Kidney Stones ~Nephrolithiasis~
Kidney Stones are stones that form in the tissues of the Kidneys or the draining structures of the Urinary Tract. Also known as: Renal Calculi, Renal Stone Disease or Nephrolithiasis/Urolithiasis.
Kidney stones (calculi) are hardened mineral deposits that form in the kidneys. They are comprised of various combinations of Calcium and Oxalic Acid (Calcium Oxalate), uric acid and less commonly, Calcium Phosphate. They originate as microscopic particles and develop into stones over time. The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and add them to the urine produced by the kidneys. When waste materials in the urine do not dissolve completely, crystals and kidney stones are likely to form.
Kidney Stones cause severe pain in the Kidneys (known as Renal Cholic). This is one of the most severe forms of pain known to humans. In the West, approximately 10% of the male population and 5% of the female population experience a kidney stones attack during their lifetime. Kidney stones occur more commonly in persons above 30 years old and are more prevalent during the summer months, due to the increased risk of dehydration.
Signs & Symptoms of kidney stones include severe lower-stomach pain, an inability to urinate, nausea and vomiting, blood in the urine (haematuria), increased frequency of urination, pain during urination (stinging, burning), tenderness in the abdomen and kidney region and urinary tract infections resulting in fever, chills, loss of appetite, and confusion.
Small, smooth kidney stones may remain in the kidney or pass without causing pain (called “silent” stones). A lodged stone can block the flow of urine, causing pressure to build in the affected ureter and kidney. Increased pressure results in stretching and spasm, which cause severe pain. Regardless of size, stones may pass out of the kidney, become lodged in the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureter), and cause severe pain that begins in the lower back and radiates to the side or groin.
A very recent discovery has found that compounds added to milk products as bulking agents, especially in baby milk powder formulations, is responsible for kidney stone formation. Various baby and milk products have been recalled from shelves after hundreds of Chinese babies have been put on kidney dialysis after the discovery of this toxic compound in their kidneys.
Naturopathic Nutrition can offer a great deal of support in this area as diet seems to play a huge role in the formation of kidney stones. A naturopathic nutritionist recommends reducing foods high in oxalates such as cchocolate, tea, spinach, beet tops, peanuts, almonds, pecans, as well as salt, refined/processed foods, animal protein, grapefruits, additives, preservatives, and flavourings. Limited intake of sugar is beneficial as sugar increases urinary oxalate, and in some reports, urinary calcium as well. As a result, some doctors recommend that people who form stones avoid sugar all together. Cut out caffeine as this increases urinary calcium; cadmium in cigarettes greatly increases the risk of kidney stone formation; fizzy drinks which contain phosphoric acid affect calcium metabolism which increases kidney stone formation or recurrence risk. Uncooked lentils are high in phytic acid and oxalates which can be greatly lessened by pre-soaking, discarding soaked water and especially by sprouting.
Supplementing with Calcium can be a causative factor in the formation of kidney stones as is excessive consumption of calcium products. Calcium oxalate is a particularly toxic form of calcium in cases of kidney stones and should be avoided as is the overconsumption of cow’s cheeses, yoghurt, ice-cream and milk products. As well as the toxic bulking agents added to these products that proves indigestible by the body and incredibly harmful.
Alkalising the body through barley grass, wheat grass, hot water and lemon, and by increasing fruit and vegetable intake can significantly decrease the recurrence of kidney stones. Nutrition supplementation with potassium bicarbonate or citrate, vitamin C and magnesium has been found to decrease urinary calcium excretion and help rejuvenate the kidneys. Trials undertaken in Thailand reported that eating pumpkin seeds reduces urinary risk factors for forming kidney stones.
Herbal remedies can greatly assist in breaking down and safely eliminating kidney stones. Uva-ursi, cranberry, parsley, and nettle help to rid the body of uric acid and reduce the symptoms associated with kidney stones. Contact us for any of the products mentioned or for any further advice.
Kidney stones are a far too common disorder that can be alleviated through diet and nutrition. We can help ourselves greatly through nutrition, herbs, diet, and by reducing the causative factors in our lifestyles in order to avoid this potentially dangerous and very painful condition. Always remember knowledge is there to be shared and can benefit and save lives.
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Article written by Caroline Evans