Kidney Stones are among the most painful conditions you can have. Here’s what you need to know in order to treat and prevent them.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
In the U.S., about 10-15 percent of adults will be diagnosed with a kidney stone in their lifetime. Roughly 1 million Americans develop kidney stones each year.
Once you have had one kidney stone attack, your chance of recurrence is about 70 to 80 percent, and the younger you are when you have your first attack, the greater your risk of recurrence.
Typically, a kidney stone is the result of a super-saturation of minerals and acid salts in your urine, such as calcium and uric acid, which then crystallize and form solid masses. This can happen if you don’t drink enough fluids and if your urine is highly acidic or highly alkaline.
Certain drugs can also promote kidney stones, such as Lasix (furosemide), Topomax (topiramate), and Xenical, among others.
Most kidney stones contain crystals of various types, with calcium as the key ingredient. However, usually one type of crystals predominates, and determining the type helps you identify the underlying cause.
The most common type is calcium oxalate stones, comprising about 75 percent of all cases. Oxalate is found in some fruits and vegetables, but your liver actually produces most of your oxalate.
You’d think one of the solutions for avoiding kidney stones would be to eliminate or radically reduce your intake of calcium because calcium is part of the stone, but that is actually NOT a wise strategy.
This is because, normally, the calcium in your diet binds to the oxalate, and helps you excrete it in other ways than through your urine.
Other types of stones and their underlying causes include:
Struvite stones: Found more often in women, these are almost always the result of urinary tract infections.
Uric acid stones: These are a byproduct of protein metabolism. They’re commonly seen with gout and may result from certain genetic factors and disorders of your blood-producing tissues.
Cystine stones: Represent a very small percentage of kidney stones. These are the result of a hereditary disorder that causes your kidneys to excrete massive amounts of certain amino acids (cystinuria).
Two risk factors that elevate your chances of developing kidney stones include high blood pressure and digestive problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Most likely you’ll never know you have a stone until it moves into your ureter—the tube connecting your kidney to your bladder. At that point, common symptoms include:
Pain in your side and back, below your ribs
Episodes of pain lasting 20 to 60 minutes, of varying intensity
Pain “waves” radiating from your side and back, to your lower abdomen and groin
Bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine
Pain with urination
Nausea and vomiting
“Urgency” (persistent urge to urinate)
Fever and chills (indicates an infection is also present)
The pain you feel is a result of distention of the tissues above the stone since it is blocking the passage of urine, rather than from the pressure of the stone itself.
To diagnose a kidney stone you can collect the kidney stone and have it analyzed for a definitive answer, or you can do a 24-hour urine test. This is a useful strategy to ascertain any imbalances in your urine that contribute and predispose you to develop stones.
Watch What You Eat if You Have Kidney Stones
There are a number of strategies you can use to treat this condition. If you suffer mainly from calcium oxalate stones, you’ll want to minimize the amount of oxalates in your body (as opposed to reducing your calcium intake).
Other foods that contain high levels of oxalate that you’ll want to avoid include:
A diet high in sugar can also set you up for stones since sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body by interfering with calcium and magnesium absorption.
Diets high in processed salt are also bad news as salt increases the amount of calcium and oxalate in your urine. Processed foods have notoriously high salt content and should, therefore, be avoided as much as possible.
Prevent and Treat Kidney Stones with Plain Water
Probably the single most effective way to prevent and treat kidney stones is to make sure you’re drinking enough water.
Actually, the number one risk factor for kidney stones is not staying hydrated enough, as it prevents your urine from dissolving minerals and acid salts.
One of the ways you’ll know if you’re drinking enough is to look at the color of your urine. Ideally, you’ll want your urine to be a light yellow. If it’s dark yellow or even orange, it may be a clue that you’re not drinking enough.
Every person’s water requirement is different, depending on your particular system and activity level, but simply keeping your urine light yellow will go a long way toward preventing kidney stones.
Remember to increase your water intake whenever you increase your activity, and during summer months when you’re likely to sweat more. Also, know that once you’re thirsty it’s usually too late. Thirst is usually a sign of dehydration.
The only condition that will interfere with that analysis is if you’re taking a multivitamin containing B vitamins, or a B vitamin complex. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), specifically, tends to turn your urine a bright, fluorescent yellow, which will prevent you from using the color of your urine as a guide.
More Natural Remedies
You can add freshly squeezed lemons to your water as often as you like. Lemons contain citrate, which is a chemical that prevents calcium stones from forming. Citrate can also break up small stones, allowing them to pass more easily.
Lemon juice has numerous other health benefits. For example, it helps inhibit bacteria growth.
Basil contains acetic acid, which helps to break down the kidney stones and helps to reduce pain. It also lowers uric acid levels, which reduces your risk for future stones.
Use fresh or dried basil leaves to make a tea and drink several cups per day. You may also juice fresh basil or add it to a smoothie.
You shouldn’t use medicinal basil juice for more than 6 weeks at a time. Extended use may lead to:
-low blood sugar
-low blood pressure
Pomegranate juice can help improve overall kidney function, as well as flush stones and other toxins from your system.
It also lowers your urine’s acidity level. Lower acidity levels reduce your risk for future kidney stones.
There’s no limit to how much pomegranate juice you can drink throughout the day.
You shouldn’t drink pomegranate juice if you’re taking:
-medications changed by the liver
-blood pressure medications, such as chlorothiazide (Diuril)
Other Approaches That Can Help Prevent and Treat Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. If you do get a large kidney stone, naturally you will not be able to pass it without some type of intervention.
In the past, they had to do surgery to physically remove these larger stones, but now there are some more advanced options such as extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy. This treatment entails being submerged in a tub of water where sound waves traveling through the liquid shatter the stones. They then pass as gravel through your urine in a few days or weeks.
Also, STONE BREAKER by Eu Natural is the real solution to cleanse and detoxify your kidney, the natural way. Fights kidney pain using full-spectrum natural ingredients.
Fast-acting herbal extracts like Chanca Piedra, Hydrangea, and Celery Seed Extract provide you with the best power to fight nausea, restlessness, urinary tract pain and discomfort. Made in the USA to Strict FDA Standards by cGMP Certified Laboratory, this product has been seen on NBC, ABC, CBS, and hundreds of other media sources.
Lastly, it may surprise you, but exercise is a very important aspect of kidney stone prevention. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you definitely raise your risk of developing stones, so implementing a regular exercise regimen can go a long way to keeping kidney stones at bay.
Hopefully, by applying the principles above you will prevent it from ever getting to that stage, because kidney stones are no laughing matter, painful as they are.
So if you know someone who suffers from kidney stones on a regular basis, hopefully you’ll pass this article along to them, because this is the type of information you, and your friends and family, can use to take control of your health.