Kidney Stone- Causes and Treatment
A dreaded diagnosis to hear is kidney stone! This is the most common disorder of the kidneys. In the U.S alone there are over a million clinic visits per year with over 300,000 emergency room visits. Unfortunately, as is reported by the National Institute of Health, one in 11 people have had or will have a kidney stone in their life.
So, let’s start with how the kidneys fit in the urinary system and where kidney stones can reside. Each healthy person has two kidneys. They are the shape of a bean. Each of them is about the size of an apple. They are situated in the middle of your back below the rib cage.
Inside these two bean-shaped structures are millions of microscopic ‘nephrons’ that are responsible for filtering the blood. If they do a good job, the blood stays healthy and the waste that is filtered out keeps the kidneys healthy. The waste is then passed from the kidneys down tubes called ureters and both ureters end up connecting to the bladder. The bladder then stores the urine until it is evacuated from the body.
A kidney stone can reside in either the kidneys or it may pass down one of the ureters and it is called ureterolithiasis. If a stone is in the kidney it is called nephrolithiasis. Kidney stone symptoms include severe pain and bleeding. Sometimes a person will have back pain and sometimes flank pain or kidney pain. Pain when urinating is another symptom.Those that are most likely to get kidney stones are men that are non-hispanic and white, overweight and prone to dehydration. Heredity plays a large part in those likely to get kidney stones also.
Kidney stone prevention is decided when one knows what the kidney stone is made of. If you have had a kidney stone, chances are you will have another one. It is important for the stone to be analyzed and this can be done by straining the urine if the stone is small enough to pass from the body. It may take a few days or a week to pass a small stone.
There are four types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite or cystine. If the stone is determine to be calcium oxalate, in order to reverse kidney disease, the patient is told to reduce animal protein, increase fluids, watch their intake of calcium antacids and reduce sodium intake from salty foods.
A diet to avoid kidney stones includes fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of fluids. Water is the preferred fluid with citrus drinks next on the list. Caffeine should be limited as well as decaffeinated green tea as both contain things that will dehydrate the body. Kidney stone natural treatment will include lots of fluid and healthy foods with less red meat and animal protein.
How do you treat kidney stones? The most common method of removal is for the patient to drink extra amounts of water and wait for the stone to pass, if the stone is small enough. If the stone is larger, it may need to be crushed with shock waves by a procedure called shock wave lithotripsy (SWL). This treats the majority of cases. The last resort for larger stones, which is not that common, is by nephrolithotomy whereby a small incision is made in the back and then the kidney or ureter is opened up to obtain the stone.
Many people want to know how to treat kidney disease. By reviewing the above suggestions of drinking extra fluids, reducing calcium antacids and eating more fruits and vegetables instead of animal protein, they will certainly reduce their chances of hearing that dreaded diagnosis of kidney stone!