Passing Kidney Stones
Secrets To Passing Kidney Stones Naturally
Don't take the phrase "secrets to passing kidney stones" too seriously. You don't have to purchase a special bottle of medication, two for the price of one - limited time only, or buy a book. At times you are given a couple of "secrets" and then have to purchase a book to get the real information.
In truth, passing kidney stones can often occur without extreme pain in the comfort of your own home. There are of course those instances where medical intervention is needed and we'll touch on that. But in most cases, you can get rid of those pesky little lumps either without discomfort or with keeping discomfort to a minimum. Kidney stones are not all alike in terms of chemical composition, but in general they all form when chemicals in the urine separate and form crystals, which in turn grow into a larger mass, a stone. Kidney stones typically consist of a combination of calcium and an oxalate or phosphate. As far as you're concerned when you're trying to pass kidney stones, a stone is a stone, and you could care less about its composition.
A physician would be interested of course, and should medical help be needed in passing or removing a stone, a knowledge of what the stone is made up of can be of help in preventing stones from forming in the future. Normally the urine contains chemicals which inhibit crystals and stones from forming, but every individual's chemistry is a little bit unique, and some people may not have quite the right chemical balance to completely prevent stones from forming. In this sense, if your parents and grandparents suffered from kidney stones, you may be predisposed to getting them yourself. Not that you will, but your chances are higher than that of most people. If you live in conditions where you tend to get dehydrated often, say in a very hot climate, your chances of getting kidney stones will increase as well. Anything which causes urine to become more concentrated increases the possibility of stones forming.
Medical Treatment - It used to be that if one had difficulty in passing kidney stones, open surgery was the only option available. These days, a common treatment is shock wave therapy, termed Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy, or ESWL for short. The body is subjected to shock waves which do not affect soft tissue and bones, but cause the harder kidney stones to disintegrate, after which they are easily passed.
Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy is another treatment. This is a minimally invasive surgical treatment in which an instrument called a nephroscope locates and removes the stone. The stone is drawn out through a small tunnel the instrument makes and a short hospital stay is usually required, but nothing like what used to be required for more invasive surgery.
Drink Plenty Of Water - So, what are the secrets to passing kidney stones on your own? Actually there's only one, plus some additional things you can do to prevent them from recurring or from occurring in the first place. Assuming the stones are small enough so that professional medical treatment will not be required, the first rule is to drink plenty of water. Nutritionists are fond of saying we should all drink 8 glasses of water everyday. This is good advice that few of us follow rigorously, if at all. If you have a kidney stone though, you'll want to do that. Maybe even drink twice that amount. It's hard to drink too much water, at least to the point it might cause harm. Sixteen glasses a day isn't going to do that, but will certainly help you pass a stone.
Citrate And Salt - If you've had one bout with kidney stones, there's a pretty good chance that you're susceptible as far as having more stones is concerned. To prevent this you can do several things, besides drinking more water than you usually do. One is to drink citrus juices or lemonade on a regular basis. Citrate in the urine is very effective in keeping minerals from crystallizing and forming stones. Also cut down on salt where you can as salt promotes calcium deposits in the bloodstream. Our body needs calcium of course, but not calcium deposits in the bloodstream or excessive calcium in the urinary tract.
High-Oxalate Foods - Finally, limit your intake of high-oxalate foods. There are some good foods in this category, and you don't have to eliminate those you are particularly fond of. Just back off a bit. Some high-oxalate foods are peanuts, chocolate, rhubarb, spinach, sweet potatoes, wheat germ and beets. There are some very nutritious foods here and it's difficult to tell someone not to eat their spinach, but if passing kidney stones has become a ritual for you, it might be best to find an acceptable substitute. And don't worry too much about foods containing calcium, like dairy products. You need calcium, and taken naturally, calcium should not cause a problem. Calcium supplements might however.