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Urology. 2012 Mar;79(3):501-7. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2011.10.025. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Effects of drinking water quality on urinary parameters in men with and without urinary tract stones.

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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Department of Urology, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.



There is some controversy regarding the impact of water hardness on stone risk. Our study addresses this issue in a controlled setting.


Fifteen stone-former (SF) and 14 non-stone-former (NSF) males participated in this study in 3 intervals of 2 days each. Subjects collected a 24-hour urine sample while consuming a self-selected diet. They were then administered controlled diets. During the first 2 days, patients consumed water of minimal hardness (WMH), followed by tap water (TW) with moderate hardness on days 3 and 4, and mineral water (MW) on the final 2 days. Calcium (Ca), phosphorus, uric acid, oxalate, citrate, magnesium (Mg), sodium, potassium, and creatinine (Cr) content were measured in 24-hour urine samples on days 2, 4, and 6.


Differences in water hardness and analytes were statistically significant among the different water types (P < .05). Urinary output in both groups increased during intervention with all 3 varieties of water (P < .05). Specific gravity of urine decreased in both groups drinking WMH and TW (P < .05) but not with MW. Mg/g Cr level was higher in NSF at baseline (P < .01), WMH (P < .05), and TW (P < .05). With the increase in drinking water hardness, Ca/g Cr ratio increased in SF but not in NSF (P < .05).


NSF had significantly higher urinary Mg/g Cr excretion rate before intervention than SF (P < .01). Increasing drinking water hardness while controlling for all other factors increased Ca/g Cr ratio in SF, rendering them at least theoretically more inclined to stone formation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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