What is Kidney?

Kidney stones are clumps developed from solidified crystals in the kidney or urinary tract. The urine has all the ingredients that form the stone, but all these ideally pass through without our knowledge. When there is an imbalance in any of these substances, the crystals cluster together into stones. The size of the stone can be as small as a grain of sand to one as large as the size of a golf ball. The most commonly found kidney stone in humans is usually made of calcium oxalate. Other rare varieties of kidney stones include those made up of cystine, struvite (magnesium, ammonium and phosphate), calcium phosphate, uric acid, etc.

Kidney stones are one of the most painful of the urologic disorders. Men tend to be affected more frequently than women. 

Causes of Kidney stone formation:

Certain foods may promote stone formation in people who are susceptible. This stone formation is enhanced when there is increased intake of calcium, calcium oxalate, uric acid or salt in our diet, with an inadequate intake of fluids. A positive family history (genetic tendency) also makes a person prone to kidney stone formation.

Certain foods that increase the risk for kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals include:

Spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, peanuts, cocoa, beet, coffee, cola, nuts, strawberries, tomato juice, grapefruit juice, apple juice, soda (acidic and contains phosphorus), all types of tea, and berries.

Symptoms of Kidney stones:

Kidney stones can remain asymptomatic until they obstruct the flow of urine. When obstruction to the flow of urine occurs at some point of time, the patient starts experiencing acute symptoms. Patient usually presents with the most agonizing pain in the lower back just below the ribs, which often extends into the groin area (described as ‘loin to groin’ radiation of pain). The patient may also experience nausea, vomiting, blood in the urine (haematuria), restlessness and fever (if infection is present).

Stones less than 5 mm in size usually pass out spontaneously; however the majority of stones greater than 6 mm require some form of intervention, especially so if the stone is stuck causing persistent obstruction and/or infection of the urinary tract.

Self-Care at Home

  • Prevention is always the preferable way to treat kidney stones. Remaining well hydrated and keeping the urine dilute will help prevent kidney stones from forming.

  • Please note, if there is fever associated with the symptoms of a kidney stone, this becomes a more urgent problem, and medical care should be accessed immediately.

Prevention

  • While kidney stones and renal colic probably cannot be prevented, the risk of forming a stone can be minimized by avoiding dehydration. Keeping the urine dilute will not allow the chemical crystals to come out of solution and form the nidus of a stone. Making certain that the urine remains clear and not concentrated (yellow) will help minimize stone formation.

  • Medication may be prescribed for certain types of stones, and compliance with taking the medication is a must to reduce the risk of future stone episodes.

Suggestion about homeopathic treatment:

When the stone size is small, homoeopathy is likely to help in the passage of stone as well as in relieving the agonizing pain caused by the same. If the stone size is larger, 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 (as the chance of having recurring stones are about 70-80%).