Summertime dehydration can cause kidney stones


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 13 at 6:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Doctors say activities in the summer sun can result in patients developing kidney stones due a lack of proper hydration.

Urologist Robert Northway discusses Mike Gold's latest X-rays at the Urology Austin offices in South Austin -- a place Gold's been coming for two decades due to kidney stones.

"Over the last 20 years I've had at least 13 episodes," said Gold.

Doctors say generally kidney stones are caused by dehydration, which helps to create mineral solutes like calcium in the urinary tract.

"There's stretch and swelling within the system," said Northway. "It's that stretch that gives you the pain. It's the obstruction that hurts. It's not the stone itself. It's actually the blockage that hurts you."

"I had this tremendous pain in the small of my back," said Gold. "It's the worst pain I've had in my entire life."

"Sometimes it's like trying to fit an elephant through a doorway," said Northway.

Northway says once patients experience a kidney stone, they are 25 to 50 percent more likely to get another one in the next five years. To avoid getting one in the first place, he recommends staying hydrated all year round. Pure water is best, but Northway says any fluid is better than nothing.

With that in mind, KVUE asked runners at Auditorium Shores if they thought a sports drink or Diet Mtn. Dew was more beneficial when it comes to preventing kidney stones? Northway says the answer is Diet Mtn. Dew.

"The reason why Diet Mtn. Dew may be helpful is it's actually high in citrate," said Northway.  

Northway says citrate is a proven kidney stone preventer. So even though Diet Mtn. Dew contains caffeine, it's more beneficial than an electrolyte sports drink high in sodium that can cause kidney stones -- a surprise to runners at auditorium shores.    

"I'm surprised and also a little confused and a little sickened," said Lauren Washburn of Austin.

"It blows my mind," said Ernesto Klinefelter of Austin.

"I'm very surprised actually," said Bernice Hernandez of Austin. "I would never have thought Diet Mtn. Dew would be better for you.