What causes kidney stones?
In almost 90% of cases, the cause of kidney stones cannot be ascertained. However some of the following factors may contribute to kidney stones
- Genetic reasons - Kidney stone formation seems to run in families
- People suffering from gout are predisposed to kidney stones
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic urinary tract infections can cause kidney and urinary stones
- Drinking less fluids
- Prolonged bed rest
- Use of antacids containing calcium can also cause kidney stones
- Deficiency of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium can cause kidney stones
- Excessive Vitamin D intake may also lead to kidney stone formation
- People living in hot climates are also more prone to developing kidney stones due to dehydration and concentration of minerals in urine.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Most small kidney stones will cause no symptoms at all and will pass out of the urinary tract. It is when kidney stones block the flow of urine or cause infections that symptoms may develop. These include
- Sharp pain that starts in the side and moves toward the groin
- nausea and vomiting
- profuse sweating
- blood in urine
- fever and chills
- frequent urge to urinat
- Painful urination
- cloudy or foul smelling urine
How are kidney stones diagnosed and treated?
If you suspect you have kidney stones or have any of the above symptoms, medical attention should immediately be sought. Your doctor will need to ascertain the presence of a stone and may prescribe evaluation tests including blood and urine tests, an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or an ultrasound scan.
Depending on the evaluation your doctor may prescribe natural treatments such as drinking plenty of water and a diuretic. In more serious cases, surgery may be called for or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) may be used. In ESWL, high energy shock waves travel through the skin and body tissues until they hit the denser stones. The stones break down into small particles and are easily passed through the urinary tract in the urine.
Natural remedies and prevention of kidney stones
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- Drink plenty of water - Drinking at least 3 quarts of water a day will help in decreasing mineral concentration in urine
- Reduce consumption of foods high in calcium oxalate such as chocolate, celery, grapes, bell peppers, beans, strawberries, spinach, asparagus, beets and black tea
- Take daily supplements of Vitamin B6 (at least 10mg) and magnesium
- Avoid taking antacids
- Reduce salt consumption to no more than 3 grams per day
- Avoid Vitamin D supplements
- Foods such as anchovies, sardines, organ meats and brewer's yeast raise uric acid levels and are best avoided
- Herbal medications such as Cystone have shown great efficacy in treating and preventing kidney stones
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