Stones in kidney are the commonest disorder of urinary tract. These tiny to large size solidified crystals are made up of salt and minerals. One thing is crystal clear; they hurt. Normally urine contains all the substances that are required for formation of stones; however they pass out during the urination. When there is an imbalance of these ingredients in the urine, the crystals accumulate and form stones.
Kidney stones are also called renal calculi. The stones can be tiny or as large as a golf ball. There can be a single stone or multiple stones.
In humans the commonest variety is made up of calcium oxalate crystals. Other varieties are not so common and they are made up of uric acid, magnesium, phosphate, etc.
Renal calculi are more common in men than in women. Changes in lifestyle, eating habits and prescription medicines help to prevent reappearance and expel kidney stones.
Signs And Symptoms Of Stones In Kidney
Stones in the kidney usually cause no symptoms until they obstruct the flow of urine. Often stones in kidney of an asymptomatic patient are detected on X-ray or sonography done for unrelated reasons.
The disease affects all ages and both sexes, but it is 2 to 3 times more common in men than women during the second and third decade of life.
- The initial symptom is dull ache in the loins. The dull pain may increase in intensity and become severe. It may radiate to the lower abdomen, lower back, groin and thigh.
- Due to obstruction there is scanty and painful urination.
- Blood in urine or red color urine is common.
- Vomiting, nausea, fever, low intake of food and sweating.
Stones of small size less than 5 mm may pass spontaneously. Stones more than 6 mm may require some intervention, especially when the stone is obstructed or causes recurrent urinary tract infection.
How Are Kidney Stones Formed?
There are many potential causes for formation of stones in kidney. The underlying reason for any type of stone formation is excess concentration of salts and minerals in the urine. This is brought about by following factors:
- Genetic predisposition. There may be familial history of stones.
- Dehydration for a long time in people who live in hot climate and having excessive sweating. Low intake of fluids can concentrate urine. All these factors are precursors for formation of kidney stones.
- There are certain foods that promote development of renal calculi in people who are susceptible. Formation of stones is increased when these people eat excess amount of calcium, calcium oxalate, uric acid etc containing food in their diet. Spinach, dairy products, chocolate, nuts, tomato, strawberries, tea, coffee, excess intake of meat etc can increase the risk of kidney stone in such persons.
- Sedentary lifestyle further aggravates the condition.
- Excess intake of supplement medicines containing vitamin C and vitamin D, antacids, diuretic etc.
- Certain diseases such as hyperparathyroidism, granulomatous disease, sarcoidosis, renal tubular acidosis etc.
Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Kidney Stones
When the size of stone is small, natural methods, and alternative treatment may help to ease its passage. If the stone is large or if it is stuck or there are multiple stones, surgical intervention may be needed. Even after passage of stone or its surgical removal, patient may have to prevent its recurrence. Below are some important treatment and preventive measures:
- Most vital modification is to drink adequate fluids throughout the day to produce 2 liters of urine daily.
- Salt intake should be reduced.
- Among fluids avoid grapefruit juice, beer, and alcoholic drinks. Beer contains high amount of purine which promotes stone formation.
- Diet high in fiber and potassium is helpful.
- Kidney beans are effective remedy for kidney stones and other kidney problems. Prepare a concoction of kidney beans and drink it two to three times in a day.
- Extract juice from basil leaves and add honey to the juice. Drink half or one fourth glass of juice two times in a day.
- Eat celery; it is an effective cure for kidney stones.
- Avoid eating too much of protein in your diet.
- The seeds of sour and sweet pomegranate are useful to dissolve gravel in kidney. Take a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds and make a fine paste. Take it with a cupful of horse gram soup.
- Homeopathic medicines are beneficial to dissolve the stones.