Within my practice, I have seen a lot of patients enduring a tremendous amount of pain and trips to the emergency room because of kidney stones. One study published in 2012 that gathered data from 2007 to 2010 found out that 1 in 11 Americans suffer from kidney stones. That’s a lot of pain and suffering! Clearly, kidney stones affect a significant part of the population in the United States, and today I’m here with help. (1)
What Are Kidney Stones?
Before getting into kidney stones, let’s review the urinary system, which the kidneys are part of. The urinary system filters blood and removes waste and excess water, which then becomes urine. The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra.
Like any other system in your body, in order to perform optimally, the urinary system depends on all its organs functioning well. When problems like kidney stones occur, it can result in complications for the entire urinary system.
Urine naturally contains dissolved salts and minerals. But if it contains abnormally high levels of these, the body can develop actual pebbles made of salts and minerals, known as “stones”. In most cases, kidney stones start small in size, but they can grow larger quickly. Some can even fill the empty spaces inside the kidney.
When kidney stones stay inside the kidney, they don’t cause any problems to speak of. Likewise, if a stone travels through the ureter (located between the kidney and the bladder) and reaches the bladder, it can be eliminated in the urine. Problems mostly happen when the stone gets stuck in the ureter and blocks the flow of urine coming from the kidney.
What Are the Symptoms Of Kidney Stones?
If you have a kidney stone, the most common symptom is a sharp pain that starts in the back and/or side, and moves to the abdomen and groin area. The pain can start very suddenly and come in waves as the body tries to eliminate the stone. Some other signs that you are dealing with kidney stones are: (2)
- An intense need to urinate
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Urinating in small amounts and frequently
- Presence of pink, red or brown blood in the urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Men may experience pain on the tip of the penis
What Are The Types of Kidney Stones?
Finding out what type of kidney stone you have can help pinpoint what is causing it and get the best possible treatment. Plus, when you know what you’re working with, you can take meaningful measures to prevent them from happening again. If you passed a kidney stone, consider saving it and getting it analyzed by a doctor. The types of kidney stones are:
Calcium Stones. They account for 80% of kidney stones, and can be either: (3)
- Calcium Oxalate. This is the more common type of calcium stone. Oxalate is a substance your liver makes every day or is present in your diet. High levels of oxalate can be found in some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate. A significant concentration of oxalates may also be found in the urine due to high doses of vitamin D, dietary factors, metabolic disorders and intestinal bypass surgery.
- Calcium Phosphate. These types of stones are associated with metabolic conditions like renal tubular acidosis. It has also been linked to certain medications used to treat migraines or seizures.
- Uric Acid Stones. These account for anywhere between 5 and 10 percent of kidney stones. Uric acid is a waste product that results from chemical changes in the body. When individuals have high acidity urine, crystals can not be dissolved, creating uric acid stones. Acid urine may be the result of:
- A high-protein, low fruits and vegetable diet
- Chronic diarrhea
- Having an excess body weight
- High blood sugar conditions like type 2 diabetes
How to Deal With Kidney Stone Pain?
There are different courses of action depending on the size of the stone you’re dealing with. The most common approaches are:
- Surgery. Surgical intervention may be needed if the stone creates kidney malfunction or infection. Also, if the stone fails to pass naturally or if the pain is too great to wait for the stone to pass naturally.
- Wait for the stone to pass by itself. This is primarily the case for small stones. The afflicted may wait anywhere from four to six weeks for the stone to pass as long as the pain is manageable and there is no sign of infection.
Pain medication may be recommended until the stone passes. However, some individuals who do not wish to take opioid prescriptions may find pain relief in using:
- Cannabidiol. Also called CBD, known for alleviating pain by affecting the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoids have been known to mitigate nausea, pain and vomiting—symptoms that are often associated with kidney stones. A 2008 study found a relationship between the use of cannabinoids, inflammation reduction, and improvement in renal function. The study concluded that CBD offers significant therapeutic benefits to kidney conditions. (4)
How to Dissolve a Kidney Stone Naturally?
Here are some time-tested natural methods to help break up painful kidney stones:
- Lemons. This citrus fruit has the highest concentration of citrate, which is known to inhibit the formation of kidney stones. A recent study conducted at the UC San Diego Comprehensive Kidney Stone Center found that patients on “lemon therapy” (drinking four ounces of lemon juice in two litres of water per day) reduce the kidney stone’s formation from 1.0 to 0.13. (5)
- Chanca Piedra, known by its scientific name as Phyllanthus niruri, This is an herb that grows in tropical areas like the rainforests of South America. Chanca piedra is available mainly in capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, and teas. Chanka Piedra has been used on kidney stones because its phytochemicals possess properties that increase urine flow, kill bacteria, and relieve inflammation. (6)
When it comes to managing kidney stones, the key points are to pay attention to your diet and manage the oxalates you consume. Interested in learning more about managing health conditions naturally? Click here for access to all my healing protocols.