Ask any person what is the worst pain they ever faced in life and one out of every three would say kidney stone pain. Of course, nobody can take the credit away from mothers who endure hours of labour to bring forth a new life but the kidney stone pain doesn’t even offer any such perks. Then why endure it? Instead, change your diet and build a healthy lifestyle to nip the menace right in its bud.
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Wondering, what are kidney stones exactly? Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are crystals clustering together over a long period of time to form a shape of solid mass commonly called as stone. Though the name kidney stones suggest that they are found only in kidneys, however, kidney stones can be present anywhere in kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra.
Kidney Stone Symptoms
Let us take a short quiz. If you answer ‘Yes’ to three or more of the following questions, chances are high that you have renal calculi.
1. Do you constantly suffer from back pain, or pain in the belly, or on either side?
2. Is the pain excruciating enough to send you to the emergency room once in a while?
3. Does the pain start all of a sudden and varies in location as well as intensity?
4. Is there pain or burning sensation during urination?
5. Did you ever notice slight blood (red, pink or brown in colour) in your urine?
6. Is your urine smellier or cloudier than usual lately?
7. Do you experience bouts of nausea and vomiting?
8. Do you ever experience an emergency when you really need to urinate but when you do it is very little amount?
9. Have you experienced fevers, chills and shivering lately that may or may not be accompanied by pain in back, side or belly?
If you suspect even the slightest chance of having kidney stones, it is highly recommended you visit a good doctor. A detailed investigation can catch renal calculi right in its formation state. With adequate precautions, medicines and home remedies you can get rid of renal calculi without any invasive procedure.
[Are you confusing kidney stones with a kidney infection? Read: Kidney Infections: Causes, Symptoms And Treatments]
Types of Kidney Stones
There are four types of kidney stones each depending upon their composition.
Though rare, Cystine stones occur across all ages and gender and people with a genetic predisposition for cystinuria are more prone to formation of this type of renal calculi. Cystine acid found in kidneys leaks into the body leading to the formation of Cystine kidney stones.
This is the most common type of kidney stones formed due to a diet rich in oxalates.
3. Uric Acid:
Uric acid kidney stones are usually found in men and are formed when there is an excess of acid in urine.
Struvite kidney stones are usually found in women suffering from Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). They are formed due to infections in kidney arising out of long untreated UTI.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
Now, that you are aware of the types of kidney stones, wouldn’t you like to know what exactly leads to the formation of kidney stones? Kidney stones, depending upon their nature and type, can be formed due to a number of reasons including: inadequate intake of water (dehydration of the body), obesity leading to improper assimilation of nutrients by the body, diet rich in salt, protein or glucose, gastric bypass surgery, genetic disposition towards kidney stone formation, hyperparathyroidism, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) causing malfunctioning in calcium absorption, and due to side effects of medicines like diuretics, antiseizure drugs and antacids containing calcium.
Treatment For Kidney Stones
Depending upon the size and nature of kidney stones, they can be treated through home remedies, medication, surgery, and diet restrictions.
Symptoms like pain, nausea, discomfort and vomiting can be treated through a combination of narcotic medications (for pain relief), diuretics (to help pass the stone), phosphorous medications, sodium citrate etc.
1. Tunnel surgery, the medical term: percutaneous nephrolithotomy involves a small incision in the back from where the stone(s) causing infection or obstruction is removed.
2. Lithotripsy: Though non-invasive, this procedure can be uncomfortable and require light anaesthesia to be administered before the procedure. In Lithotripsy, sound shock waves are used to break the stone into small pieces that are excreted from the body via urine.
3. Ureteroscopy: If the stone gets struck in ureters, urethra or urinary bladder, doctors remove the stone by inserting ureteroscope through the urinary tract. Ureteroscope is an instrument used to remove the stone and is accompanied by a small camera inserted into the urinary tract.
Kidney stone home remedy:
If it is just the starting stage of stone formation, certain home remedies might help you in kidney stone removal. However, we strongly advise you to seek proper consultation from a medical practitioner in case of advanced stages of renal calculi. Some of the popular home remedies for kidney stone removal are:
‣ Drink lemon infused water throughout the day as it assists the body in flushing off excess salt and toxins.
‣ A concoction made of Tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves and apple cider vinegar can help flush small kidney stones.
‣ Juice made from wheatgrass or celery helps in kidney stone removal.
‣ Uva ursi herb helps in getting rid of kidney stone by cleaning the urinary tract to ease stone passage.
‣ Extra virgin olive oil, ideally a teaspoon every morning empty stomach, helps alleviate kidney stone problem.
‣ Pomegranate juice, tea or extracts have proven beneficial in getting rid of kidney stones.
Foods to Avoid with Kidney Stones
Prevention is better than cure. If your body gets a tendency to make kidney stones, it is advisable you start avoiding the following food items:
Oxalate rich food like beets, spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, nuts, Swiss chard, sweet potato, etc.
‣ Soda drinks
‣ Too much sugar
Just like, there are certain foods that aggravate the problem, eating basils, grapes, celery, apples, and pomegranates provide relief from kidney stones.