If you have suffered from kidney stones you are not alone. According to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, one in ten people will get one kidney stone in their life. That equates to 100,000 people in Ottawa. In this blog, I outline the symptoms, risk factors and natural ways you can help prevent and treat kidney stones.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals. The most common of these are composed of calcium oxalate and uric acid. While most stones leave the body without notice, if they are big enough they can become lodged in the ureter and cause symptoms.
Pain is the most disturbing symptom of stones. It usually starts in the back and can travel down to the groin. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. The urine may also appear cloudy and or bloody in appearance.
Factors that increase the risk of developing kidney stones include:
Genetics – if another family member has kidney stones, you’re more likely to develop stones, too.
Hydration – Not drinking enough water can increase your risk of kidney stones. If you live in a hot climate or sweat a lot you may have a higher risk.
Diet – Consuming a diet that is high in protein, sodium or sugar may increase your risk of stones.
Being overweight – Having a high body mass index may increase your risk of stones,
Digestive conditions – Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis) or chronic diarrhea can increase the formation of stones by affecting the absorption of water and calcium.
If you currently have stones, have had them in the past or have a family history then the following measures may help.
Drink more water
The water will make it easier for the body to excrete calcium oxalate.
Lemon juice has been shown to help dissolve stones. Aim for approximately 1/2 cup of lemon juice per day.
Consider limiting the following foods that have been shown to increase the formation of stones:
- Table salt
- Grapefruit juice
- Calcium supplementation
- Soda drinks
- High protein foods
- High sugar foods
- High oxalate foods including beans, nuts, black tea, chocolate, carob, beets, spinach, chard, rhubarb, plantains and sweet potatoes. Avoid these foods particular while symptoms are acute.
Supplementation and Herbals
The following supplements and Herbals are worth considering if you know you have stones and want to help the body excrete them.
- Magnesium glycinate
- Vitamin B6
- Aloe vera juice
- Marshmallow root tea
If you have any questions about this article either post them in the comments section below or email using the form on my contact page.
This article in not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.