Everyone has heard that we should drink eight glasses of water a day but there’s no way to determine where this belief originated nor has there ever been a scientific study to support it, explains Dr. Alex Finkbeiner, chairman of the UAMS Department of Urology.
“Interestingly, one of my colleagues also questioned whether such a statement was true and, after conducting a research study, concluded there is no basis for such a statement. I advise patients to simply let their thirst guide their fluid intake unless there is a specific medical reason to do differently.”
Fluid intake is, however, a key to reducing kidney stone formation. “Urine is water with salts dissolved in it. Stones form when the salts come out of solution and coalesce together, just like the crust you see at the bottom of a tea kettle after boiling tap water,” says Dr. Finkbeiner. “Physical chemistry teaches us that salts stay in solution more readily if they are suspended in a greater volume of water. Stones generally form when you are relatively dehydrated and your urine becomes concentrated.”
So, how much water should you drink to reduce kidney stones? “It depends on your environment and activity. A simple rule is drink enough to keep your urine looking like water. Avoid letting your urine turn dark yellow or golden brown, that means it’s too concentrated.”
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