Will taking lemon water cure kidney stones?

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

A nosography report indicated I have a small kidney stone which could become bigger. On advice, I am drinking at least two to three glasses of lemon water and because of this I am urinating frequently, sometimes every five minutes. Is this normal and how much lemon can I have daily to get rid of the stones? Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,
Kidneys regulate the amount of water in the body so that if we drink too much water, we pass a lot urine. So passing urine frequently and in large amounts may be normal if you are taking lots of fluids.
Urine contains minerals, the reason it tastes salty. If urine contains a high concentration of minerals, the minerals may crystallise, forming stones. This commonly happens even with little amounts of minerals if one is not taking enough fluids or if one is dehydrated.
Stones may also form if there is too much calcium like in the case of a number of Ugandans who take too much calcium or vitamin D supplements or those with hormone problems that deal with calcium in the body (hyperparathyroidism).
People with gout just like those with hereditary problems of certain amino acids, those with infections in the kidneys, the obese, those on a high salt diet, or those perpetually dehydrated, may also get kidney stones.
Small stones may not cause symptoms and may be found on routine ultrasound examination like in your case and here, taking lots of fluids may dissolve the stones.
For larger stones, or those causing symptoms which may include pain in the loin, or blood in urine among others, surgery may be contemplated.
People have taken lemon to help prevent or treat small stones because it is believed that lemon contains citric acid which limits formation of stones. That said, the acid in lemons may increase the risk of formation of gouty stones.
It is, therefore, important to take lots of fluids in any treatment of kidney stones but further treatment and prevention may differ according to the found cause of the stones.


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