What is kidney stones?
Kidney stones, medically termed renal calculi, are accumulations of mineral salts that can lodge anywhere along the course of the urinary tract, and they can be one of the most painful of all health ailments. Human urine is often saturated to the limit with uric acid, phosphates, and calcium oxalate. Normally, due to the secretion of various protective compounds and natural mechanisms that control the pH of urine, these substances remain suspended in solution. However, if the protective compounds are overwhelmed or immunity becomes depressed, the substances may crystallize and the crystals may begin to clump together, eventually forming stones large enough to restrict urinary flow. These stones can be jagged or smooth. Stones can range in size from microscopic specks to the size of a fingertip. There are four kinds of kidney stones: calcium stones (composed of calcium oxalate); uric acid stones; struvite stones (composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate); and cystine stones.
About 80 percent of all stones are calcium oxalate stones. High blood calcium levels lead to hypercalciuria-excessive absorption of calcium from the intestine-which increases the level of calcium in the urine. This excess calcium eventually forms a stone. High blood calcium levels can also result from malfunctioning parathyroid glands (tiny glands in the neck that regulate blood calcium levels), vitamin D intoxication, and multiple myeloma. The consumption of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, can help precipitate kidney stones as well, because the sugar stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn causes extra calcium to be excreted in the urine. Mild chronic or recurrent dehydration can also be a factor in kidney stones; it concentrates the urine, increasing the likelihood of stone formation.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones form when the salts and minerals that are normally found in the urine become out of balance. Different kinds of kidney stones are formed from salts in the urine.
Uric acid stones
Uric acid stones form when the volume of urine excreted is too low and/ or blood levels of uric acid are abnormally high. The latter condition is commonly associated with symptoms of gout. Unlike other types of kidney stones, struvite stones are unrelated to metabolism; these stones are caused by infection. Women often get them with recurrent urinary tract infections. Cystine stones are caused by a condition called cystinuria, a rare congenital defect that can cause stones composed of the amino acid cystine to form in the kidney or bladder.
Struvite stones (infection stones)
These are caused by too much ammonia in the urine. Ammonia is a chemical produced by the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. This kind of stone is most often found in women.
Calcium stones often run in families because the tendency to absorb too much calcium is hereditary. Also, in people with a family history of kidney stones, there seems to be a stronger than normal correlation between the intake of either vitamin C or oxalic acid and the urinary excretion of oxalate. Apparently, such individuals either absorb more oxalate from their diets or metabolize greater amounts of oxalate precursors. People who have Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, or who eat diets high in oxalic acid, may have an increased risk of kidney stones as well, as these factors can cause the excretion of oxalate in the urine to increase. Other risk factors for kidney stones include low urine volume, low bodily pH, heredity, living in a tropical climate, and reduced production of natural urinary inhibitors of crystal formation.
These are caused by a hereditary disorder called cystinuria, which affects about one per cent of men and women.
Who gets kidney stones?
- Having only one kidney.
- A family history of kidney stones.
- Eating a diet high in protein but very low in fibre.
- Becoming dehydrated by not drinking enough fluids or living or working in a hot place.
kidney Stones Symptoms
Symptoms of kidney stones include pain radiating from the upper back to the lower abdomen and groin, profuse sweating, frequent urination, pus and blood in the urine, odorous or cloudy urine, absence of urine formation, and sometimes chills and fever. This can be one of the most painful of all health disorders. In milder cases, the symptoms may mimic a bad case of stomach flu or other gastrointestinal ailment.
Natural home remedies for the treatment of kidney stones
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera juice, taken at levels that do not produce a laxative effect, can be useful in preventing stone formation and in reducing the size of a stone during an acute attack.
2. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root tea daily helps to cleanse the kidneys and to expel kidney stones. Drink 1 quart daily. Helps to cure kidney stones
3. Lobelia Tincture
A combination of lobelia tincture (3 to 4 drops) and wild yam tincture (15 drops) in a glass of warm water helps to relax the ureters, relieve pain, and hasten the passing of stones. Sip this mixture throughout the day.
For pain relief, drink the juice of half a fresh lemon in 8 ounces of water every half-hour until the pain subsides. You can alternate between lemon juice and fresh apple juice.
5. Vitamin A
Increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial to the urinary tract and helps to discourage the formation of stones. Good sources of vitamin A include alfalfa, apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and squash.
- Use only distilled water for drinking and cooking. Add trace mineral drops to your drinking water.
- Reduce your intake of potassium and phosphates. Do not use any salt or potassium chloride, a salt substitute, and avoid carbonated soft drinks.
- To help prevent any type of stone, fluid intake should be two to three litres per day – water is best.
- Minimize your consumption of animal protein, or eliminate it from your diet altogether. A diet high in animal protein causes the body to excrete calcium, producing excessive amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and uric acid in the kidneys and often resulting in painful kidney stones.
- Avoid all refined sugar and products that contains Sugar stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn causes extra calcium to be excreted in the urine.