Your recovery can be a crucial period — a time to make changes and work with your health care team to avoid recurrence.

Taking control of your aftercare

Once you’ve had a kidney stone (or stones) the last thing you want is a recurrence of the pain and discomfort. Or another surgery. Though there are no guarantees, with some thoughtful aftercare, you can help reduce the chance of having more kidney stones. Often, a dietary program will be offered in combination with pharmacological therapy.

How diet and lifestyle changes may help

No matter who you are, adopting a healthier lifestyle can have many benefits that go beyond kidney stones. But here are some things that can help reduce their recurrence:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) is a good way to keep a kidney stone from forming
  • D.A.S.H, not crash diet. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is high in fruits and vegetables and low in animal protein—it has been shown to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Though we know it’s not always easy, avoiding stressful situations can have overall health benefits 
  • Get your blood going! Try to exercise between two and three times a week
Try to drink at least 4 liters of fluids per day  (approximately 1 gallon) | Keep track of how much you urinate. An accepted goal is at least 2.5 liter of urine daily. | Patients with calcium stones and relatively high urinary calcium should limit sodium intake and consume 1,000-1,200 mg per day.

Different care for different types of stones

To someone who’s never had treatment or surgery, “a kidney stone is a kidney stone”. But you know things aren’t always as simple as that.  So, depending on the type of stone you’ve had, your healthcare team may tailor your treatment.

Things you can do:

  • Patients with uric acid stones or calcium stones and relatively high urinary uric acid should limit intake of non-dairy animal protein
  • Patients with cystine stones should limit sodium and protein intake
  • Patients with calcium oxalate stones and relatively high urinary oxalate should limit intake of oxalate-rich foods and maintain normal calcium consumption

Treatments your healthcare team may recommend:

  • Thiazide diuretics to patients with high or relatively high urine calcium and recurrent calcium stones
  • Potassium citrate therapy to patients with recurrent calcium stones and low or relatively low urinary citrate
  • Allopurinol to patients with recurrent calcium oxalate stones who have hyperuricosuria and normal urinary calcium

Your follow up visits

During your aftercare, your doctors will continue to monitor your situation. This may consist of taking urine specimens or performing periodic blood tests, which can help assess any adverse effects to your therapy, or show signs for the likelihood of recurrence.