By Neepa Sevak
If you have kidney stones it is important to know that even small stones can damage kidney tissue if left untreated. A kidney stone also known as renal stone or calculi is a hard mineral and crystalline material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and add them to the urine. When waste materials in the urine do not dissolve completely, kidney stones are formed.
Types of Kidney Stones
The four most common types of stones are:
- Calcium stones are the most common of all stones, and are more common in men. They occur when there is too much calcium in the urine. The calcium may combine with other substances such as oxalate, phosphate, or carbonate to form the stone. Calcium that is not used by the bones and muscles goes to the kidneys and is flushed out with the rest of the urine. The calcium that stays behind joins with other waste products to form a stone. Prolonged inactivity, metabolic disorders, certain diets or medicines increases urinary calcium.
- Uric acid stones are not as common as Calcium stones but are more common in men. It occurs in cases of severe dehydration or in people who have Gout, a disease that causes high uric acid levels in the blood.
- Cystine stones are rare and develop in persons having a genetic disorder called Cystinuria. This disease results from a birth defect that causes the kidney to increase the Cystine level in the urine. Cystine is an amino acid that makes up muscles, nerves and other parts of the body. This condition causes cystine stones that are difficult to treat and almost always diagnosed during childhood.
- Struvite stones are large sized stones mainly found in women as a result of chronic urinary tract infection when there is an interaction between protein breakdown products and infection causing bacteria in the urine.
Causes of Kidney Stones
Various conditions that can lead to kidney stones are:
- A decrease in urine volume or an excess of stone-forming substances like calcium, phosphates, and oxalates in the urine.
- Long term dehydration.
- Obstruction of the flow of urine.
- Low urine acidity.
- Foreign bodies in the urinary tract.
- Diet with excess oxalates, calcium, and vitamin abnormalities, e.g., vitamin A deficiencies, vitamin C & D excess.
- Chronic urinary tract infections.
- Metabolic diseases, e.g., hyperparathyroidism, cystinuria, gout, intestinal dysfunction, kidney diseases, etc.
- Use of certain medications, e.g., diuretics that increase levels of uric acid, calcium containing antacids, and certain drugs used to treat HIV infections, etc.
- A low physical activity lifestyle.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
- Some very small stones may be silent and asymptomatic.
- Cramping pain in the low back, groin or abdomen.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Blood in urine.
- Cloudy or foul smelling urine.
- Burning pain during urination.
- Urgency of passing urine.
- Increased urine frequency at night.
- Obstruction feeling during urination.
- Fever and chills.
Homeopathic Approach to Kidney Stones
Homeopathic remedies will give symptomatic relief to the patient, and when the stone size is small it will crush or break the stone, dissolve the stone gradually by acting on its chemical composition, will help push forward the stone in the urinary tract and further helps in easy passage of these stones, it cleanses the urinary tract, prevents inflammation and urinary infections caused by movement of existing stones and more than that prevents the reformation of renal stones. Homeopathic remedies can offer complete cure for renal stones except in Stage Horn type Renal Stones (eg.) Struvite stones, when the stone size is large or the stone is impacted, or there are multiple stones, then the patient is better treated surgically. However, even after surgical removal of stones, homoeopathy still has a role to play in preventing its recurrence, and in treating secondary infections of the urinary tract arising after injury from the moving stone. Based on the classical approach of Homeopathy a homeopathic practitioner looks at the person holistically, that is mind, body and emotion together and not just at the symptoms of the illness.
Self Care Measures
- Drink at least 12 full glasses of water a day. Water helps to flush away excess substances that form stones in the kidneys.
- Lemonade is a good source of citrate and may be recommended as an alternative to water.
- High levels of dietary calcium intake protect against rather than cause stone formation in some patients. But high calcium from non-foods like calcium supplements actually increases the risk of kidney stones.
- Avoid sugar, alcohol, antacids, excessive protein, carbonated beverages, caffeine, refined white flour products such as pasta, white bread, and baked goods, meat, salt, and foods high in phosphates and oxalates (eg. tomatoes, diary products, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, chocolate, nuts).
- A hot-water bottle or an ice pack held over the site of the pain usually offers some relief.
- Avoid high dose long term supplementation with Vitamin C & D.
- Eat a high fibre diet.
- Lose any excess weight.
- Increase Vitamin A rich foods.
- Increase exercise.
Hence, to relieve the symptoms of kidney stones and to promote urinary and renal function with the help of a safe, natural and effective treatment consider homeopathy.