What are Kidney Stones?
Kidneys are responsible for flushing out excessive salts and toxins from the body in the form of urine. Sometimes when they are accumulated in excess, these salts and wastes get clumped together inside the kidneys to form small crystals, known as kidney stones. There are different types of kidney stones based on the composition. Calcium and phosphate stones are common, while uric acid stones, cystine stones, and struvite stones are found in rare cases.
Size and Complications
A kidney stone's size could range anywhere between that of a minute particle or granule to that of a miniature pebble. Some small kidney stones descend through the urinary tract into the bladder and get pass out in the urine automatically. This process is referred to as the natural passing out of kidney stones. However, if the stone grows bigger (more than 5 mm) or blocks the urinary tract, it causes intense abdominal pain, nausea, and sometimes blood in the urine. In this case, the medical intervention has to be sought immediately. Usually, a small laparoscopy procedure is conducted to send shock waves up the urethra. It breaks the stone into small granules, which can then be naturally passed out with urine.
Analyzing the Main Causes of Kidney Stones
There are several causes and risk factors that increase the probability of kidney stones formation. Here's a look at the leading reasons:-
- Not drinking sufficient water- When water intake is less than adequate, the kidneys cannot filter efficiently. The excessive minerals that need to be flushed out with urine tend to accumulate and crystallize to form kidney stones.
- Incorrect Diet- Excessive calcium intake (supplements or calcium-rich foods like spinach and dairy products) leads to calcium crystallization in the kidney. At the same time, too much intake of animal protein causes the formation of uric acid stones. A high-sodium diet (particularly in processed foods) can also lead to kidney stones formation. Another causal factor is the increased consumption of colas-aerated beverages rich in phosphates and sugar.
- Obesity- Overweight individuals and those with Metabolic Syndrome are more prone to developing kidney stones.
- Side Effects of Medications- Prolonged use of certain steroids, antacids, diuretics, and other drugs can trigger the formation of kidney stones.
- Heredity- Research has shown that if your parents or grandparents had kidney stones, you are more at risk of developing the same.
- Other Disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Polycystic Kidneys increase the probability of having kidney stones.
Identifying 8 Possible Symptoms of Kidney Stones
If you have kidney stones, you could experience any of the following symptoms. Even if the symptoms are mild initially, it is best to consult your physician immediately to prevent any escalation.
- Sudden and sharp abdominal pain, usually experienced in waves
- Pain in the groin, just before or during urination
- Frequently experiencing an unusually intense urge to urinate
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Burning Sensation during urination
- Blood in Urine
- Nausea and possible vomiting bouts could accompany either of the above symptoms
- Some men experience pain at the penile tip as well
Home Remedies for Kidney Stones Prevention
Research has shown that many home remedies for kidney stones prevention are highly effective. Doctors also recommend these to flush out small grain-sized stones naturally. Here's a look at the top natural remedies:-
- Increase your daily water intake- The thumb-rule is to have at least eight glasses of water a day. But if you are at risk of developing kidney stones or stay in hot and humid weather, you need to increase the amount to 12 glasses a day. Remember, colas, sodas, and energy drinks are a strict no-no!
- Low sodium, low-protein diet- Avoid processed foods, sugary beverages, and limit your creamy dairy and animal proteins' intake.
- Consumption of Citrus Fruit Juices like Lemon Juice, Orange and, Pomegranate Juice is highly recommended. Having warm water with freshly squeezed lemon first thing in the morning is very beneficial.
- Basil Tea/Juice- The therapeutic benefits of basil help in dissolving kidney stones. A cup of green tea simmered with fresh basil leaves should be taken daily.
- Kidney Beans Broth- Being rich in magnesium helps in the dissolution of kidney stones. This broth is useful for preventing kidney stones.
- Check on your current medication/supplements- Consult your doctor to see if your frequent intake of vitamin C supplements, antacids, or diuretics could be putting you at risk.
To ensure that the condition doesn't aggravate, seek timely medical assistance if you experience any of the kidney mentioned above stones symptoms. Studies have shown that in most cases of people having a kidney stone and its successful removal or passing out, another stone is likely to be formed in the next ten years. Therefore, it is equally important to follow the above home remedies for kidney stones prevention