Kidney stone pain is an experience only those whose had it can truly explain. Thankfully, kidney stone laser surgery, an advanced minimally invasive treatment, is highly effective for removing the stones and relieving the painful symptoms. The course toward full recovery for the patients, however, doesn’t end at the surgery table. To ensure that all the good work done by the surgeons doesn’t go to waste and kidney stones make an unwanted comeback, patients are advised to follow a healthy diet post-kidney stone surgery. A healthy diet is a must for quick recovery and to prevent future stone formation in the kidneys. On that thought, in this blog, we are sharing diet tips to follow post-kidney stone laser surgery to help set expectations for the patients and simplify commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
What Should Your Diet Look Like Post Kidney Stone Laser Surgery?
The main objective of a healthy diet post-kidney stone laser surgery is to ensure a quick recovery and reduce the chances of kidney stones forming and causing problems again. Keep in mind that your recovery can take anywhere from one to six weeks, depending upon your health condition and the type of surgery. Kidney doctors take into consideration the patient’s health to make dietary recommendations for preventing kidney stone formation. Patients should follow the guidelines religiously. Generally, a post-kidney stone laser surgery diet should include:
- Approximately 2-3 liters of water, lemonade, coffee, etc.
- Limited high-oxalate food sources
- Low-sodium foods
- Citrus fruits
- A moderate amount of animal proteins
- Limited added sugar and high-fructose products
- Healthy, calcium-rich meals
This is a very generalized dietary recommendation. Your individualized diet plan will depend on the kind of kidney stone that has been diagnosed and removed in your laser surgery. Calcium stones and uric acid stones are the most common kidney stones in that order. The dietary recommendations vary for both the types of kidney stones.
Individuals with calcium oxalate stones are recommended to maintain a good level of calcium and take calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese whenever consuming oxalate-rich foods. Patients are also advised to limit their intake of peanuts, chocolate, spinach, and other high-oxalate food items. The idea is to bind the calcium and oxalate early in the digestive system so that there is no excess leakage and stone formation later on in the blood or urine.
Individuals with uric acid stones are advised to avoid red meat, shellfish, anchovies, alcoholic beverages, and foods that are rich in purine and include low-fat dairy, whole grains, and veggies in their diet. High purine is known to increase the uric acid levels and lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Potential Problems From Ignoring Dietary Guidelines
Although the post-kidney dietary advice may seem like a suggestion to incorporate for an overall healthy life, it is important to understand that non-adherence can lead to potentially problematic complications, including:
- Delayed healing
- The strain on the kidneys
- Risk of infection, and most importantly
- Recurrence of kidney stones
Various nephrologists suggest that individuals with kidney stone problems are at high risk of getting them again, which can also be a warning sign of an underlying kidney disease. This is why it is important to diligently follow the dietary guidelines and medications as suggested by your nephrologist and kidney dietician.
Say ‘Yes’ to these Foods After Kidney Stone Laser Surgery
Patients who have had kidney stone laser surgery are encouraged to incorporate the following:
Beverages to include:
- Water (at least 12 glasses per day)
- Low-sugar lemonade and milk
Citrus fruits to eat after kidney stone surgery:
Low-oxalate veggies that you can eat after a kidney stone surgery:
Calcium-rich dairy foods you can include in your diet:
- Cottage Cheese
Vitamin-D and calcium-rich foods:
- Egg yolks
It is very important to understand that generally, two months after a kidney stone laser removal surgery for calcium oxalate stones, it is typically advised to restrict oxalate and calcium-rich foods. This is usually modified later on by the dietician after a thorough evaluation.
Animal protein substitutes:
- Soy milk
- Greek yogurt
- Chia seeds
General foods to include in your diet post-kidney surgery:
- Whole-grain breads
This list is not definitive. Patients should seek advice from a reputable dietician for accurate information and individualized diet plan.
Food to Avoid After Kidney Stone Surgery
Depending on the type of kidney stone, after a kidney stone laser surgery, the general guideline is to lower calcium leakage, reduce oxalate intake, and minimize uric acid levels. Some of the foods that patients should avoid after kidney stone laser surgery include:
- Salt: High intake through the condiment or in canned food, fast foods, and packaged meat can potentially result in calcium leakage in the urine.
- Chicken, poultry, red meat, fish, and eggs: It leads to increased uric acid levels.
- Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, okra, beets, chocolates, peanuts, almonds, cashews, and tea: These are oxalate-rich foods that promote kidney stone formation.
- Sodas and sweetened drinks: High levels of phosphate, sugar, and fructose corn syrup can increase acidity, and mineral imbalance and cause dehydration.
- Honey, cane sugar, and other added sugars: These lead to high acidity and stone formation.
- Alcohol: It increases uric acid levels.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements: These should be taken only in consultation with a kidney dietician.
Ofcourse, there is no complete restriction on the diet. Nephrologists and dieticians usually advise on completely cutting off certain items and minimizing the intake of other foods such as salt, fruits, veggies, and protein as per your individual condition.
While a kidney stone laser surgery can help relieve the painful symptoms, it is ultimately in the patient’s hands to take the prescribed medications, engage in advised levels of physical activity, and manage their diet for a quick recovery and overall healthy kidneys. Diet plays a big role in the functioning of our digestive system, including kidney function. Individuals need to pay attention to the foods they put on their tables and into their stomachs. A few decisions about food choices can leave a big impact on your kidneys. Consult the best nephrologist in India and follow the guidelines that they suggest to manage a healthy recovery from kidney stone laser surgery.