VIDEO Middle age 45 – 65, not the usual time to form your first kidney stone. The average for new stone onset is 35, with a spread of about 12 years, so by 45 you might think the odds are in your favor. But not always. Sometimes they start late, even into your fifties or sixties. It doesn’t matter some of the time. A stone is a stone. But older people get stones for a different spectrum of reasons than when young, so you have to think a bit about why. The image, a self portrait by Jan van Eyck (1390-1441), was painted in 1433 in oil on panel. It hangs in the National Gallery, London. This article is co-authored … Continued

How To Wean Off Sugar

Who doesn’t love dessert?  I, for one, thoroughly enjoy cookies, cake, and ice cream, but I keep it for here and there and not everywhere. I know that many of you love it, too, because you tell me everyday that this is the hardest thing for you to avoid.  But I am here to tell you that it is possible to lessen your sugar and still want to wake up in the morning.  Really. I work with many clients who have a very tough time lessening their sugar intake.  It is hard at first, but it gets better over time. It’s Important To Reduce Sugar Another recent article makes the case. Added, or refined sugar (sucrose) can raise your risk … Continued


I thought it was time to sum things up, to offer an utterly practical guide to stone prevention. So here it is. You have kidney stones, even one, what next? There are things you need to have your physicians do for you. There are things you need to do for yourself. Then, there are things that may not need physicians but other kinds of support. To unclutter the text I listed the key links at the end of the article.  WHAT YOUR PHYSICIANS NEED TO DO Stones can come from systemic diseases, and only a physician can determine if that is the case for you. A not uncommon example is primary hyperparathyroidism that is curable but with surgery. There is a … Continued

How to Eat a High Calcium Low Sodium Diet

Many patients assume that they are forming calcium stones and should therefore limit their calcium intake. That assumption could not be more wrong. Low calcium diet won’t stop your stones and may even increase your risk. Lets not forget that our bones are in desperate need of calcium to avoid osteopenia and osteoporosis. But, many of the best foods for calcium are also high in sodium, and sodium raises urine calcium loss and stone risk. Now what? How Much Calcium do We Need? The National Institutes of Health tells us age matters. Nineteen to fifty year old male or female need 1,000 mg of calcium a day. Fifty one to seventy year olds need 1,000 mg for males and 1,200 … Continued


How much and what? We have already written a lot about this, but everyone has specific questions. This is the place to ask them.


Many of you will leave your doctor’s office with questions about foods and kidney stone prevention. You will go home. You will sit down at your desk and the Googling will begin. Here is a spot for you to ask me anything you like about this topic. We already have things on this site about salt, oxalate, and calcium but this space is for specific issues for anyone who comes.

How To Eat A Low Oxalate Diet

As part of a series, Jill offers this long and critical article on restricting diet oxalate. The problem is very complicated because oxalate is in a lot of plant foods and these are foods we need and often like. Using the Harvard oxalate list with cross referencing with another list from an excellent academic institution, Jill finds her way between the problems of too much oxalate and too little to eat. She offers a whole day meal plan outline people can fill in with their own preferences. Some key scientific papers are reviewed at the end to show the basis for her advice.

How To Eat a Low Sodium Diet

Jill Harris offers another of her amazingly useful and popular articles, this one on the how of low sodium diets. As she has done for fluids, Jill takes you into her own kitchen and dining room and shows you how to limit salt intake and yet fully enjoy your meals. She has had years of experience coaching patients about exactly this kind of crucial life management, and it shows. Her articles are the most popular on this site, and this one is destined to join her others in helping thousands of people actually do what their physicians ask them to do: Eat less salt to stop making stones.

24-Hour Urine Collections: Why and How

So many times I have been misled and my patients also because of misunderstandings about what 24 hour urine collections can tell us. They are single frames out of a movie that runs lifelong so it is imperative people collect as they were when they made stones or as they are pursuing their stone prevention treatments. The concept is easy and easy to ignore, put aside, forget about. Jill’s offering is not only useful for the first time collector, but every time – as a reminder.


Well and good to say, ‘Drink 3 liters of water a day to prevent kidney stones’, and go on to something else. It is another to accomplish that feat. Don’t some drinks raise stone risk – like coffee and tea? What about Coke, diet drinks, beer and wine? Is anyone supposed to make do on all water? Here is a post by Jill Harris that offers answers and even daily menus of beverages. As things turn out, there are a lot of choices, a lot of ways to get in all that fluid, every day. 


One might think nothing is easier than drinking water; my experience is that nothing is a lot harder, as least for a large fraction of patients. The new post by Jill Harris is all about how. Jill spent 12 years at Litholink corporation, now a subsidiary of LabCorp, supervising their team of telephone patient care representatives. Her team, and she herself, dealt with thousands of patients, and how to drink enough water was always a large issue. As practice will do, she has gradually built up her bag of tricks for patients, and shares some of them here, with you. Now in her own practice, Jill continues to help people prevent stones by showing them how to actually accomplish what their doctors urge them to do.