Kidney stones, though usually very small, can cause excruciating pain! It’s unclear exactly what causes them but they do tend to run in families. One thing known is that they are formed by crystallization of minerals, such as calcium oxalate.
Most people who experience kidney stones, have their first bout in their 30s or 40s, and men are four times more likely to develop them than women. It is thought that female hormones help to prevent kidney stones from forming. Those who experience kidney stones have an 80% chance of developing more stones in the 15 years after their first kidney stone.
Kidney stone sufferers have 3 alternatives when dealing with stones:
- Waiting for the stone to pass
- Ureteroscopy surgery
- Lithotripsy – a procedure using shock waves to destroy stones that are smaller than 1 centimeter
Common symptoms of kidney stones include:
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blood in urine
• Sharp pines in your back and side
• Unable to get comfortable
• Urge to urinate frequently
• Fever and chills
• Painful urination
Kidney Stone Prevention
There’s not a lot you can do to treat kidney stones, but if you’ve had them in the past, take these steps to decrease your chances of developing more kidney stones.
1. Increase your fluid intake.
To drastically lower your chance of developing kidney stones, drink 12 8-oz. glasses of water, juice, soda, tea, or coffee each day. Water and juice, especially cranberry juice, are the best choices, but any of these sources of liquids can help. However, caffeine can cause problems in people who have high urinary oxalate. Too much calcium can cause the formation of stones in certain individuals, so milk is not a suitable choice of beverage.
2. Limit your use of calcium based antacids.
Antacids that contain calcium can lead to the forming of calcium oxalate and form kidney stones if taken on a regular basis.
3. Increase your Vitamin A intake.
Vitamin A is necessary for a healthy urinary tract. The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin A is 5000 international units. Foods rich in Vitamin A include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
4. Take a Vitamin B6 supplement.
Vitamin B6 has been found to the lower the amount of oxalate in the blood and lower the risk of forming kidney stones.
5. Cut back on Vitamin C.
Excess Vitamin C is converted into oxalate, and therefore, those prone to kidney stones should avoid taking Vitamin C supplements.
Regular exercise moves calcium from the blood stream to the bones, where it’s needed.
7. Cut back on red meat.
Kidney stones are often found in those who have diets high in animal fat.
8. Watch your sodium intake.
Salt increases calcium in the urine, which leads to the formation of kidney stones. Choose foods low in sodium and avoid adding extra salt. Use a salt substitute instead.
9. Increase magnesium.
Magnesium discourages the formation of kidney stones. Take a 400-500 mg. magnesium supplement daily, or eat foods rich in magnesium, including:
- Black beans
- Whole wheat bread
10. Drink lemon water.
Juice 1 lemon in a glass of water and drink daily to acidify urine and decrease your chances of developing kidney stones.
11. Avoid oxalate-rich foods and beverages.
Avoid food and drinks high in oxalates, including:
- Citrus Fruits
Alternative Herbal Treatments
The following herbs have been found helpful as home remedies for kidney stones:
Drink and infusion of chervil leaves and flowers to help cleanse the urine.
• Goldenrod Tea
Drink goldenrod tea, which has a diuretic effect that helps to eliminate kidney stones.
• Marsh mallow
Marsh mallow is said to ease the passage of kidney stones, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Make an infusion using the leaves of Uva-ursi and drink ½ cup, up to 6 times per day. This treatment is not recommended for pregnant women.
Your best bet with kidney stones is to avoid getting them at all. If you’ve suffered before, or in a high risk group due to a family history of kidney stones, try the preventative measures to hopefully avoid developing kidney stones. If you should develop a stone, the alternative herbal treatments may help with the pain. Also, an anti-inflammatory/ pain reliever such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help to each pain.
If the pain is severe and the stone doesn’t pass on its own within a reasonable amount of time, a trip to the doctor may be necessary.
Have you tried any home remedies for kidney stones? Did they work? Let us know below
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