Kidney Stones and Water – The Correlation
Kidney Stones and Water - The Correlation
It’s no secret that we need water to survive. Yet simply put, many people don’t drink enough water! What we often forget is that every part of our body needs water to function. Water not only hydrate our bodies, but it keeps unpleasant health ailments away…like kidney stones.
Water helps our kidneys remove icky waste from our blood. Water also opens our blood vessels so that blood can make it’s way to our organs and deliver vital nutrients. If you’re dehydrated, then it makes it difficult for this natural delivery system to work. Which most often than not, can result in painful kidney stones.
According to Medicalnewstoday.com, passing a kidney stone is often described as one of the most painful things a person will ever experience.
So if you are not getting enough water, it’s time to change things around, at least for the sake of your kidneys. We know that it’s hard to drink water, either we forget, or some people don’t prefer the bland taste of water. So to help you along the way, we’ve added some helpful tips and tricks to make drinking water fun, easy, and safe.
We hope by the end of this article, you’ll think twice about neglecting your daily intake of H2O, today and in the future. So with that said, let’s dive in!
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits that come together to form little rocks.
What causes these rocks?
Well as your kidneys filter waste from the blood, it creates urine. When you’re dehydrated, urine gets accumulated with higher concentrated levels of minerals. These minerals in the urine stick together and form kidney stones.
Kidney stones develop inside the kidney and can travel to other parts of your urinary tract. They can grow to a size of a sugar crystal or as large as a ping pong ball. In fact, some kidney stones can become so large they take up the entire kidney.
Healthline.com reports that roughly 1 out of every 11 people in the United States will get a kidney stone. And according to the National Institutes of Health, more than 300,000 people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems a year.
Kidney Stone Pain
Agonizing pain is the most common symptom of kidney stones. This pain can come and go in 10 to 30-minute cycles.
Some people may experience sharp pain in their back, below the rib cage, or in their lower abdomen. If a stone blocks the stream of urine, then the backed-up urine can put extra pressure on the kidney.
Stones can result in ureter spasming when they enter and travel down the ureter. The location of the pain can change as the stone moves from your kidney to your bladder.
If the stone is stuck where the kidney connects to the ureter, the pain can be severe. As the stone moves down the ureter, it can even simulate the color of other conditions.
For instance, if the kidney stone is on the right side of your body, it may feel like inflammation in the appendix. If the kidney stone moves into your bladder, it can feel like a urinary tract infection.
Larger stones are more painful as they are less likely to pass and more likely to block the urinary tract. But, even when a person has a small stone, it can still cause significant pain. This is because the ureter is so tiny that even a small stone can cause a blockage.
Kidney Stones Fast Facts
- Kidney stones are common, and their occurrence in the U.S is rising
- Kidney stones are debilitating and painful
- Recurring stones lead to poor quality-of-life and even kidney damage
- The lifetime incidence of kidney stones is about 13 percent in men and 7 percent in women
- Both young children and infants can get kidney stones
4 Types of Kidney Stones
There is a common misconception that there is a single type of kidney stone. Unfortunately for us, not all kidney stones are the same. There are four major types of kidney stones:
Calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone. They’re often made of calcium oxalate. To avoid this type of stone, you can try eating less oxalate-rich foods. Some foods to eat less of include potato chips, peanuts, chocolate, beets, and spinach.
Look out fellas. This stone forms when urine is too acidic and is more common in men than in women. Uric acid can also occur in people with gout issues or people going through chemotherapy.
Note: A diet rich in purines can increase your urines acidic level.
Roughly 10-15 percent of all kidney stones are from struvite and are more common in women than in men. Struvite stones is a mineral that’s produced by bacteria in your urinary tract. This stone is in women with urinary tract infections. They are large, causing a urinary obstruction and even causing damage to your kidney. Struvite stones can proliferate and block your kidney, ureter, or bladder.
Cystine stones are rare. They occur in both men and women who have the genetic disorder cystinuria. With this type of stone, cystine (an acid that naturally occurs in the body) leaks from the kidneys into the urine. Cystine stones tend to recur and are usually larger than other kidney stones. Most people with cystinuria have recurring stones that never heal.
The First Signs of Kidney Stones
Luckily your body will give you a few early warning signs if you do have a stone brewing inside your kidneys. Here are10 things to look out for:
1. You Keep Needing to Urinate
One of the earliest signs is a sudden and puzzling need to urinate. This sudden need to urinate will happen, even when you haven’t been drinking vast quantities of fluid.
2. You Have Blood In Your Urine
The color and consistency of your urine will change. Rather than having clear or yellow urine, you’ll have pink, red, or even dark brown urine.
3. You Have Back Pain That Spreads
Pain typically begins in the back, below the rib cage where the kidneys are. The pain will then move from the lower abdomen down into the groin area and then into your lower back.
This causes shifting waves of throbbing pain and the fluctuations last from a few minutes to a few hours. Men with kidney stones will find that their pain can move into their scrotum and testicles.
4. You Feel Nauseous or Are Vomiting
Usually, people vomit due to the intense pain that they experience when a kidney stone passes.
Another reason for vomiting is the kidney’s reduced function. Higher levels of toxins can build up in your stomach or bloodstream when your kidneys are down.
5. You Have Smelly Urine
This odor occurs when a heavy concentration of hard chemicals and toxins are in the urine.
6. You Have a Fever and/or Chills
This fever can reach high levels, putting you at risk. If you have a high fever, especially if it’s accompanied by chills, but no cold or flu – see your doctor immediately.
7. You Have Abdominal Swelling
Large kidney stones can block urine which prevents urine from traveling out of the body. As a result, this creates an accumulation of urine and swelling.
8. You Have Sudden and Severe Pain
Sudden and severe pain is one of the main warning signs that a stone is forming in your kidney. This pain is so severe that it usually comes with no relief, no matter what position you try to lay in. Even the smallest of stones can cause an alarming amount of pain.
9. You’re Urinating in Small Amounts
People who experience large kidney stones find it difficult to urinate. Sometimes they only pee in small amounts at a time. If you are experiencing this, see your doctor immediately.
10. It Hurts You To Urinate
When the kidney stone is moving from the bladder into the urethra, it makes it painful to urinate.
Main Cause of Kidney Stones
One of the leading causes of kidney stones is not drinking enough water. When you don’t get enough water in your system, you become dehydrated, and it results in low urine volume.
When your urine volume is low, it gets concentrated, and there is less fluid to keep salts dissolved. The best step you can take to avoid kidney stones is to drink PLENTY of water.
Water gets lost as we breathe, sweat, urinate, and defecate. But, we can replenish the water in our body by drinking more fluids.
With that said, are you dehydrated? Here’s what to look out for:
Moderate signs of dehydration:
- You’re thirsty
- You have a dry or sticky mouth
- You’re urinating very little during the day
- You have dark or discolored urine
- Your skin is dry
- You have a headache that won’t go away
- You’re experiencing muscle cramps
- You’re lethargic
Severe signs of dehydration:
- You’re not urinating at all
- You have extremely dry skin
- You’re dizzy
- You have a rapid heartbeat
- Your breathing is faster than usual
- You have sunken eyes
- You have a lack of energy
- You have confusion
- You’re irritable
- You feel faint
By drinking lots of h20, it will lead you to urinate, and it’ll dilute the salts in your urine. We can’t stress it enough. Drinking more water is the safest and most reliable way of reducing kidney stones.
So be sure to stay hydrated, especially if you’re engaging in activities that cause you to sweat a lot.
7 Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated
1. Keep It Front & Center
Whether it’s a reusable water bottle or your favorite mug, treat it like your baby. Keep an eye on it and always make sure it’s filled and with you wherever you go.
2. Water From Food
Foods also add to our daily water intake. You can make a hydrating salad with tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, and broccoli. A warm, cozy soup is another great way to boost your fluid intake, especially in those cooler months.
3. Make It Tasty
Don’t like the taste of water? There are many ways we can boost the flavor of our water. For instance, you can try adding sliced cucumbers, limes, or strawberries to your water. Best part? Take your tasty water on the go with a water bottle infuser.
4. Keep An Eye On What Goes Out
Being mindful of the color of your urine can help you watch your hydration levels.
5. Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes. Electrolytes keep the water balanced both inside & outside of your cells. When there is an electrolyte imbalance, it can lead to dehydration.
6. Invest in a New (fun) Water Bottle
Get some motivation by investing in a new water bottle! Refillable water bottles are impressive these days with their colors, design, and features. Get one and bring it everywhere you go.
Our number-one pick is the Zulu Atlas Glass Water Bottle with Flip Lid on Amazon. This beautiful glass water bottle comes in a wide variety of color and is made from a soda lime glass. It’s also lead-free, phthalates free, PVC free and BPA free.
7. Track Your Daily H2O Intake
Will all the latest apps out there, tracking your water intake can be easy and fun! Here are some of the best hydration apps that we found:
This app is perfect for reminding you to drink water throughout the day. You can set your own daily intake goals or use their formula to establish a recommended goal.
Water Drink Reminder
This app tracks both your weekly water averages and weight. It lets you set your own schedule so you won’t be behind if you happen to have an unpredictable day, i.e., you sleep in
Gulp – Hydrate and track water
This app has a clean and user-friendly interface. It also lets you know what your intake should be at any time of day.
Hydro Diary – Drink Water
This app makes it easy to set custom drink types and sizes with a handy color-coding option. Use its formula to establish a recommended daily intake, or set your own goals.
How Much Water Is Enough Water?
While the guide above makes it simple and easy to keep track of our daily water intake, the idea that everyone should drink eight glasses of water per day is a bit skewed. The truth is, everyone is different, and daily water needs vary by person or situations.
How much water a person needs is based on different factors like age, climate, physical activity, pregnancy, and illness. With that said, here are the daily water recommendations for people (based on age/categories) according to healthline.com
- Children 4–8 years old = 5 cups (40 total ounces)
- Children 9–13 years old = 7–8 cups (56–64 total ounces)
- Children 14–18 years old = 8–11 cups (64–88 total ounces)
- Men 19 years and older = 13 cups (104 total ounces)
- Women 19 years and older = 9 cups, (72 total ounces)
- Pregnant women = 10 cups, (80 total ounces)
- Breastfeeding women = 13 cups (104 total ounces)
Can Kids Get Kidney Stones?
Although kidney stones are rare in children, the number of cases where children develop stones is growing. According to kidney.org, kidney stones are found in children as young as five years. The two most important reasons are not drinking enough fluids and eating foods that are high in salt. A kidney stone forms in a child’s kidney if the urine mineral level is too high.
Signs Your Child Has Kidney Stones (and what to do about it)
Kidney stones in children have been on the rise.
Several risk factors play a role in kidney stone formation. If your child isn’t getting enough water, their urine will become concentrated. Which as we know, is very bad.
Signs & Symptoms
- Sharp pain around the back and sides – it may be constant or come and go
- Crying hysterically
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in urine (if the child needs to be seen by a medical professional right away, even if it’s just a small amount of blood)
Moving forward, make sure your child is drinking a lot of water. Your child’s urine should be almost transparent. If your child’s urine is dark, their chances of getting kidney stones increases. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about how much water they need to drink each day.
Note: A family history of stones increases the chance of your child having stones.
We have already established the importance of water for kidney stones. To stress this point further, you need to imagine your body as a vessel.
Your body naturally creates waste chemicals as byproducts of digestion, breathing and other metabolic processes. Our kidneys then collect that waste, mix it with water, and flush it out as urine. The less water we drink, the longer those chemicals hang around. When this happens, these chemicals get concentrated and form tiny solids in the kidney.
But not all water helps with kidney stones.
According to Clearkidneys.com, distilled water is the best water you can drink when it comes to kidney stone prevention. So if you really want to avoid kidney stones, you need to cleanse your body with distilled water.
Distilled Water & Why is it Essential For Kidney Stones
You might think your Brita pitcher is enough for getting all the impurities, toxins, and other unwanted contaminants out of your water.
However, the process of distillation (which separates water from its pollutants by turning it into steam and gathering it in a separate container) may be a more effective filtration process for preventing kidney stones.
Because distilled water is entirely free of minerals and pollutants, making it easier to absorb into your bloodstream than other water like tap, spring or even filtered water.
The faster you can absorb your water, the more quickly you can dilute concentrations or chemicals in your body. Distilled water is a universal solvent that cleanses and disposes of icky toxins in the body while also aiding in the cleansing function of your kidneys.
If you happen to be suffering from kidney stones now, distilled water can also help with your recovery.
But what about all those ‘good’ minerals that tap, spring, or even filtered water contains that distilled water does not?
Well, most minerals contained in our water are said to be inorganic and are not as easily absorbed by the cells of our body.
If you are concerned with organic/natural minerals, then you need to get these in your diet. For instance, the vegetables, fruit, grains, seeds, nuts, and meats you eat.
In fact, our bodies readily absorb organic minerals but not as readily as organic minerals that come from the water we drink.
So if you’re concerned about not getting good minerals in other forms of water, you can take comfort in knowing that inorganic minerals contained in water usually pass through our body, or even worse, accumulate in our joints and other places, leading to kidney stones and other health problems.
If you’re looking to make distilled water at home, you can check out our buying guide of the top distilled water machines for 2018.
But first things first, here is what you need to look out for when choosing a water distiller.
In general, you don’t want to purchase a water distiller that has either tanks or chambers that are made from plastic, even if it is BPA free.
The reason for this is because plastic surfaces do not clean as well as stainless steel or glass. It is always worth paying a little bit more for a distiller that is made from sterile materials. Otherwise, you’ll be defeating the purpose of consuming distilled water.
Distillers convert liquid water into steam, that condenses back into the water again. This process can be slow at best, and some units are faster than others. While you’ll have to be patient, if having the distilled water available to you as quickly as possible is important to you, then make sure you watch the flow rate of the distiller you choose.
Since water distillers have water and electrical components working in close proximity, poorly built models can break down in a short period of time.
That is why you need to purchase a unit that comes with an extended warranty, which also implies the manufacturer is quite comfortable that the unit will last. They don’t issue warranties to lose money!
Tips For Cleaning Your Water Distiller
When using a water distiller at home, all the solid particles in your water will build-up and require cleaning.
The best way to clean your water distiller is to use a distiller residue cleaner & descaler built specifically for water distillers. We recommend Surpass Chemicals Distiller Residue Cleaner & Descaler which is one of the best-priced cleaners on the market.
Tip: The package comes in two sizes: One Pound and Five Pounds. You will get a significantly better value buying 5 pounds, which should last you years, depending on your use.
To use this cleaner (or any other for that matter) simply follow these steps:
- Unplug your water distiller
- Fill the boiling tank with hot tap water
- Add 3 tablespoons of cleaner to the tank
- Let the solution sit for 24-48 hours, then empty the tank
- Fill your tank one more time and empty it to rinse out any remaining particles
Best Water Distiller Brands
If you’re searching for credible distiller brands, we’ve rounded up the top 3 for you:
Pure Water (Pure & Secure, LLC)
Established over 40 years ago, Pure Water is a Nebraska based manufacturer of premium water filters for home and business. They are a family-owned business that strives to make the highest quality water distillers in the world.
CO-Z is an up and coming water distiller manufacturer that makes some of the most affordable water distillers on the market. With hundreds of positive reviews on the internet and a superior warranty, they are making a serious name for themselves in the water distiller market.
MegaHome is a very large Taiwanese manufacturer of water treatment products. They have made quite a name for themselves with their extremely high quality and well-priced water distillers, with thousands of positive reviews on various online marketplaces.
Distilled Water Drinking Tips
Distilled water has no taste or odor.
You may be so used to drinking water with additives that distilled water at first will taste odd to you. However, what you taste in other waters is the additives, not the water itself.
Once you get used to drinking distilled water, you will quickly taste the chemicals and additives in other waters, and these waters will become undesirable to you.
One crucial point, distilled water should ideally be kept in glass containers or only high-quality plastic bottles. When distilled water is kept in a glass container, it will last a long time.
When distilled water is kept in a glass container, it will last a long time.
If distilled water is not sealed properly, it will absorb carbon dioxide. So make sure that when done with your distilled water, that you screw the lid back on tightly.
Also, keep your distilled water container out of direct sunlight. If possible try to keep it in the dark where sunlight will not be able to touch it at all.
You should also use distilled water for cooking.
If you typically use water with additives or chemicals in it to cook, you may be increasing the concentration of harmful substances in your food.
You can also use distilled water for making coffee and tea, soups, fruit juices, baby formula, ice cubes, etc. Distilled water will ensure that your food is free of any contaminants from your water.
Note: don’t forget your pets, they want pure water too 🙂
Distilled vs Purified Water
The difference between distilled water and purified water comes down to one thing = The process that the water went through to reach purification.
Purified water is often believed to be filtered water as there is a common misconception that the two terms are synonymous. However, this is incorrect.
While both distilled water and purified water are subject to some kind of filtration, purified water is cleansed and purified through additional purification processes. Typically these processes are reverse osmosis, distillation, and deionization.
The outcome is purified water, which is significantly higher in purity than spring water, tap water, or filtered water.
Unlike spring water, tap water, or filtered water, a properly designed purification system will produce high purity water every time, regardless of irregularities in the source water quality.
The best part?
Distilled water IS purified water. The process of distillation is actually the technology used to purify water. There is also reverse osmosis, which is another technology that is used to purify water. For more information on reverse osmosis water filters, check out our buying guide of the top reverse osmosis water filter systems on the market.
Water is life. It makes up 60% of our body’s weight, and even though we could survive without food for weeks, dehydration can kill us within days or even hours.
We can’t stress it enough, keeping hydrated is crucial for our health and well-being. Water is essential for our kidneys because kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and host of other problems. So please keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling thirsty.
We hope that you enjoyed this article, if you want to learn more about distilled water, please check out our guides at iWaterpurification.com. The iWater Purification Foundation seeks to educate the public on water safety, treatment, and purification. We achieve our goal by providing the highest quality publication related to the treatment of water in the home, in the office or the outdoors.