Southern sweet tea, summer and kidney stones

Iced Tea (Photo: WLTX)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WFMY) – Sweet iced tea — it’s a sweet southern staple, but one that comes with an increased risk for kidney stones, especially in the summer.

According to Wake Forest Baptist, summer is prime time for kidney stones.

“More people suffer from kidney stones when the weather is hot and dry because they become dehydrated,” said, Jorge Gutierrez-Aceves, M.D., professor of urology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney. A small stone can pass on its own, but larger ones can get stuck along the urinary track, causing severe pain or even bleeding.

“Without proper hydration, the urinary levels of mineral and salts such as calcium get more concentrated. This increases the risk for stones,” said Gutierrez-Aceves.

Doctors say iced tea contributes to kidney stones due to high levels of oxalate.

It’s recommended that you drink about ten 10-ounce glasses of liquid each day to help prevent all forms of kidney stones.

Doctors recommend water, but also say you can have citric drinks, like lemonade or orange juice to help prevent kidney stones. Also limiting sugar-sweetened drinks can help.

Other ways to help reduce kidney stones:
Reduce the amount of salt in your diet, eat the recommended amount of calcium, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and eat foods with low oxalate levels and eat less meat.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes the risk of calcium stones can be reduced by limiting consumption of these additional foods: fish and eggs, and foods high in oxalate such as spinach, nuts and wheat bran. Also, as odd it may seem, eating a diet that includes calcium-rich foods such as cheese, milk and yogurt is beneficial, as calcium from food does not increase the risk of stones.

To reduce the risk of uric acid stones, avoid red meat and shellfish; reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened drinks; and limit alcohol consumption.

Different types of kidney stones:
There are four major types of kidney stones: calcium stones (oxalate and calcium phosphate), uric acid, struvite or infection and cysteine stones. Calcium stones are the most frequent type. It is usually not possible to tell what type of stone an individual has until it has passed or been removed and then sent to a lab for analysis.

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