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Kidney Stones: Causes, Management and Prevention

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Kidney Stones: Causes, Management and Prevention

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A kidney stone is formed due to the deposition of hard mineral substances in the kidney. This article explains kidney stones, their management, and prevention.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At June 12, 2015
Reviewed AtJanuary 11, 2024

What Is a Kidney Stone?

Kidney stones, also called renal calculi, are hard mineral deposits (calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus) formed inside the kidneys. They vary in size. It is a common condition that can affect individuals of all age groups. The majority may experience it because of their lifestyle. Small stones can pass through urine with little or no pain. But stones more than 3 mm in size can get stuck in ureters and block the flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding.

What Are the Causes of Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones can be caused due to decrease in the urine volume or an increased amount of stone-forming substances in the urine. The stone-forming substance may include calcium, oxalate, cystine, urate, struvite, and phosphate. Reduced intake of fluids can lead to a reduction in urine volume.

The other reasons for kidney stones may include:

  • Colas: Beverages rich in fructose and phosphates can cause kidney stones.

  • Oxalates: Oxalates are found in several foods, like healthy spinach and sweet potatoes. It can quickly bind to certain minerals, like calcium and form kidney stones.

  • Salt: Lots of sodium from salt means more calcium in the urine. This can increase the risk of kidney stones. Too little calcium in the diet may also lead to kidney stones in certain people.

  • Vitamin C Supplements: Research has found that high doses of vitamin C supplements taken regularly can increase the chances of a kidney stone. Therefore, it is good to take vitamin C in food.

  • Animal Protein: Taking too much animal protein in steaks, chicken, eggs, and seafood can also form calcium and uric acid in the body and cause kidney stones.

  • Medications: Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs like antacids, certain antibiotics, decongestants, diuretics, steroids, medicines for cancer, HIV, and epilepsy can cause kidney stones.

Where Are Kidney Stones Located?

Stones may be located in:

  • Kidney - Nephrolithiasis (Stone formation in the kidney).

  • Ureters - Ureterolithiasis (Stones in the ureters. Ureters are the tubes that propel urine from the kidney to the bladder).

  • Bladder - Cystolithiasis (Stone formation in the urinary bladder).

What Are the Types of Kidney Stones?

The different types of kidney stones are:

  • Calcium stones are seen in Kapha dominant body types. Initially, they are painless but become painful when they start leaving the pelvis of the kidney and enter the ureters. An individual suffering from hypothyroidism or parathyroidism can develop calcium stones.

  • Phosphate stones are seen in vata dominant body types, which can irritate the bladder and cause pain because of their rough quality. People who consume more potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes are at risk of developing phosphate stones.

  • Oxalate stones are seen in the Pitta dominant body type, which can cause irritation, burning sensation, and radiating pain from the loin to the groin. Individuals who eat more spinach, potatoes, and tomatoes tend to form oxalate stones.

  • Cystine stones are stones that are formed by a hereditary disorder called cystinuria. It can lead to excessive amounts of the amino acid (cystine) getting collected in the urine, leading to stones in the kidneys, bladder, and ureters.

  • Struvite stones are commonly seen in women with certain urinary tract infections. Therefore, they are also called infection stones. These stones can quickly grow and become large, occupying the entire kidney. When left untreated, it can cause frequent and severe urinary tract infections leading to loss of kidney function.

  • Uric acid stones can beformed when the urine is often too acidic. Foods like fish, shellfish, and meat can increase the acidity in the urine. Uric acid can form stones by itself or with calcium. It usually occurs in people with obesity, diabetes, or other metabolic diseases.

Who Is More Prone to Get Kidney Stones?

You are at high risk to get kidney stones if:

  • You inherit from a family having kidney stones (genetic inheritance).

  • You are a victim of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) recurrently.

  • You had a previous history of kidney stones. If a person has a prior history of kidney stones at least once in their lifetime, they are likely to get them again unless they take steps.

  • You do not drink enough fluids.

  • You drink more carbonated beverages, grape juice, or apple juice.

  • You eat more animal protein such as meat, eggs, and fish.

  • You are having the habit of eating canned, frozen, and fast foods that contain high sodium levels.

  • You consume foods rich in oxalates in large quantities, such as spinach, rhubarb, nuts, and wheat barn.

  • You follow a diet high in sodium, protein, or sugar.

  • You had gastric bypass surgery or another intestinal surgery.

  • You have underlying medical conditions like hyperparathyroidism, chronic diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, gout.

  • You have polycystic kidney disease.

  • You are obese or overweight.

  • You are under certain medications like diuretics (water pills) or calcium-based antacids.

  • You have a certain medical condition that causes your urine to contain high cystine levels, oxalate, uric acid, or calcium.

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

The symptoms of kidney stones may include:

  • Sharp pain radiating from the lower back to the groin or genitals, lasting 20 to 60 minutes.

  • Nausea.

  • Vomiting.

  • Fever.

  • Blood or pus in the urine.

  • Pain during urination.

How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?

X-ray or ultrasound examination or CT (computed tomography) scan confirms the presence of kidney stones.

How Are Kidney Stones Treated?

Small stones usually do not need treatment. A large kidney stone is generally removed by a procedure called lithotripsy.

Ayurvedic Remedies:

  • For kidney stones, Ayurveda suggests Chandraprabha Vati, Punarnava Guggulu, and Gokshuradi Guggulu.

  • Another effective formula: Punarnava- 5 parts, Gokshura- 3 parts, Mutral- 2 parts, Shilajit- 1/8th part. Taking half a teaspoon of this mixture twice a day with a glass of barley soup helps flush out the crystals.

  • Drinking a glass of watermelon juice with a quarter teaspoon of coriander two to three times a day helps remove small stones and crystals.

  • Kashayam prepared with Bhadra, Yashtimadhu, Gokshura, Punarnava, and Pashanabheda help flushes out minute stones.

  • Kalyanaka kshara is effective in calcium phosphate stones.

  • To ease the pain from passing kidney stones, you can apply a hot and cold compress alternatively for every 30 seconds to one minute.

  • Varunadi Vati is another herbal formulation that can prevent urinary tract infection and stone formation. It works by keeping the urinary tract healthy and maintaining the pH level of the urine. Varanadi Vati has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It will dissolve the calcium crystals.

Other ayurvedic home remedies to treat kidney stones are:

  • Tulsi juice.

  • Lemon juice.

  • Pomegranate juice.

  • Kidney beans.

  • Dates.

  • Apple cider vinegar.

  • Lady's finger.

  • Horse gram.

  • Coconut water.

How Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

To prevent kidney stones, follow the steps below:

  • Drink 2 to 3 liters of water or any fluids per day.

  • Avoid eating foods that contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and additives.

  • Foods Rich in Calcium - Milk and milk products, almonds, beans, banana, cabbage, soya milk, chickpeas, greens, eggs, and sesame.

  • Foods Rich in Potassium - Banana, chocolate, milk, dates, nuts, mango, carrot, orange, papaya, and lentils.

  • Foods Rich in Phosphorus - Cheese, milk, soft drinks, nuts, whole grains, beans, and soya beans.

  • If you have a history of kidney stones, avoid foods that cause it, depending on the type of kidney stone you have.

Conclusion:

Small renal stones can be treated easily, or they will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own. But large renal stones cannot pass on their own, or they will cause pain or extensive damage to the kidneys. Therefore, kidney stones require proper and intensive treatment along with powerful herbal remedies.

Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Revathi. T. S.
Dr. Revathi. T. S.

Ayurveda Specialist

Tags:

kidney healthkidney stones
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