Kidney Health

Why is Summer Kidney Stone Season?

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Summary & Participants

Ice cream, beaches, and.... kidney stones? It's a little known fact, but kidney stones are much more common in the summer. Why is this the case? What should you do to keep from getting kidney stones in the summer? What symptoms should you watch out for? Join our panel of experts for an important lesson on summer stones.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2009

Webcast Transcript

PAUL MONIZ: I'm Paul Moniz. What you're looking at is a kidney stone. Do you know you may have one? Well summer is here, and that means more outdoor activities, and it could be mean more stones if you are not careful.

Thank you for joining us. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of excruciatingly painful kidney stones. Here to give us a quick lesson on stones and how to prevent them are two New York City urologists, Dr. Robert Salant and Dr. Jon Marks. Thank you for joining us.

Dr. Marks, exactly what are stones?

JON MARKS, MD: Kidney stones are combinations of protein and various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphate that occur within the kidney or anywhere along the urinary tract.

PAUL MONIZ: Dr. Salant, why are they so common during the summer?

ROBERT SALANT, MD: The basic reason is that during the summer people are more active. They therefore sweat more and are relatively dehydrated. Dehydration is the leading cause of kidney stones.

PAUL MONIZ: Who is most at risk?

JON MARKS, MD: In general, men outnumber women. Men who are between 30 and 50, although sometimes even children can get stones, and certainly in the much older population.

PAUL MONIZ: How do you know if you have a stone? Is there a certain kind of pain or a certain type of symptom that is singularly tied to kidney stones?

JON MARKS, MD: Renal cholic, which is the pain from kidney stones, is among the worst pains anyone will experience. Some people say it's just as bad as childbirth without anesthesia. So pain is a leading sign of kidney stone. There may also be blood in the urine, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.

PAUL MONIZ: So bottom line, if you have a stone and it's a stone that's causing problems, you'll know it.

JON MARKS, MD: You will know it, and you should be evaluated.

PAUL MONIZ: What about the evaluation? What can be done about these stones?

JON MARKS, MD: Well, we need to find out where the stone is, so the first thing that is done is some form of an X-ray or an ultrasound or a CAT scan. Some radiographic imaging procedure that shows us inside the body where the stone is and how large it is.

PAUL MONIZ: And Dr. Salant, finally with you, the role of diet. If people have stones or they are susceptible to them, how should they change their diet?

ROBERT SALANT, MD: Depending upon the composition of the stone, that will determine what types of foods you should either avoid or use as a supplement. However, the key modality in preventing new stones from forming is to be very well hydrated. Drink approximately three liters of fluid per day.

PAUL MONIZ: Very good advice. Dr. Robert Salant, thanks for your time and Dr. Jon Marks as well. Remember, kidney stones are extremely common, effecting 1 in 10 Americans every year. I'm Paul Moniz. Thanks for being with us.