Kidney stone is a common disorder of the urinary tract. On an average, about 10 percent of the world's population gets kidney stones at some point of time. In medical terms, it is called renal calculi. As the name suggests, kidney stone is a hardened mass, resulted from the accumulation of acid salts and minerals present in the urine. The composition may vary according to the type of kidney stone. The most common type contains calcium, uric acid, oxalate, and phosphate. In rare cases, these stones are developed due to the infection in the urinary tract. These stones are referred to as infection stones or struvite.
It is observed that some people are more susceptible to formation of these stones than others. Though it is claimed that certain foods promote stone formation, it is yet unknown, exactly which foods aggravate the condition. An individual having a family history of stones is at a higher risk of developing them. People with underlying kidney problems are also susceptible to this disorder. The symptoms include bloody or smelly urine, nausea, vomiting, frequent and painful urination, and pain in the abdomen, side, and back. In case of infection, chills and fever may accompany.
This condition is detected by conducting X-ray imaging test of the kidneys and urinary tract. Small stones pass in the urinary tract, and leave the body without causing any noticeable symptoms. Though there are surgical approaches to remove large stones, many people prefer to opt for natural remedies to combat the disorder. In many cases, natural treatment is effective in flushing out these stones.
One of the most effective remedies is to drink lots of water (about 3 liters) and increase overall fluid intake. Water and other liquids help in diluting the urine, which in turn, reduces the substance concentration that is responsible for the formation and enlargement of a stone. The ideal urine output for the patient is about 45-50 ounces per day.
The diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, green leafy vegetables like spinach and parsley are not recommended, as they contain high amount of oxalate. Other foods that are to be avoided are peanuts, beets, strawberries, wheat bran, chocolates, cola, caffeine, nuts, and pasta. In addition, one should reduce the intake of salt, sugar, soda, alcohol, dairy products, and refined foods.
Uric acid stone formation is exacerbated in people, whose diet consists of large amounts of animal protein. An effective way to combat this problem is cutting down meat and sea fish in the daily diet. Excess vitamin C is harmful for people with kidney stones, as this vitamin converts into oxalate (in higher doses). Hence, it is advisable to rely on foods rich in vitamin C, rather than administering the supplements.
Over-the-counter antacids are mostly based on calcium; the use of these medications may worsen the problem. It is always better to avoid calcium containing antacids. Some of the popular home remedies are coconut water, pomegranate juice, tomato juice, apples, basil juice, and herbal tea prepared by using silky tassels of sweet corn. Another effective natural remedy is to exercise regularly. Physical activities facilitate the movement of calcium from the bloodstream to the bones, thus lowering the chances of stone formation.
Following these remedies will help in expelling the stone out of the body. In case of a stone that does not pass on its own even after using these natural remedies, the physician may conduct certain laboratory procedures to remove it. Some of the common procedures include, shock waves (waves given to break a large stone into smaller particles), tunnel surgery (removal of the stone by creating a small tunnel in the back) and ureteroscopy (cutting and removing kidney stones by inserting a device called ureteroscope, in the urethra).