Urologist Cautions Against too Much Iced Tea


Quenching your summer thirst with copious amounts of tea can lead to painful kidney stones according to a Loyola University Medical Center urologist.

Dr. John Milner, assistant professor, Department of Urology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, explained that iced tea contains high concentrations of oxalate, one of the key chemicals that lead to the formation of kidney stones.

"For people who have a tendency to form the most common type of kidney stones, iced tea is one of the worst things to drink," he said.  Kidney stones is a disorder of the urinary tract that affects about 10 percent of the population in the United States.

Tea Maestro Bruce Richardson knows the symptoms first hand. “I was surprised after surgery to see tea at the top of the no-no list, recalls Richardson, a consultant and retailer and author of several books on tea.

An avid tea drinker, Richardson offers this advice: “consider green tea over black and add lemon juice which counters the effect of the oxalates.”

Real lemonade (not powdered) is another good option. "Lemons are high in citrates, which inhibit the growth of kidney stones," Milner said.

Richardson avoids green leafy vegetables “including my favorite — rhubarb” and drinks his hot tea with milk as that also binds with oxalates reducing the formation of painful crystals in the kidneys and urinary tract.

Though hot tea also contains oxalate, it's hard to drink enough to cause kidney stones, Milner said.

A lack of fluids contributes to the onset. "A lot of people choose to drink more iced tea because it is low in calories and tastes better than water. However, in terms of kidney stones, they might be doing themselves a disservice," said Milner.

Men are four times more likely to develop kidney stones than women, and the risk rises dramatically after age 40, according to Milner. Postmenopausal women with low estrogen levels and women who have had their ovaries removed also are at increased risk.

Kidney stones are small crystals that form from minerals and salt normally found in the urine in the kidneys or ureters, the small tubes that drain urine from the kidney to the bladder. Kidney stones usually are so small they are harmlessly expelled from the body. But stones sometimes grow large enough to become lodged in the ureters.

Source: Health Canal