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Kidney stone (Renal Calculi): Surprising Remedies for Kidney Stones to the Curb

What is a Kidney Stone?

Renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, and urolithiasis are other names for kidney stones, which are hard deposits of minerals and salts that develop inside your kidneys. A common but painful ailment that affects millions of people worldwide (Globally 12%) is kidney stones. Typically observed in adults in the 45–60 age range. We’ll delve into the complexities of kidney stones in this extensive guide, looking at their causes, symptoms, prevention, and practical management techniques.

A large number of dissolved salts and minerals can be found in urine. Kidney stones develop when the quantity of these minerals and salts rises. While some stones pass through the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and bladder, and into the bladder where they are expelled from the body through urine, others remain in the kidney and do not produce any symptoms.

The lower back, groin, or abdomen may hurt if the stone gets stuck in the ureter, which can stop the kidney’s urine flow. Urine that smells bad, blood in the pee, nausea, vomiting, and frequent urination are possible additional symptoms.

Causes Of Kidney Stones

Minerals including calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus build up in the urine and can result in kidney stones. Kidney stones may develop in the body as a result of the following factors:

  • Dehydration
  • Obesity
  • Diet (high in oxalate or uric acid)
  • Eating an excess of salt or sugar
  • Lack of exercise
  • High-concentrated urine
  • Imbalance of pH in urine
  • Regular constipation
  • Genetic disorders

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

The size of kidney stones varies. Larger stones can cause excruciating discomfort in the back and sides, while smaller stones are less likely to become lodged in the kidneys or other urinary tract organs. This sensation frequently spreads to the groin or lower abdomen. The pain might be rather sudden and may continue for a short while, a long time, or come and go.

Symptoms :

  • Hematuria, or the presence of pink, red, or brown blood in the urine Pain during urination
  • Cloudy or bad-smelling urine
  • A constant need to urinate
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • For men, pain at the tip of the penis
  • Unresolved stomach aching or vague discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Types Of Kidney Stones:

Stones made of calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate:

Of all urinary calculi, calcium stones make up around 80% of kidney stones. Brushite, also known as hydroxyapatite or calcium hydrogen phosphate, is the primary component of calcium stones. The majority of these stones may consist of calcium phosphate (CaP, also known as apatite) (5%), pure calcium oxalate (CaOx) (50%), or a combination of the two (45%).

Magnesium ammonium phosphate or struvite stones:

Infection or triple phosphate stones are terms used to describe struvite stones. They develop in alkaline urine and are made of magnesium ammonium phosphate. Patients with persistent urinary tract infections experience them.

Uric acid stones:

Purine-rich diets, particularly those that include animal proteins like meat and fish, raise the risk of uric acid stones by causing high urine acid levels, low urine volume, and low urinary pH.

Cystine stones:

Around the world, kidney stones caused by cysts affect 1 in 7,000 persons. It is a hereditary condition that causes cystine to either leak into the urine or be poorly absorbed.

Drug-induced stones:

These stones are brought on by medications including guaifenesin, triamterene, atazanavir, and sulfa medications. These medications may cause calculi to form by interfering with the metabolism of purines or calcium oxalate.

Causes and Risk Factors:

Understanding the factors contributing to kidney stone formation is crucial for prevention. Key contributors include:

  • Dehydration: Concentrated urine may be the result of inadequate fluid intake.
  • Dietary Choices: High intake of oxalate-rich foods, sodium, and animal proteins.
  • Family History: Genetic predisposition increases the likelihood.
  • Medical Conditions: Certain diseases, like obesity and digestive disorders, can raise the risk.

Recognizing Symptoms:

Detecting kidney stones early is vital for prompt treatment. Common symptoms include:

  • Intense Pain: Sharp pain in the back or side.
  • Frequent Urination: Urgency and discomfort during urination.
  • Hematuria: Blood in the urine.
  • Cloudy or Foul-Smelling Urine: Indicates a potential infection.

 Specialist To Visit:

  • General Physician
  • Nephrologist
  • Urologist
  • A nephrologist specializes in kidney diseases and their functions.
  • A urologist specializes in urinary tract disease.

Diagnosing Kidney Stones:

If you suspect kidney stones, seeking medical attention is crucial. Diagnosis often involves:

  • Imaging Tests: X-rays or CT scans to visualize stones.
  • Urine Tests: Analyzing urine for minerals that may form stones.
  • Blood Tests: Identifying abnormal levels of substances linked to kidney stones.

Prevention Of Kidney Stones:

  • Drink enough fluids

Drinking more water and other fluids is the easiest and most effective way to modify your lifestyle and prevent stones. It is recommended to restrict alcohol and sugary drinks and to consume largely zero-calorie or low-calorie beverages.

  • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet

Limiting salt consumption (≤ 50 mmol/day of sodium chloride) is advised. By decreasing calcium reabsorption in the kidneys and raising calcium levels in the urine, a high-sodium diet increases the risk of kidney stones.

  • Consume the required quantity of calcium.

Unless instructed otherwise, dairy products and other foods high in calcium should be avoided by people who have calcium stones. Decreased calcium consumption may also result in higher intestinal oxalate absorption, which raises the risk of stone formation. Therefore, it is advisable to consume the appropriate amount of calcium through food or supplementation.

  • Consume a lot of fruits and veggies.

Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, take supplementary citrate, or drink alkaline mineral waters to alkalize the urine and avoid the production of calcium oxalate, cystine, and uric acid stones. It may be possible to avoid the formation of stones by consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium, fiber, magnesium, antioxidants, phytate, and citrate.

  • Reduce your meat intake.

Limiting the intake of animal proteins (≤ 52 g/day) is also advised, as their high sulfur-containing amino acid concentration contributes to an elevated acid load. Therefore, it is advised to consume less meat, fish, and poultry if you have acidic urine.

  • Increase your intake of magnesium

One essential mineral that aids in preventing the development of kidney stones caused by calcium oxalate is magnesium. For magnesium, the recommended daily intake (RDI) is 420 mg. A diet rich in beans, avocados, tofu, and bananas can increase the amount of magnesium consumption.

  • Seeking Professional Guidance

If you have a history of kidney stones or experience persistent symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is paramount. They can provide personalized advice, conduct necessary tests, and recommend tailored preventive measures.

Treatment Of Kidney Stones:

Small kidney stones

Usually, these stones leave the body naturally without the need for extensive care. Drinking enough water—four to five liters each day—may aid in the stone’s removal from the urine. Various drugs that may be administered to aid in the clearance of these stones include

Large kidney stones

If the kidney stones are too big, they are not to be passed naturally, they’re usually removed by surgery.

  • Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL): This is the only non-invasive method for stone removal. In SWL, the location of a kidney stone is determined using ultrasonography (high-frequency sound waves), which also fragments the stone into tiny pieces. Multiple sessions are necessary for kidney stones to be successfully treated with SWL. Ureteroscopy (URS): This technique is used to treat ureteric stones, particularly those in the lower portion of the ureter that are closest to the bladder.
  • Ureteroscopy (URS): This technique is used to treat ureteric stones, particularly those in the lower portion of the ureter that are closest to the bladder.  The procedure entails inserting a long, thin telescope called a ureteroscope via the urethra, the channel that urine travels through to exit the body and enter your bladder. For the treatment of small to medium-sized kidney stones situated anywhere along the urinary tract, URS is the recommended approach.
  • The most common reason for using percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is when kidney stones are too big, too many, or too dense to be treated using ureteroscopy or shock wave lithotripsy. For renal stones larger than 2 cm, PCNL is regarded as the first-choice treatment.

Alternate Treatment for Kidney Stones 

Ayurveda Treatment:
  1. Asparagus (Shatavari): This plant’s leaves help remove stones from the urinary tract and prevent calcium oxalate stones from forming.
  2. The roots of Crataeva nurvala (Varuna) are the component of the plant that is used. Its pharmacological characteristics include lithotriptic, diuretic, and lubricating effects.
  3. Tribulus Terrestris: also known as gokshura: Urinary tract ailments are frequently treated with this herb in India.
  1. Hogweed (Punarnava): Kidney stones can be helped to pass by using this Indian weed.
  1. Hibiscus (Gudhal): The excretion of uric acid and the removal of kidney stones via urine are both markedly increased by consuming a cup of tea prepared from this herb.
  1. Indian nightshade (Kantakari): Also referred to as the yellow-berried nightshade plant, this edible medicinal plant is widely utilized in India. Kidney stones are among the many disorders of the kidneys that are treated using this herb.
  1. Horse gram (Kulthi): A native of India, this plant has both nutritional and therapeutic value. Soup made from its seeds is used to prevent calcium oxalate stones from forming and recurring.
  1. Indian madder (Manjistha): A naturally occurring food coloring, this flowering plant belongs to the coffee family. Kidney stones can be prevented with the use of manjistha roots. They function by lowering the kidneys’ calcium and oxalate levels and preventing the formation of urinary stones.
Home care For Kidney Stones

Here are a few home remedies that can help in managing kidney stones:

  • Lemon juice: Citrate, a substance found in lemons, inhibits the formation of calcium stones. Small stones can also be broken up by citrate, making them easier to pass. A daily half-cup of lemon juice consumption will raise the amount of citrate in the urine.
  • Water consumption: Consuming water facilitates a stone’s passage more quickly. If you are attempting to pass a kidney stone, you should consume 12 glasses or more of water.
  • Green tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants and possesses a protective effect against the development of calcium stones in the kidneys.
  • Kidney beansHigh levels of fiber in kidney beans and broth from cooked kidney beans help improve overall urinary and kidney health. It also helps dissolve and flush out kidney stones.
  • Celery: It helps remove toxins from the body and has antispasmodic (suppresses muscular spasms) qualities.
  • Dandelion: Organic dandelion roots promote healthy kidney function and renal cleansing. Both dandelion tea and 500 mg of dried dandelion extract may help reduce symptoms and stop kidney stones from forming.
  • Wheatgrass: Packed full of many essential elements. Kidney stones can be effectively dissolved with a glass of wheatgrass juice infused with lemon essence.
  • Pomegranate juice: This juice is a natural detoxifier that aids in clearing contaminants that cause kidney stones. Aim to drink unsweetened fresh pomegranate juice every day.
  • Raspberry: This fruit is capable of expelling stones from the urinary tract. Raspberry’s preventive impact on the development of kidney stones caused by calcium oxalate has been documented.
  • Fenugreek seeds: It has been usually seen that fenugreek seeds significantly reduce calcification in the kidneys and help prevent kidney stones.
  • black cumin seed: This herb greatly inhibits the development of calcium oxalate stones.
  • Radish: Roots of radish plants are highly effective in breaking kidney stones.
  • Tamarind pulp: Tamarind has shown an A beneficial effect in inhibiting spontaneous crystallization during the formation of kidney stones.
  • Baking soda: It aids in keeping the body’s environment alkaline. An acidic environment enhances the stones while baking soda helps dissolve them. Combine half a teaspoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, then drink the mixture twice daily.

 

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Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding kidney stones empowers individuals to make informed lifestyle choices that mitigate the risk of their formation. By adopting a proactive approach through hydration, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise, one can significantly reduce the likelihood of experiencing the discomfort associated with kidney stones. Remember, early detection and preventive measures are key to kidney stone management and overall urinary tract health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Kidney Stones

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys when certain substances in the urine crystallize. They can vary in size and cause pain as they pass through the urinary tract.

What causes kidney stones?

Various factors contribute to kidney stone formation, including dehydration, dietary choices (high oxalate, sodium, or animal proteins), genetics, and certain medical conditions.

Are there different types of kidney stones?

Yes, common types include calcium oxalate stones, uric acid stones, struvite stones, and cystine stones. Each type has distinct characteristics and may require specific preventive measures.

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Symptoms include intense back or side pain, frequent urination with discomfort, hematuria (blood in urine), and cloudy or foul-smelling urine.

How are kidney stones diagnosed?

Diagnosis often involves imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans, urine tests to analyze stone-forming minerals, and blood tests to identify abnormal levels linked to kidney stones.

Can kidney stones be prevented?

Yes, prevention strategies include staying hydrated, making dietary changes (limiting oxalate-rich foods, controlling sodium and protein intake), and maintaining a balanced lifestyle with regular exercise.

What are the treatment options for kidney stones?

Treatment may include pain management with over-the-counter medications, medical expulsion therapy, lithotripsy (shock waves to break up stones), and, in severe cases, surgical intervention.

How can lifestyle modifications help prevent kidney stones?

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, limiting salt intake, and moderating calcium intake, can significantly reduce the risk of kidney stone recurrence.

When should I seek professional guidance for kidney stones?

If you have a history of kidney stones or experience persistent symptoms such as pain, frequent urination, or blood in urine, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and necessary tests.

Are there specific recommendations for managing kidney stones in the long term?

Long-term management involves ongoing lifestyle modifications, including hydration, dietary adjustments, and regular medical check-ups to monitor kidney health. Following a healthcare professional’s advice is crucial for preventing recurrent kidney stones.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys when certain substances in the urine crystallize. They can vary in size and cause pain as they pass through the urinary tract.

Notice of Disclaimer

This website’s content is provided only for educational reasons; it is not meant to replace medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. The reader should check with their physician to see if the material is appropriate for their particular circumstance, as each person has different needs.

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