The People's Perspective on Medicine

Summertime and Kidney Stones

Hot weather is associated with a higher risk of kidney stones. Researchers have noted that there are more hospitalizations for kidney stone emergencies during the summer. Google searches for information on kidney stones also peak in August. This could be related to the possibility of dehydration as temperatures climb. Dehydration raises the risk of kidney stone formation, and those susceptible to this problem are urge to drink lots of fluids to prevent them.

There may also be another factor. Dr. John Miller of Loyola University points out that most kidney stones contain oxalate as a principal ingredient. His hypothesis is that people are getting oxalate by drinking lots of iced tea in the summertime. Iced tea is a rich source of oxalate, along with spinach, Swiss chard, chocolate, blueberries and strawberries. Rather than iced tea, those who have had kidney stones in the past may want to sip lemonade during the summer. The citrate from lemons prevents oxalate absorption and helps lower the likelihood of a kidney stone recurrence.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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