Kidney stones are more common than you might think. According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than half a million people make emergency room visits for kidney stone problems each year. Plus, it is estimated that one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives.
If you believe you have a kidney stone, you must see a doctor immediately. Typically, doctors will want to try to pass the stone naturally before taking further steps.
In addition to seeking medical attention, drinking certain beverages can also help ease the pain and/or pass along the stone if you take the right precautions. We spoke with The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, to see what the best drinks are for you if you have kidney stones. Be sure to check out This Nutrient Found in Soda and Coffee Can Cause Kidney Stones if you're looking to learn more about this disease.
Water, water, and more water!
"Dehydration is one of the biggest risk factors for kidney stones, so staying hydrated is a major key to kidney stone prevention," says The Nutrition Twins. "All fluid pushes toxins and stones and grit through the urinary tract."
How do you know if you're staying hydrated enough? The Nutrition Twins suggest that a good way to know is by looking at the color of your urine. You want your urine to be pale and light in color. If it's darker, it means you need to drink more.
This is because not only is calcium, vital for bone health, but it also reduces the absorption of oxalates—an organic acid found in plants, but can also be synthesized by your body—which helps prevent kidney stones.
The Nutrition Twins suggest that water infusions are perfect when you have kidney stones because they add flavor to water. This is incredibly helpful for people who have difficulty staying hydrated because they find water bland.
"The flavor encourages people to keep sipping so they can flush kidney stones," say The Nutrition Twins. "Plus, the fruit, vegetables, or herbs in the infusion provide antioxidants that could play a role in the prevention of kidney stones, since a link has been found between low levels of some antioxidants and kidney stones."
The Nutrition Twins recommend trying this Watermelon Cucumber Apple Cider Vinegar Water Infusion or this Apple Pear Spa Water.
"Freshly squeezed lemon in the water adds a refreshing twist that not only makes it easy to stay hydrated, but lemon also contains citric acid which helps to break up kidney stones," says The Nutrition Twins.
Their recommendation, however, is to make sure you drink the lemon water through a straw to protect your teeth. This way, the acid doesn't come in contact with them.
Apple cider vinegar water
According to The Nutrition Twins, one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water will provide acetic acid. The acetic acid may soften, break down, and dissolve kidney stones, helping them to be more easily passed through the urine.
"While there aren't many studies on apple cider vinegar and kidney stones, it appears it may be beneficial, as apple cider vinegar seems to increase stomach acid, enhance digestion, as well as alkalize the blood and urine, therefore preventing new stones from forming," says The Nutrition Twins.