Ask the Experts: What Should I Know About Traveling with Kidney Stones?
If you have a history of kidney stones, especially if you have them often, talk to your doctor before you make a long trip. Half of all people who get a stone will get another one. Based on the type of stones you have had, your current health issues, age and nutrition needs, your doctor can give you tips to prevent stones.
Even if you are taking steps to prevent kidney stones, one may cause pain while you’re traveling. Non-narcotic medicine should work but you may want to talk with your doctor about how to prepare for pain relief. If you are advised to have a prescription for pain medicine to take with you, fill the prescription in advance of your trip. If you’re traveling by plane, keep any medication in your carry-on luggage in case your checked bags get lost.
Ask your doctor if it would be a good idea to have a plain abdominal X-ray or ultrasound before your trip to see if there are any stones that may need treatment before you go.
While you are traveling, drink plenty of water to lower your risk of forming new stones. Aim to replace fluids lost when you sweat from exercise or in hot weather. All fluids count, but try to drink water or mostly no-calorie or low-calorie drinks. This may mean limiting sugar-sweetened or alcoholic drinks.
Other tips for preventing kidney stones include reducing the amount of salt in your diet and eating at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If your doctor believes your diet is increasing your risk for stones, they may tell you to eat less meat.
Dr. Timothy Averch, a urologist at Prisma Health–Midlands, focuses on kidney stone disease, quality improvement and patient safety.
Read the latest issue of Urology Health extra, the Urology Care Foundations patient-focused magazine.
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