The kidneys are among the most important organs of our bodies that help to filter impurities from blood and regulate fluid balance around the body. When unprocessed minerals get dissolved in the blood and get deposited on the kidney wall lining instead of being eliminated through the urinary tract, they turn into kidney stones with the passage of time.
Kidney stones tend to vary in their size. They might be as small as a speck to pass through the urinary tract in urine unnoticed, or can grow up to the size of a golf ball and obstruct the kidney linings or block the flow of urine. Untreated kidney stones can cause severe pain and infection.
Kidney stones hardly lead to any permanent damage, provided that they are diagnosed and treated at the right time. Usually, it only requires an individual to drink lots of water and pop a pain medication to get rid of the stone. However, surgery might be needed if the situation is complicated. The key is to recognize the symptoms of a kidney stone so as to treat it effectively. Here are some common signs:
- Fluctuating, intense pain in the crotch or groin area
- Shifting of pain to another area when the stone moves
- Feeling nauseous or vomiting
- Pain during urination
- Passing blood in urine
- Cloudy, foul-smelling urine
- Fever and chills with expected infection
- Presence of white blood cells or puss cells in the urine
- Less excretion of urine that normal
- Burning sensation felt while urinating
- Consistent urge to urinate
It is to be noted that these symptoms are likely to appear only when the stone makes a movement around the kidney or passes into the uterus.
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Although there is no specific reason that leads to the formation of kidney stones, there are several factors that can increase the risk. The following list depicts a few of these factors.
Lack of water
With less water content, the body is unable to flush out excess minerals that are present and prevent them from clotting up together to form a stone. Besides, when there is less water present, the basic nature of the urine becomes acidic. The newly formed acidic environment thus creates kidney stones.
Has someone from your family every suffered from kidney stones? If yes, then chances are high that you might also develop them anytime. Also, if you yourself have had a history of kidney stones, then consider yourself being prone to suffering from this ailment again.
Presence of certain diseases
Patients suffering from Crohn’s Disease, which is the chronic inflammation and obstruction of the bowels, are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones in their lifetime. Furthermore, Renal Tubular Acidosis causes further formation of kidney stones due to an increased acidic environment, whereas Hyperthyroidism increases the bone desorption which releases more calcium into the blood, increasing the chance of forming kidney stones. Other than this, obesity, chronic diarrhea and high blood pressure can also contribute to the risk.
Eating certain foods, especially a diet that is rich in protein, sodium and sugar, elevates your chances of having kidney stones as it is likely to increase the amount of calcium for your kidneys to filter. Try to avoid over consumption of caffeine, calcium rich foods, processed red meats and fruits and vegetables that are high in oxalic acid (e.g. spinach, beets, eggplant, berries, tomatoes, etc.)
Let’s have a look at some natural treatments for kidney stones, as there are hardly any effective medicines for it anyway.
1. Drink plenty of water every day. If you have already have had kidney stones then 10 glasses of water are an absolute must.
2. Squirt a full lemon in lukewarm water in your glass and drink it before breakfast every day. Not only will it help shrink the size of your stone because it contains citrate but will also increase your metabolism and help you reduce weight.
3. Have some basil tea or a little bit of basil juice with raw honey. Basil contains compounds that are known to balance the levels of increasing uric acid and stops further formation of stones and lead to the expulsion of existing ones.
4. Apple cider vinegar serves an effective remedy for various health concerns, kidney stones being one of them. It not only helps to break down the stones and flush them out, but also prevents any reoccurrences.
5. Consume foods that are packed with nutrients in order to keep the body’s pH levels balanced. Besides, such a diet will help to gradually clear a minor kidney stone and prevent more from building up. Focus on leafy greens, bananas, avocados, bananas, kidney beans, sprouted grains, etc. A plant based diet is likely to promote healthy kidney function.