What is the key to kicking kidney stones?

American Idol winner and Leesburg native Phillip Phillips battled kidney stones through the entire competition / File

Many say kidney problems are abundant in the south--and doctors have their theories as to why.

In today's Facebook story of the day, you wanted to know how to prevent kidney stones.

Recent American Idol winner and Leesburg native Phillip Phillips suffered through almost the entire competition, battling kidney stones that almost took him out of the running completely. And his isn't an isolated case. Kidney stones are very common in the south.

"The biggest thing I think is the heat and the humidity that comes with summer when people are prone to dehydration. There may be something to do with the diet; there are certain dietary things like sweet tea, commonly consumed here in the south," says urologist Dr. Scott Wendland.

That's because drinks like sweet tea has a high concentration of oxalate. Without the proper fluid intake, the oxalate builds up, creating the stones.

"Back to basic chemistry, when things get concentrated then crystals tend to form and it precipitates out into a stone. When things stay diluted, they don't precipitate out and it gets flushed out when they're still microcrystals," adds Wendland.

Thus, drinking water is a good thing. Preferably between eight and thirteen cups a day depending on if you're a man or a woman. Your average bottle of water contains about 20 fluid ounces, which is two and a half cups. You'd have to drink four bottles to get your recommended eight cups a day. Dietician Frank Heredeen says water is vital in more ways than one.

"It carries all the nutrients to your cells but it also gets rid of all your toxic materials that your body has," says Heredeen.

Dehydration can also cause fatigue and even headaches. Drinking water can also help your waistline.

"If you drink a couple glasses before you eat supper, it can cut down the number of things that you eat at supper so it can really help your meal plan," says Heredeen.

And you want to keep water nearby, especially with the summer heat already upon us.