SAFELY PASSING KIDNEY STONES AT HOME: NATURAL REMEDIES
More than 10% of people worldwide are affected by kidney stones at least once in their life.
If you have ever had to pass a kidney stone, you know it can be a long and excruciating experience.
Luckily, several home remedies can help you with passing kidney stones at home faster and with less pain.
Read on to learn more about kidney stones and the best natural ways to fight them.
Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi or nephrolithiasis, are solid deposits made of crystals, minerals, and other organic materials. They usually form inside the kidneys, but these stones can develop anywhere along your urinary tract, including:
- Renal pelvis
Typically, urine forms in the kidneys and passes outside the body through the ureters, bladder, and the urethra. Usually, kidney stones do not cause any symptoms and leave the body through the urethra without causing pain.
However, kidney stones can be painful if they are large, move around inside the kidney, or get stuck in one of the ureters (the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder).
This condition can become extremely painful in some cases, requiring medical attention.
You may not experience any signs and symptoms of a kidney stone until it passes through into one of your ureters.
Kidney stones may cause severe pain. If a kidney stone gets stuck in the ureter, it can block the urine flow causing the kidney to swell and the ureters to spasm. At this point, you may experience sudden, severe pain known as renal colic.
Renal colic may feel like:
- Sharp pain on one side of your back or abdomen (below the ribs)
- Intense pain in the side and back that comes and goes in waves
- Severe pain that radiates down to the lower abdomen and groin area
- A burning sensation while urinating
As the kidney stone moves along the urinary tract, the pain can shift to a different location and change in intensity.
Other symptoms of kidney stones may include:
- Bloody urine (the urine appears pink, red, or brown)
- Cloudy urine that smells bad
- Feeling the need to urinate often
- Urinating in small amounts
- Fever and chills, if there is an infection
People with painful kidney stones may feel restless, continuously shifting their posture.
Contact a healthcare provider immediately if you experience severe pain that does not go away, blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, fever, chills, and nausea or vomiting as these can be the symptoms of kidney stones
Kidney stones can only leave the body through the urinary tract via urine. That is why passing a kidney stone can be painful and uncomfortable.
Smaller stones can usually pass with minimum discomfort and pain. However, larger ones can cause severe pain and bleeding and require medical intervention.
Fortunately, several natural remedies can help you pass a kidney stone at home.
When it comes to passing a kidney stone, hydration is vital. Your body needs to flush out the kidney stones along with the urine. Drinking lots of fluids helps the stones move along the urinary tract and prevents new ones from forming.
To pass a kidney stone at home, drink a lot of the following fluids:
- Water: Drinking plenty of water will speed up the urine flow and help pass the kidney stones faster.
- Lemon/Lime/melon/orange juice: Lemons and limes are rich in citric acid. Citric acid increases urine volume, breaks up small kidney stones, and prevents new stones from forming.
- Pomegranate juice: In addition to flushing out kidney stones from your system, studies show that pomegranate juice can prevent kidney stones from forming.
- Celery juice: Scientists have found evidence that celery can help break down kidney stones.
Other beverages, including tea, coffee, beer, wine, and other fruit juices, can also help get rid of a kidney stone faster at home.
However, you should avoid drinking fluids that contain cranberry, grapefruit, and tomato.
Tomato juice is rich in sodium. Sodium increases the amount of calcium you excrete into your urine, which increases the risk of kidney stone formation. Additionally, cranberry and grapefruit juices are rich in oxalate, a component of kidney stones.
Diuretics help your body flush away fluids from the body via urine. Eating diuretic foods can help you urinate more frequently and is a great way to help naturally pass kidney stones.
These foods include:
- Bell peppers
- Brussel sprouts
Some herbal teas can also act as diuretics and help your body get rid of excess fluid, including the following:
- Dandelion tea
- Juniper tea
- Hawthorn tea
- Horsetail tea
- Green and black tea
- Hibiscus tea
Eating calcium-rich food such as cheese, milk, and yogurt can help you fight kidney stones at home.
There is a common misconception that a low calcium intake can decrease the risk of kidney stone formation.
On the contrary, studies show that incorporating enough calcium in your diet can actually reduce your risk of developing another kidney stone. Calcium also helps prevent kidney stones from getting larger in size and blocking your urine flow.
Fish oil contains an active ingredient called EPA that decreases the concentrations of calcium and oxalate (components of kidney stones) in the urine. Hence, it can prevent kidney stones from forming.
Moreover, fish oil also increases citrate levels in the urine, which helps in flushing the kidney stone out of your system faster.
Cold-water fish (mackerel, tuna, sardines, and salmon), walnuts (flax seeds), and canola oil are all rich in EPA, the active ingredient in fish oil.
Animal proteins increase urinary calcium and decrease urinary citrate, which can make the body form more kidney stones and also make it difficult to pass the ones you already have.
Moreover, some foods rich in animal protein, such as fish and organ meats, also have high levels of purines. These chemical compounds increase the formation of a specific type of kidney stone known as a uric acid stone.
Consuming less animal protein, such as meat, eggs, and certain kinds of fish like anchovies and shellfish, helps in passing kidney stones naturally and prevents future ones.
Vitamin C gets converted to oxalate in the body, one of the components of calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Therefore, high doses of vitamin C, such as the ones found in supplements, can increase your risk of forming kidney stones.
Alternatively, vitamin C from food sources such as oranges and lemons do not increase the risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones.
If you have kidney stones, avoid taking vitamin C supplements to help your body pass kidney stones naturally and prevent painful kidney stones in the future.
Depending on their size and number, kidney stones may take weeks, even months, to pass.
Over-the-counter pain meds, such as Tylenol, Advil, and Naproxen, can reduce the pain and discomfort as the kidney stones pass through your urinary tract.
Your healthcare provider may also prescribe an alpha blocker to relax your ureter muscles and help the stones pass quicker and with less pain.
Passing kidney stones can be an extremely painful experience. These natural remedies can help you safely pass a kidney stone at home and reduce your risk of getting another one in the future.
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- Anatomy and Physiology of the Urinary Tract: Relation to Host Defense and Microbial Infection
- Nephrolithiasis - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
- Renal Calculi - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
- Medical and Dietary Therapy for Kidney Stone Prevention - PMC
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