Stay Clear of Kidney Stones

Unless it’s hot outside, it can be hard to remember to take water breaks, and dehydration may not be the only problem that results.

Dehydration is a major risk factor for a common condition among both men and women: kidney stones. How does the relationship between kidney stones and dehydration work? When you don’t replace the fluids your body loses, urine volume falls. If you don’t have enough urine, the amount of waste material in the urine may exceed the amount of liquid available to neutralize it and carry it out of the body. When this happens, urine becomes concentrated, and the elements that form kidney stones can come together more easily.

Kidney stones, which are typically tiny, form when minerals and chemicals in the urine merge. More than 11% of men and 9% of women can expect to have a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones are renowned for causing severe pain when they become stuck in the urinary tract as they make their way out of the body, but discomfort isn’t the only reason to take them seriously: They can damage the kidneys, lead to urinary tract infections, and may increase stroke and heart disease risks.

The No. 1 way to prevent most kidney stones—and avoid dehydration—is to drink an adequate amount of fluids each day, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Experts recommend drinking two to three liters of fluid a day, most of which should be water.

Spotting the Signs of Dehydration

If your body were crying out for more fluids, would you know it? Thirst may be the most obvious symptom of dehydration, but it’s not the only one. Brush up on identifying dehydration with these tips:

  • Assess your energy level. If you feel unusually lethargic, dehydration could be the reason.
  • Feel your skin. If it’s very dry, you may be dehydrated.
  • Listen to your body. It may send several signals you need more fluids, including headache, lightheadedness, muscle cramps, and dry mouth.
  • Scrutinize your waste—or lack thereof. If you’re dehydrated, you may urinate less than normal, and you may become constipated. The urine you produce may be darker than usual.



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