causing your blood to become too acidic. Over time, this may cause kidney stone formation.22
  • Lack of exercise — People who are always sedentary may have a higher chance of developing kidney stones.23
  • Taking certain medications — According to authors of this 2003 study, magnesium trisilicate, ciprofloxacin, sulfa medications, triamterene, indinavir and ephedrine (whether used alone or taken alongside guaifenesin) were all proven to increase your kidney stone risk.24

MORE ABOUT KIDNEY STONES

Kidney Stones: Introduction

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stones Types

Kidney Stones Causes

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Kidney Stones Prevention

Kidney Stones Duration

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Surgery

Kidney Stones Diet

Kidney Stones FAQ

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Kidney Stones Symptoms

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