To avoid the agony of kidney stones, start with a glass of water, from the October 2013 Harvard Men's Health Watch

Anyone who has ever had a kidney stone surely remembers it. The pain can be unbearable, coming in waves until the stone becomes unstuck and passes. In about half of people who have had one, kidney stones strike again within seven years—unless something is done to prevent them. There are many things the stone-prone can do to protect themselves, according to the October 2013 Harvard Men's Health Watch.

Here are the core self-help steps for preventing kidney stones, recommended by Dr. Melanie Hoenig, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Drink plenty of water: Drinking extra water dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones.

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