Kidney stones are a painful affliction and once you’ve had them, chances are you’ll get them again. But a new recommendation has cited study results that noted success in reducing the likelihood of recurrence with just a couple of simple lifestyle changes.

The guidelines, shared by the American College of Physicians in the ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ indicate that if you want to reduce your chances of a recurrence of kidney stones, you should drink more water and less soda. This may sound like a small shift, but it does require diligence.

The ACP recommends achieving at least two liters of urine a day to prevent kidney stones, which, for most people, translates to about 10 eight-ounce glasses of water. This isn’t difficult to do, but if you’re not used to getting that much water in a day, it can be an adjustment.

Water isn’t the only answer either. In their guidelines, the ACP referred to a study that found that kidney stone patients who refrained from drinking sodas acidified with phosphoric acid reduced their risk of another bout of kidney stones by almost 15 percent.

Dr. David Fleming, President of the ACP, says that he encourages his patients with kidney stones to stop drinking soda. “If I find out they’re drinking three or four Diet Cokes a day, I would strongly suggest they cut that back to one or none,” he said.

Experts believe the link between kidney stones and soda is the phosphorus, which adds acidity to urine. According to Dr. Fleming, “An acid environment is conducive to stone formation.”

For now, aside from adding medication into the mix, doctors believe increasing water intake is the most effective strategy for those who are prone to stones. Beyond that, and a reduction in soda consumption, diets rich in plant-based foods and fiber can also help reduce risk.

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