Kidney stones or renal calculi are solid concretion or crystal aggregations formed in the kidneys from dissolved urinary minerals. Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine and often severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Renal colic can be associated with nausea and vomiting. Kidney stones may contain various chemicals. There are several types of kidney stone based on the type of crystals of which they consists. The majority are calcium oxalate stones, followed by calcium phosphate stones. More rarely, struvite stones are produce by urea-splitting bacteria in people with urinary tract infections, and people with certain metabolic abnormalities may produce uric acid stones or cystine stones.
Urolithiasis is the medical term used to describe stones occurring in the urinary tract. Men are three times more likely than women to have kidney stones form within the urinary tract.
Causes and Risk factor:
There is no consensus as to why kidney stones form.
Heredity: Some people are more susceptible to forming kidney stones, and heredity may play a role. The majority of kidney stones are made of calcium and high levels of calcium in the urine is a risk factor. The predisposition to high levels of calcium in the urine may be passed on from generation to generation. Some rare hereditary diseases also predispose some people to form kidney stones.
Geographical location: Increasing global temperatures will lead to greater future prevalence of kidney stones. The hot climate and poor fluid intake may cause people to be relatively dehydrated, with their urine becoming more concentrated and allowing chemicals to come in closer contact to form the nidus, or becoming, of a stones.
Medications: People taking diuretics and those who consume excess calcium-containing antacids can increase the amount of calcium in their urine and potentially increase the risk of forming stones. Taking excess amounts of vitamins A and D are also associated with higher levels of calcium in the urine. Other commonly prescribed medications associated with stone formation include dilantin and antibiotics.
Several factors increase the risk for developing kidney stones, including inadequate fluid intake and dehydration, reduced urinary volume, certain chemical levels in the urine that are too high or too low, and several medical conditions such as reflux, medullary sponge kidney, renal tubular acidosis and urinary tract infections. Anything that blocks or reduces the flow of urine also increases the risk.
Chemical risk factors include high levels of the following in the urine: calcium, cystine, oxalate, uric acid and sodium. A low level of citrate is also a risk factor for stones.
The following medical conditions are also risk factors for kidney stone disease: Arthritis, Colitis, Gout, High blood pressure, Hyperparathyroidism, Medullary sponge kidney, Renal tubular acidosis, Urinary tract infections, Intestinal disorder that causes chronic diarrhea, dehydration, and low citrate, and urinary tract infections.
Many kidney stones do not move and are too small to cause any symptoms. However, if a kidney stone causes a blockage, or moves into the ureter, one may have severe pain or ache on one or both sides of the back, get sudden spasms of excruciating pain – usually starts in the back below ribs, before radiating around abdomen, and sometimes to the groin or genital, have bloody or cloudy urine, feel sick or vomit, feel a frequent urge to urinate, or burning sensation during urination, and get fever and chills.
The pain of kidney stones – referred to as ‘renal colic’ – can be very severe. It begins as soon as the stones becomes stuck in the ureter and tends to come in waves. It is not usually associated with the size of the kidney stone – sometimes small stones can cause more pain than very large ones.
Sometimes, symptoms such as difficulty urinating, urinary urgency, penile pain, or testicular pain may occur due to kidney stones.
Small stones can be dissolved and passed out through urine by administration of certain home remedies coupled with some Ayurvedic remedies. The followings are the home remedies for kidney stones,
- Water: Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water a day.
- Citric Acid: This natural acid has been known to dissolve hard materials, including kidney stones. A great citric acid fruit to choose is a lemon. Lemon juice can be mixed with water, honey, or sugar.
- Citrates: Citrates will reduce the amount of uric acid and eliminate the build-up of calcium salts which cause the formation of kidney stones. A good tip for getting enough citrates is to drink fruit and vegetable juice such as carrot, grape and orange juice.
- Boil 2 figs with water, and drink this every morning for a month.
- Make one cup of juice made with radish leaves and drink twice a day.
- Drink one glass of fresh tomato juice with a hint of salt and pepper for flavor every morning.
- Basil (tulsi) leaves: Take 4-5 basil leaves, extract its juice and mix in a tablespoon of honey. Take this mixture every morning for 4-6 months.
- Coconut water is a good home remedy for burning urination and scanty urine. Regular intake also flushes out small particles or dissolves stones through urination,
- Barley water can also be used for this purpose,
- Water melon is nutritive as well as a safe diuretic to be used in this condition.
- Onion decoction: Make the decoction by adding water to some bulbs of onion. Sugar should be added to it and taken.
- The decoction prepared with Kulathi Dal is very useful.
- Soda water is also very useful if taken thrice daily after meals.
Other natural measures that may help prevent kidney stones include:
- Avoid foods and beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup.
- Reduce daily salt intake.
- Avoid calcium-containing antacids.
- Limit intake of beef, pork, and poultry to less than 4 to 6 ounces a day.
- Eat moderate amount of dairy products.
- Limit the amount of pasta you eat,
- Avoid high-oxalate foods, such as dark green vegetables, nuts and chocolate.
- Rencare Capsule: This medicine helps urine flow, and cools the membranes of the urinary tract. It also helps stop bleeding within the urinary tract, and helps break up and remove stones. Also, it helps relax the bladder, relieve irritation, and improve urinary flow.
Herbs included in this capsule are Gokshuru, Pashaan Bheda, Dhania Leaves, Cornsilk and Usher.
- Patherina tablet is the specific ayurvedic remedy for stones. 1 tablet twice a day along with a glass of water ensures good relief.
- Cystone tablet (Himalaya Drugs): 1 to 2 tablets twice daily for 6 to 8 weeks.
- Calcury tablet (Charak): 1 to 2 tablets twice or thrice daily for 6 to 8 weeks.
- Ber Patthar Bhasma is the drug of choice.
- Chander Prabha vati is also very useful in burning micturition. 1 tablet twice daily.
- Hot water bath and hot fomentation over the back give relief.
- Yoga: certain asanas, which stimulate kidneys can be practice. These are Pavana Mukta Asana, Uttana Padasana.