Kidney stones occur when the salt and minerals from urine stick together and grow into pebble-like masses in the kidneys. Kidney stones vary in size and can be as large as golf balls. It is possible for a stone to travel outside of the kidney through the urinary tract and into the ureter, which is sometimes extremely painful.
There is some genetic risk for kidney stones, but it is possible for anyone to develop them. They form because of changes in the balance of urine, which is often caused by dehydration. Drinking an adequate amount of water each day can help you prevent kidney stones. Some medical conditions also increase a persons risk for kidney stones.
Treating Kidney Stones
Some stones are small and require no treatment other than consuming plenty of liquids. It is possible for people to develop and pass kidney stones without any medical support, especially if a stone is small. If a kidney stone triggers mild pain, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers. In cases of larger stones that are more difficult to pass, your doctor may prescribe medication that helps the body pass the stone.
In some cases, kidney stones trigger severe pain or block the urinary tract. In these cases, your doctor is likely to prescribe a medical procedure called lithotripsy designed to remove the stone. Some kidney stones require surgery.
Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones
In addition to pain relievers, prescription medication, lithotripsy, and surgery, there are a number of natural methods that help relieve the pain of kidney stones, hasten the process of passing a stone, and prevent future stones from developing. These include:
Drinking the juice of the holy basil plant
Consuming ground pomegranate seeds
Exercising on a regular basis
Limiting intake of animal protein
Limiting intake of salt
Consuming three tablespoons of olive oil mixed with the juice of two lemons before each meal
Another effective home remedy for kidney stones may seem somewhat ironic. Boiling kidney beans produces a liquid that can be consumed to help with kidney stone removal. This is believed to be one of the most effective home remedies for curing kidney stones.
In addition to the remedies listed above, there are also certain foods and ingredients you may want to limit if you are susceptible to kidney stones. These are based on the types of stones you are prone to develop and include:
Foods that contain oxalate, including wheat bran, spinach, peanuts, and rhubarb (if you are prone to calcium oxalate stones)
Foods high in purines, including shrimp, wine, and sweetbreads (if you are prone to uric acid stones)
Calcium supplements and medications with calcium (if you are prone to calcium deposits in the kidneys)
A recent study published in the March 2013 Journal of Urology indicated that increasing dietary calcium from sources other than dairy may reduce a persons risk for kidney stones. If you are prone to kidney stones and you are concerned that changing the amount of calcium in your diet could help or hinder your situation, speak with your doctor about your specific circumstances.