I know the consumption of plenty of water is necessary in order to stay properly hydrated, especially if one lives in a hot and dry climate. I live in the desert southwest, where summer daytime temperatures commonly hover above 100 degrees, and relative humidity is often below 20%. Obviously, I need to drink a lot of water in order to be healthy and functioning well in this environment.
Being a kidney stone former, I need to be diligent about drinking lots of water. It’s quite likely my past failure to drink an adequate amount of water was a contributing factor in the development of stones. It had been my habit to drink whenever I felt thirsty, but now I realize that waiting that long isn’t going to result in the consumption of enough water to prevent kidney stone formation. I needed to find ways to make sure I drank before I experienced thirst. How was I going to remember to drink water during my busy day, if I wasn’t even feeling the slightest bit thirsty?
I have discovered that I need visual reminders of the need to drink water during the day. At home we installed a big water cooler with a five gallon jug sitting on top of it. Not only does it serve as a reminder to drink, drink, drink lots of water, but I can also see how fast the water level goes down in that clear plastic jug. When I’m at work or on the road, I take along a water bottle. Again, I find it helpful to have one that’s transparent, so I can be aware of just how much water I’m consuming.
Of course, as I drink more water I also need to use the bathroom more frequently. Since I’m a teacher, this can sometimes pose a challenge. I had to leave my classroom of students unsupervised in order to use the lady’s room. I found myself avoiding drinking much, in order to reduce bathroom trips. The solution to that problem was to schedule regular trips to the bathroom during breaks between classes rather than waiting until I felt an urgent need. I have discovered if I use the bathroom every two and a half hours or so I never develop a sense of urgency, even with the extra water consumption.
As I have managed to drink more water, I also noticed the color of my urine has lightened considerably. When I see a darker yellow color, it’s a signal that I need to increase my water consumption. My goal is to produce clear, colorless urine.
Having experienced kidney stones, I am very willing to make adjustments in my daily routine in order to prevent another recurrence. By always having water nearby, relying on visual reminders to drink it, establishing regular scheduled times to use the bathroom, and monitoring the color of my urine I have been able to significantly increase my water intake. It feels good to be taking positive steps to prevent future kidney stone formation.
Editors note: Bonnie writes about her experiences as a stone patient in her posts. If you have experiences as a patient you would like to share, feel free to add a comment or send her an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org