If a sharp pain hits your back or side, beware, it could be a warning sign of a kidney stone. Every year, one million people in the U.S. are treated for them, and there's a lot of mis-information about the masses.
Lou Baxter talks to an expert who's helping boost our kidney stone smarts.
Jennifer Miller, had kidney stones, says: "This is what stones actually look like.
About one in ten adults will have a kidney stone in their lifetime."
Jennifer, "It was horrible pain. It's the worst pain. It's just like childbirth."
Jennifer Miller has had two kidney stones. Both needed to be surgically removed. During her ordeals, she heard a lot of bad information.
Jennifer, "There's so many myths that I found out that aren't true."
The biggest myth kidney stone specialist Doctor Michael Lipkin hears? Avoiding calcium cuts the chances of kidney stone recurrence.
Wrong! Although calcium does make up about 75-percent of kidney stones.
Michael Lipkin, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Duke University, says: "Avoiding calcium is detrimental to kidney stone recurrence."
To reduce the risk, he recommends 800 to one-thousand milligrams of calcium or about three dairy servings a day. He also tells many patients, like Jennifer, who've had a stone, to drink 100 ounces, about three liters of fluids a day to prevent future stones. But could the extra minerals in hard water actually cause kidney stones? Probably not! Research shows hard water has little to no impact on your risk.
When it comes to cola, Dr. Lipkin says, "It is controversial." He believes some are bad. "In my practice, I do tell patients to try to avoid dark colas."
Many dark sodas contain phosphoric acid which has a questionable link to an increase in kidney stone risk. But as Dr. Lipkin explains, "There are actually sodas that can help prevent stones."
He says those with citrus, like Sprite, Diet Orange Soda, even Mountain Dew can help prevent calcium in the urine from forming a stone. But make sure you have plenty of water too!
Jennifer drinks her three liters every day.
She's kidney stone smart and now you are too! I'm Lou Baxter reporting.