The presence of kidney stones can cause plenty of problems. In some cases the pain can be so severe that, according to the author Kevin Murphy, “being gut-stabbed with a dirty spoon in a prison cafeteria is less painful”! (1). It was thought that consumption of too much calcium aggravated this condition, but the evidence suggests otherwise. It’s actually the low calcium diet, which is responsible for higher stone risk.
Understanding kidney stones
Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiases, urolithiases or renal calculi, are formed from the crystals of minerals dissolved in urine and are generally found inside the kidneys or ureters. Their size can vary and some can be as big as a golf ball! Just have a look at the picture of a typical kidney stone below. Although, real miniscule ones generally leave the body through urine, larger ones can obstruct the ureter, making urine collect and cause severe pain felt in the flank, lower abdomen and groin.
Symptoms of kidney stones
You only come to know you’ve got stones when you experience pain. Symptoms generally include acute flank pain caused by renal colic, nausea and vomiting, restlessness, dull pain, hematuria, and possibly fever, in the event of infection. Acute renal colic is one of the worst types of pain a patient can suffer.
What’s surprising is the presence of a kidney stone may not cause pain to some, it’s only discovered when blood is passed in urine – the first symptom of kidney stone. If you don’t have pain and can’t see blood in urine, don’t think you can’t have a stone, routine medical test can show a miniscule amount of red blood cells in urine under a microscopic. This condition is called hematuria. (1)
Diagnosis of kidney stone
The location and severity of the pain is usually the basis of diagnosis. If the pain comes and goes in spasmodic waves, it can be a typically colic condition. X-rays, ultrasound imaging and a number of other tests can confirm the presence of the stone. Further tests are done to find out the possible cause and consequences of the stone. Ultrasound is especially effective in showing the presence of hydronephrosis, that is, swelling of the kidney and stones that don’t have enough calcium to show on x-rays.
Natural cures for kidney stone
If your kidney stone is not causing severe discomfort, you can safely go in for natural cures. These will save you from the trauma of side effects and other problems associated with over-the-counter medications. Let’s see what you can do (2):
Eat more foods fiber containing foods, vegetables and whole grains. Foods rich in magnesium, such as barley, bran, corn, buckwheat, rye, oats, brown rice, potatoes and bananas are also recommended. Reduce intake of sugar, refined foods, animal products, caffeine, alcohol, soda and salt, and foods rich in calcium, such as milk and cheese. Avoid oxalate-containing foods, like spinach, rhubarb, beets, nuts, chocolate, black tea, wheat bran, strawberries and beans.
b. Water and liquids:
Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water or liquids a day is recommended to prevent the occurrence of kidney stone. However, avoid naturally carbonated and mineral waters as their calcium content can be high.
c. Vitamin C:
Keep the daily intake of vitamin C supplementation below 2000 mg.
d. Juice therapy:
Cranberry juice has proved quite effective in curing kidney stones. This juice reduces the amount of calcium in the urine. (3)
Work the reflexes on hands and feet for kidney, bladder, diaphragm and parathyroid gland. Also work the ureter points on your feet. (3)
The occurrence of kidney stone can be a painful experience. However, if your condition is not severe, you can easily get rid of it through natural cures. Always consult your physician before you go for these cures. A hot bath may also bring relief during an attack.