“Oh Doctor! I had such a terrible pain in my back and belly a few days back, I thought I would just die! It reminded me of the labor pains I had when my son was born…in fact much more! The Doctors at the hospital told me that I have stones in both my kidneys. They want me to get them operated but I don’t want to. How can I get so…many operated? Can you help me please! Do something that they all come out without any surgery.”
Nearly one in every 20 people develop a kidney stone at some point in their life. About 300,000 people nationwide land up in an emergency due to a kidney stone getting stuck somewhere in their urinary tract, every year.
Homoeopathy is by far one of the most sought after system of medicine for the treatment of kidney stones. It can proudly boast of not only removing them non surgically with natural remedies, but also preventing their recurrence. I myself in my practice of nearly two and a half decades, have successfully treated innumerable cases. Success rate of Homoeopathy is pretty high for both, kidney as well as gall stones.
What exactly are kidney stones?
The most important function of our kidneys is to filter the metabolic waste that gets accumulated in our blood and help in the formation of urine that takes away this waste out of the body.
A kidney stone is a small hard crystalline mass of salt and minerals that forms when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing them to crystallize and stick together. The size can range from that of a sugar crystal to a ping pong ball. Calcium stones make 80% of the kidney stones in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. Others include uric acid stones, struvite/infection stones, and amino acid cysteine stones [Read more…]. Most kidney stones develop within the kidneys and travel down the urinary tract, creating various degrees of urinary obstruction as they become lodged in narrow areas in the urinary passage. Eventually they come out of the body via the urethra.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine.
Dehydration from reduced fluid intake or strenuous exercise without adequate fluid replacement increases their risk. Climate may be a risk factor too, since residents of hot and dry areas are more likely to become dehydrated and susceptible to stone formation.
Obstruction to the flow of urine can also lead to stone formation.
Urinary tract stones are more common in men than in women.
What are the symptoms?
While some stones may not produce any symptoms (silent stones), generally passing a kidney stone can be a very painful experience. Smaller stones may pass out unnoticed but when the bigger stones move through the urinary tract, they may cause intense pain if they break loose and try to enter the ureter from the kidney or from the ureter into the urinary bladder or when they try to pass down from the urinary bladder to the urethra. The pain typically waxes and wanes in severity (colicky pain) and in the medical terms is known as renal colic. Depending upon the position of the stone, you may feel this pain in your lower back below the ribs and/or side (flank), spreading down to lower belly, and/or groin. Severity of the pain is related to the degree of obstruction, spasm and presence of any associated infection.
You may also experience frequent and painful urge to urinate. The urine might get cloudy. Blood present in the urine due to corroding by the stone can also cause urine to appear brown, pink, or red. Your urine might smell differently than it normally does.
You should see a doctor if you have pain accompanied with nausea, vomiting, chills or fever as these may indicate that you have an infection. You should also seek medical help if you have:
- pain that becomes so severe that you can’t sit, stand, or lie down comfortably
- blood in your urine
- difficulty passing urine
Your doctor may rule out other causes of abdominal pain including emergencies like appendicitis and ectopic pregnancy. Painful urination is also a common symptom of a urinary tract infection or an STD.
Clock clues: If you’re uncertain whether your symptoms might be related to kidney stones, the clock may provide you with clues. Pain from kidney stones usually starts either late at night or early in the morning. This is because people generally urinate less frequently at night or in the early morning, and the ureter is usually constricted in the morning.
Kidney stones are typically detected by an X-ray called KUB. Blood and urinalysis can help look for high levels of minerals involved in forming kidney stones. Your doctor may advice an IVP, a CT or an MRI in some cases to see the level of obstruction or damage caused by the stone. An ultrasound is the choice of investigation esp in pregnant women.
Treatment options – how “small” is small enough?
Some kidney stones pass without intervention while others require medical treatment.
If the stone is smaller than 5 mm (1/5 inch), there is a 90% chance it will pass out on its own. Your doctor will recommend you drink plenty of water so that the stone gets flushed out of your body faster. After the stone passes, you need to send it for testing for further management of your treatment.
If the stone is between 5 mm – 8 mm, the odds are 20-30%. You will be prescribed medicines that help break down the stone for it to pass through the urine.
Stones larger than 9 mm – 10 mm rarely pass without specific treatment. You might need to go in for a medical procedure like Lithotripsy [ESWL]. During this therapy, high energy shock waves are passed through the skin of your abdomen to your kidney stone to crush it and pass it out through the urine. The procedure takes about an hour and no incision is made.
When the stone is large and cannot be removed through any of the above mentioned procedures, your doctor will recommend a keyhole surgery. These surgeries include Percutaneous nephrolithotomy [PNL] or a Ureteroscopy.
The recurrence rate of kidney stones within five years of an initial stone is 35-50% if you don’t take any treatment. Since a stone forms when urine cannot dilute ‘crystal forming minerals’ such as calcium, oxalate or uric acid, those who have had a kidney stone might be able to prevent another one from forming by drinking more fluids and making some dietary changes.
Increased fluid intake spread throughout the day can decrease the recurrence by a least half with virtually no side effects. The “recommended” fluid intake should be enough to produce at least two liters of urine/day.
If an increase in fluids does not reduce stone formation, one should start Homeopathic medicines for kidney stones. Homoeopathic chest is full of innumerable medicines that help by gradually dissolving the stones completely or reducing their size to the extent that they can pass out comfortably without causing an obstruction or injury. Large amounts of sand are passed in the urine with Homoeopathic tinctures and dilutions. The medicines are well equipped to take care of the excruciating pains of a stone by taking care of the spasm caused due to the pushing of the stone, blood in urine due to the corroding mass, and the infection, if present. Also, a well selected Homoeopathic constitutional remedy sets right the deranged metabolism so as to prevent the further recurrence.
Many factors help in the selection of the medicine that is just right for you apart from the symptoms you present with like – the type of stone, your past history, familial tendencies and your peculiar ‘n individualizing symptoms, if any.
Knowing the type of kidney stone helps determine its cause and hence the precautions. While most kidney stones contain calcium, eating moderate amounts of dairy products and other calcium-rich foods may lower the risk of forming new stones. But be mindful of the calcium supplements you take. Reduce foods known to increase oxalate in the urine, such as chocolate, beets, nuts, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, tea and wheat bran. Cutting down on dietary animal protein and purines (high-purine foods and drinks include beer, sugary soft drinks, fatty foods and others) tend to reduce the uric acid content in urine.
Avoid binge eating in between your meals. It’s always wiser to keep sufficient gap between two meals to digest well.
Don’t suppress the urge of urination and stool as it increases toxins in the body.
Follow the above mentioned tips and enjoy good health without kidney stones.