Passing a kidney stone is one of the most painful of all human experiences. It helps to identify the causes, apply natural treatments and employ prevention techniques.
There is no way to describe the passing of a kidney stone except to label it excruciating. The size of the stone and the overall physical health of an individual play a role in how manageable the process of stone elimination will be, but the one truth that applies to every person suffering with a kidney stone is that the urine is out of balance.
Kidney Stones Causes
A kidney stone forms when the water, salts, minerals and other substances in the urine become unbalanced. Factors that may influence the imbalance include:
- Medical conditions such as gout, inflammatory bowel disease, a malfunctioning
of the parathyroid glands or gastric bypass
- Over consumption of certain foods
- Medications like furosemide (Lasix), topiramate (Topamax)
or indinavir (Crixivan)
Failure to drink enough water can cause a build-up of stone-forming substances in the kidneys. Though other factors bear some responsibility, the lack of sufficient water is the most prevalent culprit in creating an environment for stone formation. It is also the easiest problem to rectify.
Passing Kidney Stones with Natural Treatment and Relief
Passing a kidney stone is painful but not customarily difficult. Unless the stone is larger than a quarter inch (5 mm) in size, it should pass within a few days. Stones larger than a quarter inch may require surgical removal.
The pain that begins in the back flank, behind whichever kidney is affected, will intensify in waves as the stone makes its way down the ureter tube that connects the kidney to the bladder. Doctors will prescribe pain medication for the duration of the cycle until the stone is passed. But there are also alternative options for relief from the extreme discomfort. They include:
- Soaking in a hot bath or hot tub - Application of natural Arnica pain patches - Sitting with a tennis ball pressed against the painful area of the back - Flushing the body with up to three liters of water a day - Meditation and imagery - Listening to music through headphones - Yoga - Exercise - Foot reflexology
While no single therapy may completely eliminate the pain of passing a kidney stone, the utilization of several different alternative methods can make surviving the process less traumatic.
Kidney Stone Prevention
People who have suffered one kidney stone can be as much as eighty percent more
likely to suffer a recurrence within the next ten years. Simple steps can help delay or even
prevent another occurrence. The most important ones include:
- Drinking at least ten, and up to fourteen, 8 oz glasses of water a day
- Adding two or three glasses of orange juice or lemonade to the daily diet
- Taking a magnesium supplement
- Moderating the intake of salt, red meat and foods that are high in oxalates
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
As in all disease prevention, leading a healthy lifestyle is the best
defense against kidney stones.
The Future of Kidney Stones
In 2008, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center released
the findings of a study that suggested global warming would likely cause an increase in
the proportion of population affected by kidney stones. Hot, arid conditions create a
greater possibility of dehydration throughout the day. The geographic southwestern
United States is known as the kidney-stone belt because of a higher than normal
rate of kidney stones per capita. As the planet warms, that area is expected to expand.
Those between the ages of twenty and seventy will benefit from prevention vigilance.
Accepting responsibility for lifestyle changes that incorporate
kidney stone prevention techniques can go a long way toward remaining kidney stone free.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
The National Institute of Health