Does Drinking Hard Water Cause More Kidney Stones?

A group of Wake Forest Urologists pondered this question in a study that compared the urine chemistry of patients who drank various kinds of water. They had 15 men who typically form stones and 14 who do not drink three kinds of water for two days each. The three types of water were “water of minimal hardness” (WMH), “tap water” (TW) and “mineral water” (MW). All of the men drank more water than normal it seems during the study, so overall urine output went up. The urine was less concentrated in the WMH and TH groups, and more concentrated in the MW group. The stone-former group had a rise in the urine calcium concentration, and the non-former group had no such rise. The result it seems is that hard water causes more kidney stones only if you have a tendency to stones in the first place. On the other hand, soft water didn’t prevent stones for anybody.

So what to do? If you have had kidney stones perhaps you should avoid mineral water and stick to water of minimal hardness, like what you would get from a filtered water source.

But Baton Rouge is known for having soft water. According to the Baton Rouge Water Company, 65 wells in various sands of the Southern Hills aquifer system are used to supply water with a natural low hardness concentration not subject to surface water influences. Baton Rouge water has a hardness of 4.52 mg/L of calcium carbonate. This is less than the threshold for “water of minimum hardness”! Other cities tend to have much harder water, such as Phoenix (162 mg/L), Philadelphia (100 mg/L), or Nashville (120 mg/L).

So the overall word is that in Baton Rouge don’t worry about the tap water causing kidney stones…. even if you already have a tendency to make stones the water here won’t make it worse.

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