Kidney stone disease, also known as urolithiasis, is when a solid piece of material (kidney stone) occurs in the urinary tract. Kidney stones typically form in the kidney and leave the body in the urine system. A small stone may pass without causing symptoms.
If a stone grows to more than 5 millimeters (0.2 in) it can cause blockage of the ureter resulting in severe pain in the lower back or abdomen. A stone may also result in blood in the urine, vomiting, or painful urination. About half of people will have another stone within ten years.
Most stones form due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
Risk factors include high urine calcium levels, obesity, certain foods, some medications, calcium supplements, hyperparathyroidism, gout and not drinking enough fluids. Stones form in the kidney when minerals in urine are at high concentration. The diagnosis is usually based on symptoms, urine testing, and medical imaging.
Blood tests may also be useful. Stones are typically classified by their location: nephrolithiasis (in the kidney), ureterolithiasis (in the ureter), cystolithiasis (in the bladder), or by what they are made of (calcium, uric acid, struvite, cystine).
Unfortunately, there aren’t many formal treatments, and most doctors will suggest drinking large amounts of water and taking pain medication until the stone passes. That being said, there are some effective home remedies that can help break down kidney stones so they can pass more easily, or be dissolved entirely.
READ: 7 Signs That You Have Kidneys Problems
Home Remedies For Kidney Stones
– Drink More Water: One of the most basic causes of kidney stones is dehydration. Essentially, when there isn’t enough water in the body, the urine becomes more concentrated with minerals and other substances that urine usually removes. As those minerals calcify and bind together, they form stones that are harder to move through the ureter. By drinking large amounts of water, it can help flush the kidneys and break up some of those stones that have already formed, or at least make passing the stones a lot less painful.
– Pomegranate Juice: Arguably the best fruit-based solution for kidney stones is the use of pomegranate – both the seeds and the juice. The antioxidants and natural astringent properties of this fruit can help to break up kidney stones when these nutrients reach the kidney, and prevent high oxalate levels in the body. Drinking one glass each day should be a good preventative measure for the stones’ development.
– Watermelon: People often forget that watermelon is more than a delicious summer snack, but also a potassium-packed health food that can help combat kidney stones, particularly those formed of magnesium and calcium phosphates. Potassium is integral to lowering acid levels in the urine, which can prevent the development of these stones.
Furthermore, watermelon is almost entirely made of water, which makes it a great fruit for hydration!
Kidney Beans: Although their name is based on their shape, they also happen to be excellent beans for kidney stones. All legumes, in fact, have high levels of insoluble fiber, which can bind calcium in the stool, rather than letting it pass into the urinary system.
With lower levels of calcium in the urine, it will be harder for kidney stones to form. Other foods rich in insoluble fiber include corn, eggplants, greens, peas, onions and garlic.
Avoid Salty Foods: As most of you surely know, high levels of salt in the body cause water retention, leading to bloating and edema (swelling of carious parts of the body).
This also means that water isn’t being moved through the kidney to the bladder, thus leaving the urine highly concentrated. By cutting down on salty food, you have a much better chance of avoiding the development of these mineral stones.
– Magnesium: One of the commonalities between people who suffer from kidney stones is a deficiency in magnesium.
In fact, research shows that taking magnesium supplements can offset more than 90% of kidney stone cases. Some of the foods highest in magnesium include spinach, nuts, fish, beans, avocados, yogurt and dark chocolate.
– Apple Cider Vinegar: The highly astringent properties of this common natural remedy can make it much harder for kidney stones to develop.
It can help to dissolve kidney stones and also has an alkalinizing effect on the blood and urine, so regular doses of apple cider vinegar is an excellent preventative measure for this condition, particularly if you are at risk.
– Basil: This ancient herbal remedy has long been considered a tonic for the kidneys, and specifically for mineral deposition, it helps to expel these materials from the kidney early in their formation, so they are smaller and thus less painful to pass through the ureter.
– Whole Grains: The best source of high concentrations of insoluble fiber come from whole grain cereals in their many forms. This fiber can optimize the digestive system, but also bind with calcium and lower the amount of minerals that are pushed into the urine. This will help prevent the build-up of these minerals that form kidney stones.
– Nettle Leaf Tea: This particular type of tea is a kidney tonic in many different ways; it not only slows the growth of kidney stones and promotes their dissolution, but also helps to clear up any infections of the kidney that may be causing this unnatural growth of mineral stones. It also promotes urination, and thus flushes toxins and minerals from the body more regularly, making it more difficult for these stones to form.