Kidney Stones

Table of Content

Kidney stones, or renal calculi, are solid masses made up of minerals. Kidney stones, as the name suggests appear in your kidneys. However, they can develop anywhere along your urinary tract. There are several kidney stones causes but before we discuss that, here are the parts where your Urinary Tracts are made up of:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters
  • Bladder
  • Urethra

Kidney stones are one of the most painful medical conditions. There are several types of kidney stones.

Types of Kidney Stones

Not all kidney stones are made up of the same type of crystal. The different types of kidney stones include:

  • Calcium

Calcium stones are one of the kidney stones types, they’re primarily made up of calcium oxalate. They can also contain calcium phosphate or maleate. To avoid the formation of calcium kidney stones, you need to reduce the amount of high-oxalate food items.  If you are unaware as to what kind of food items are high calcium-rich oxalate foods, then here’s some example:

  • Potato chips
  • Peanuts
  • Chocolate
  • Beets
  • Spinach

This doesn’t mean you should reduce calcium intake in your diet. While kidney stones are formed with calcium, a healthy diet of calcium can easily prevent the stones from forming. 

  • Uric Acid

These types of kidney stones are more common in men than in women. Uric acid kidney stones can also happen to people suffering from gout or those going through chemotherapy. These stones develop when urine is too acidic. 

There can be many reasons why urine is too acidic, but the primary reason for this condition is a diet rich in purines, which can increase urine’s acidic level. If you don’t know, then Purine is a colorless substance found in animal proteins such as fish, shellfish, and meats.

  • Struvite

These Kidney stones types are more often found in women with Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). These stones can be incredibly large in size and can cause urinary obstruction. They result from a kidney infection, treating an underlying infection can prevent the development of struvite stones.

  • Cystine

Cystine stones are the rarest types of kidney stones. They can happen to both men and women who are suffering from the genetic disorder cystinuria. With this kidney stone types, cysteine an acid that builds naturally into the body. The acid leaks into the urine and forms up kidney stones.

Primary Factors for Kidney Stones

There are a lot of kidney stones causes but one of the biggest risk factors is making less than 1 liter of urine per day. This is why kidney stones problems are found in premature infants who have kidney problems. However, kidney stones are more likely to happen between the ages of 20 and 50. A lot of kidney stones patients wonder what causes kidney stones, the answers change on your kidney stones types.

Different factors can either increase or decrease your risk of developing kidney stones. If we’re talking about western countries, most specifically the USA, white people are more than likely to develop kidney stones than black people.  

Gender also works as a factor for kidney stones. More men than women develop kidney stones problems, according to “National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

If your family has a history of kidney stones can increase your risk of developing the stones in your lifetime. There are countless kidney stones causes, and other lesser-known kidney stones factors include:

  • Dehydration
  • Obesity
  • A diet with high levels of protein, salt, or glucose.
  • Hyperparathyroid condition 
  • Glastic bypass surgery
  • Inflammation bowel diseases can also cause kidney stones
  • Taking medication such as triamterene diuretics, antiseizure drugs, and calcium based antacids. 

Common Symptoms of Kidney Stones

If you have ever suffered from kidney stones or seen a loved one go through it, then you must know that Kidney stones can cause severe pain. Most people won’t even experience any pain or any kind of symptoms until the stones start to move down the ureters. This severe pain is called renal colic, you may have pain on one side of your back or abdomen. It is one of the primary symptoms of kidney stones.

In men, pain may go to the groin area you can consider this as another symptoms of kidney stones. The pain of renal colic comes and goes at the time, but can be intense. People who suffer renal colic tend to be restless, other symptoms of kidney stones can include:

  • Blood in the urine (red, pink, or brown urine)
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Discolored or bad-smelling urine. 
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Frequent need to urine
  • Peeing very small amounts of urine

If your kidney stones are very small in size, you may not even feel any pain or discomfort. Small kidney stones tend to pass through the urinary tract without you feeling any pain. Hopefully after reading this, you’ll be able to figure out the kidney stones symptoms.

Why Kidney Stones Can Be A Huge Problems?

Opposite to their name, Kidney stones can travel to other parts of the body and cause more problems. Sometimes kidney stones pass from the kidney to the ureters. Ureters are small and delicate and if your stones are large in size then they may cause trouble in passing through the ureter to the bladder. Which can cause for a troublesome kidney stones treatment.

Passage of stones down the ureter can cause spasms and irritation of the ureters. This can cause blood to appear in the urine. Blood in the urine is one of the most primary symptoms of kidney stones. 

At times, Kidney stones can also block the flow of urine. This is called a urinary obstruction, and the blockage of the Urinary tract can lead to kidney infection and kidney damage. 

Diagnoses for Kidney Stones

If you’re going for a kidney stone diagnosis then you will go through a complete health history assessment and a physical exam. If you’re wondering what are the first signs of kidney stones, you’ll have to go through a series of exams. Other tests include:

  • Blood tests for calcium, phosphorus, uric acid, and electrolytes. 
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine to assess kidney functioning.
  • Urinalysis to check for crystals, bacteria, blood, and white cells. 
  • Examination of passed stones to determine their type. 

Here are few tests that can rule out certain obstructions:

  • Abdominal X-rays
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
  • Ultrasound of the kidney (the preferred test)
  • MRI scan of the abdomen and kidneys
  • Abdominal CT scan

The contrast dye used in the CT scan and the IVP can also affect kidney functions. However, in people with normal kidney function, this isn’t a concern. 

Some medications can increase the chances of kidney damage in accordance with the Dye. Make sure you tell your radiologists about any and all medications you are taking. 

What Are the Treatment For Kidney Stones

Treatment for Kidney Stones is tailored to each patient based on the type of stone they have. Urine can be strained and stones can be collected for evaluation. Drinking six to eight glasses of water every day can increase the flow of urine, this is considered as the simplest kidney stones treatment.  People suffering from dehydration or nausea and vomiting may need fluid intake from drips. Other treatments for Kidney stones include: 

  • Medication

The pain of kidney stones can be unbearable at times, so some narcotics medicines can be used for kidney stone pain relief. Other medications may include:

  • Allopurinol for uric acid stones. 
  • Thiazide Diuretics for preventing calcium stones from forming. 
  • Sodium bicarbonate or sodium citrate to make the urine less acidic. 
  • Phosphorus solution to stop the formation of calcium stones. 
  • Ibuprofen (Advil) for reducing pain. 
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.
  • Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) for pain. 
  • Lithotripsy

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy uses sound waves to break down the large kidney stones. Once the stones are reduced in size, they can easily pass down the ureters into your bladders. This procedure can be uncomfortable and may require light anesthesia. It can cause light bruising on the abdomen and back and bleeding around the kidney and nearby organs. It is another commonly used kidney stones treatment.

  • Tunnel Surgery (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy)

Another treatment for kidney stones includes surgery. A surgeon removes the stones by making a small incision in your back. You may require this procedure when:

  • The stone causes obstruction and infection or damaging the kidneys.
  • Stones have grown too big to pass by themselves through the urinary tract. 
  • If the pain is unbearable. 
  • Ureteroscopy

If your stones are stuck in the ureter or bladder, your doctors may use a piece of equipment called an “ureteroscope” to remove it. If you’re wondering how to treat kidney stones using Ureteroscopy, then read ahead.

Ureteroscope is made up of a small wire with a camera attached to one end and it is inserted into the urethra and passed into the bladder. The doctor then uses a small cage to snag the stones and remove them. The stone is then sent to the labs for complete analysis.

How to Prevent Kidney Stones

Proper hydration is a key preventive measure, physicians recommend drinking enough water to pass about 2.6 quarts of urine every single day. An increased amount of urine passed each day can help you flush out your kidneys completely. You need to learn how to prevent kidney stones if you’ve suffered from the stones in past or if your family has a history of Kidney stones.

You can substitute all kinds of fluids you drink in a day with water to increase the amount of water you drink. If the stones are related to low citrate levels, then citrate juices could help you prevent the formation of stones. You should learn how to get rid of kidney stones.

Eating oxalate-rich foods in moderation and reducing your intake of salt and animal proteins can also reduce the risk of kidney stones. Your doctor may prescribe your medication to help the prevention of the formation of calcium and uric acid stones. You can search for methods on how to pass kidney stones fast or how to get rid of Kidney stones. However, the best course of action, if you are suffering from kidney stones is to speak with your doctor and discuss the best methods of prevention.

Home Remedies for Kidney Stones

Everyone who suffers from kidney stones is asked to drink plenty of fluids for passing Kidney stones through their system. Drinking enough water can even help from preventing new stones from forming. The liquids flush out toxins, and it also helps move kidney stones through your kidney stones. If you don’t know what foods cause kidney stones, then you should consult a healthcare professional.  

While water alone may be enough to do the trick, adding certain ingredients can be incredibly helpful. You need to make sure that you drink at least an 8-ounce glass of water immediately after drinking any flavored medication. Ingesting enough water can help in circulating the items throughout your system. 

Another thing you should do is talk to your doctor before trying out any of the home remedies by yourself. Your physicians can clearly assess whether or not home remedies for kidney stones is right for you or not. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding then you should avoid following any of these home remedies that can help you learn how to pass kidney stones fast. Here’s how to prevent kidney stones using home remedies.

Water

As we discussed above, increasing your daily intake of water can help speed up the process of passing kidney stones through the urinary tract. Liquid flushes out toxins and it also helps in moving stones and other small particles through your tract. 

If you’re looking to pass the stones, then you should increase your water intake to 12 glasses instead of your usual 8. Dehydration is one of the greatest risk factors for kidney stones, to reduce the risk you need to drink more water. 

 You should also pay attention to the color of your urine. The ideal color of urine should be very light, pale & yellow. Dark yellow is a sign of dehydration.

Lemon Juice

You can also add freshly squeezed lemons to your water as often as you like. Lemons contain citrate which is an essential chemical to prevent the formation of calcium kidney stones. Citrate can also break up small stones, allowing stones patients to pass more easily. 

You would need a lot of lemons to make a difference, but a small quantity can help just a little bit. Apart from stopping calcium stones to form, lemon juice has countless other health benefits. One of the most notable health benefits of lemon juice is that it helps in stopping bacterial growth and provides vitamin C.

Basil Juice

Basil has several benefits but what more people don’t know is that it can act as a home remedy for kidney stones. Basil contains acetic acid that assists in breaking down kidney stones and reducing pain. It is full of nutrients, and drinking Basil juice has been known to provide relief for digestive and inflammatory disorders. 

Basil juice contains anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. It also helps in maintaining kidney health. You can either use fresh or dried basil leaves to make tea. Drink several cups per day for reducing pain and breaking down kidney stones. If you don’t like tea, then you can add fresh basil leaves in a juicer or add it to a smoothie. 

Make sure not to overdo the use of Basil juice. Ask your doctor for how long you should drink the Basil juice. Extended use of Basil juice may lead to:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased bleeding
Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar also acetic acid, as we told you before acetic acid helps in dissolving kidney stones. Apple Cider Vinegar helps flush out Kidneys and can help ease pain caused by the stones. According to a lab, the study found that Apple Cider Vinegar is effective in reducing the formation of kidney stones, but the results are inconclusive. 

To get complete benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, add 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to 6-8 ounces of purified water. You need to drink this mixture all throughout the day. You shouldn’t consume more than one 8-ounce glass of this mixture per day. If along with kidney stones, you’re also suffering from diabetes then you should exercise caution when drinking this mixture. You will need to monitor your blood sugar throughout the day. 

If you’re taking any of the below mentioned, don’t drink the mixture:

  • Insulin 
  • Digoxin (Digoxin)
  • Diuretics, such as spironolactone (Aldactone)
Celery Juice 

Celery Juice is well known to flush away toxins that contribute to forming kidney stones. Celery juice also helps flush out the body so you can pass the stones through your urinary tract. 

Mix one or more celery stalks with water, drink the juice throughout the day. You shouldn’t drink this mixture if you’re also suffering with:

  • Any bleeding disorder
  • Low blood pressure
  • A scheduled surgery

If you’re taking any of the below-mentioned medicines then don’t drink the mixture:

  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid)
  • Lithium (Lithane) 
  • Medications that increase sun sensitivity, such as isotretinoin (Sortret)
  • Sedative medications such as Xanax.

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Most of us are unaware about what are the first signs of kidney stones. Kidney stones are stones formed with leftover salt and minerals in the body. They form inside the Kidney and can travel from part of the kidney to the Urinary tract. 

Kidney stones are extremely painful and most stones tend to pass on their own without any treatment. Some kidney stones are bigger than others and you may need a procedure to break up or remove kidney stones that pass. Here are some main symptoms of kidney stones that should be an indication that you need to visit a doctor.

  • Pain In Back, Belly, or Sides

Kidney stone pain which is called renal colic is one of the most severe types of pain that a person can go through. The pain is intense enough that it sends millions of people to emergency rooms each year. 

Pain often comes and goes in waves, which is made worse by the ureters contracting as they try to push the stones out of your body. Each wave of pain for a few minutes, disappear and then comes the next wave. Almost all types of kidney stones exhibit the same types of symptoms and signs.

If you have kidney stones, then you’ll feel the pain along your side and back, just below your ribs. It may move along to your belly and groin area as the stones move down your urinary tract. If your stones are large then you will feel more severe pain but in most cases, the size of the stone doesn’t matter. A little stone can be extremely painful as it moves or causes a blockage of any kind. 

  • Pain or Burning During Urination

Once the stone reaches the intersection of your ureter and bladder, you’ll feel pain every single time you urinate. Your doctor may give this a medical term and call it dysuria. The pain can be sharp and it can burn if you don’t have kidney stones and you might mistake it for a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection. There can be situations where you might have an infection along with the stone. 

  • Urgent Need to Pee

Needing to go to the bathroom more urgently or more frequently can be another alarming sign that your stones have left your kidneys and found a new home. You may find yourself going to the bathroom, or needing to go throughout the night. 

  • Blood In Urine

Blood in the urine is open of the most common symptom with urinary tract stones. The medical term for blood in urine is also called hematuria. The color of your urine can be red, pink, or brown. If you experience this situation then you should go for a checkup with your physician. 

  • Cloudy or Smelly Urine

Healthy urine is clear and doesn’t smells, if your urine smells or is cloudy then this could be a sign of an infection in your kidneys or any other part of your urinary tract. According to a study, about 8 percent of people with acute kidney stones had a urinary tract infection. 

Cloudiness is a sign of pus in the urine. Smelly urine can happen due to bacteria that also causes urinary tract infections. Acidic urine can also smell at times.

Can Ayurveda Treat Kidney Stones?

Most people believe in western medicine but Ayurvedic medicine tend to offer great solutions. Ayurveda has been in practice globally for more than 1500 years. There are some ayurvedic solutions that can help you reduce, heal or break down kidney stones.

The one sure shot Ayurvedic treatment for kidney stones we found was a company based in India, named as “SureShot Ayurveda”. They offer full solution for a variety of physical ailments that help in healing people.