If you've ever had a kidney stone before, you know that after you recover, the very first thing you want to do is figure out how to never let that happen to you again. I know. I've been there, and the possibility of a potential kidney stone recurrence is something that sends a shiver down my spine.

Now, a new tool might just be able to predict whether or not a patient is likely to have another kidney stone down the road. That is big news for those who dread another bout. The test, designed by researchers at the Mayo Clinic and outlined in the recent issue of Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, uses 11 questions to determine a person's risk of developing another kidney stone within the next two, five or 10 years.

In the U.S., 9 percent of men and 6 percent of women have had at least one kidney stone in their lives. Medications and dietary changes can be used to help prevent future stones, but that can be both costly and restrictive. 

"If we knew which patients were at high risk for another symptomatic kidney stone, then we could better advise patients on whether to follow stone prevention diets or take medications," said the Mayo Clinic's Andrew Rule, the creator of the test.

So what are the questions? The test can be found here, but unless you're a doctor, it may be difficult to decipher. Your best bet is to print it out and take it along on your next physical so that you and your primary physician can figure out the answers and determine the best course of action to address your risk.

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