ZocdocAnswersIs taking calcium supplements dangerous with a history of kidney stones?

Question

Is taking calcium supplements dangerous with a history of kidney stones?

I am taking calcium supplements with vitamin D since I take Depo Provera for birth control. I don't know want to change my contraception. I also have a history of kidney stones and have been told I get them solely due to dehydration after analysis of my blood and urine several years back. Is it dangerous for me to continue calcium supplements since I have a history of stones? I am currently taking calcium citrate since I have read that the citrate is protective against stones. I also only take them with food since I read that is protective as well. Thank you.

Answer

It sounds like you had a pretty good work up for your kidney stones already, if you had blood and urine tests done after your first attack with kidney stones. Typically, what these studies are looking for is any evidence of why you tend to form kidney stones, such as an increase in calcium concentration in the urine. Especially in younger people, however, it is quite common for these tests not to demonstrate any obvious abnormality. In most of these people, like yourself, the major factor contributing to stone formation is probably not drinking enough water. Most of the time, therefore, making sure you keep your fluid intake up for the rest of your life is enough to prevent stones from forming again. The impact of your calcium supplements is less straight forward. Most likely your calcium supplements do put you at somewhat increased risk of another episode of kidney stones, but in most cases that risk can probably be managed by keeping up your fluid intake. One approach that some doctors might use is to measure the amount of calcium in your urine while taking the supplements to see if it has gone up significantly. I would suggest talking to your primary care doctor or kidney doctor about this issue in more detail. Good luck.

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