When you read ‘Urinary Calculus’, it might seem like a complicated medical term. Well, the name carries some weight, but the meaning is simple – it means stones in the urinary tract. In Ayurvedic terminology, it is called Mutrashmari, where Mutra stands for urine and Ashmari stands for stones.
The kidney stones or renal stones found in the urinary tract are a solid mass made up of very small crystals. They occur when salts present in the urine take the shape of a solid crystal. The stones can be found in the kidney and ureters as well. They end up blocking the urine flow and can cause kidney damage, infection and even kidney failure.
The incidence of urinary calculus is rising by the day the world over. And it is affecting younger population too. The first step you need to take is to bring changes in your diet and lifestyle patterns. Though most kidney stones can be treated without surgery, it is advisable to consult a doctor whenever pain shoots up.
What Doctors Say About Urinary Calculus
Most of you would like to know the reasons of formation of stones in the body. It happens when excess of salts and minerals build up, or when they don’t get flushed out of your system in the normal way.
Physicians are of the view that unhealthy diets and lifestyles are increasing the chances of kidney stones and making it common in people across all age groups. Dr. M. Prabhakar who is the Consultant Urologist at Nova Specialties, and who has authored the research paper on “RIRS for 1.6 – 3.5 cm upper ureteric/renal calculus” in the Indian Journal of Urology has said “Not just adults, an increasing number of youngsters too are now being diagnosed with kidney stones, brought about by an unhealthy lifestyle”.
Dr. Shyamala Gopi, who is the consultant urologist at Apollo Hospitals is of the view “Urinary stones may occur in children too. These kids may have underlying metabolic or kidney disorders and need to be evaluated. Earlier incidence of these stones was considered higher in men. Now, we find there is almost equal incidence in men and women.” (The Hindu)
Identifying Kidney Stones
When they are tiny, kidney stones might get washed away by urine. But as their size increases, flushing them out of the body becomes tougher. Dr. Prabhakar further adds “The stones block the urinary tract and prevents the normal flow of urine. If the blockage is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the kidney.”
The symptoms of kidney stones do not come out clear. Some of you may feel specific symptoms such as pain in the abdomen or lower back, in the external genitalia and groin, get burning sensation during urination or blood in urine and increased urge and frequency of urination.
Non-specific symptoms of stones in the kidney include fever, irritability, nausea or vomiting. General physician Dr. H. Agarwal points out “Unfortunately, most people suspect or become aware of kidney stones and take medical help only when these stones trigger the severe pain in kidney, abdomen area, ureter or external genitalia.”
Types and Causes of Kidney Stones
There are many components of kidney stones and vary from calcium salts, uric acid, struvite and cystine. The most common types of kidney stones are calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate that account for more than 80% of stones. These are followed by uric acid which makes 8–10% and then cystine and struvite in smaller batches.
As such, no direct causes have been identified for stone formation in the urinary tract. However, there are few scientific theories that indicate the cause of formation.
- Genetic: Some people in the same family are likely to have kidney stones. This can be one of the governing reasons behind the ailment.
- Foods: This is not such a dominating factor as one may think. But if your diet is rich in calcium oxalate and uric acid, then you need to stop taking it in order to avoid the chances of urinary calculus.
- Medication and Illnesses: Consumption of drugs that have excess of antacids or calcium pills increases the probability of stone formation. Some illnesses related to kidney stone formation also lead to increased risk of kidney stones formation.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Here are some of the symptoms that signal the presence of kidney stones:
- Pain during urination
- Sudden rush of pain in the left or right lower abdomen
- Burning sensation while passing urine
- Pain in the urinary bladder and urethra
- Decreased output of urine
- Urine yellow or reddish-yellow in colour
- Lethargy or laziness
- A sense of vomiting
- Headache and bodyache
Simple Dietary Tips to avoid Kidney Stones
– Water is the best remedy to fight this ailment. Keep drinking adequate water at frequent intervals, say about twelve to fifteen 200ml glasses of water every day.
– Drink 350 milk or take in milk products of equivalent value daily to maintain optimal calcium level.
– Have more of fibrous vegetables such as beans, green leafy vegetables, etc. and fruits rich in vitamin C such as oranges and lemons. They have potassium citrate and prevent stone formation.
– Reduce the intake of cola and aerated beverages. Similarly, reduce cups of tea/coffee as they lead to dehydration, causing crystallisation of salts in urine, and thereby formation of urinary stones.
– Reduce intake of high calorie foods, and the ones having excess of fats, and refined carbohydrates.
– Reduce consuming oxalate rich foods such as red meat and spinach.
– Avoid ready-to-eat junk food as they can lead to increased mineral levels in our body causing stone formation.
– Stay away from taking high protein intake or supplements.
– Doing daily exercise for about 30 minutes helps a lot in keeping kidney stones at bay.
Natural Remedies to treat Kidney Stones
- Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
This combination is not only ideal in treating gallbladder stones it is good for treating kidney stones too. Lemons have citric acid that break down the stones and prevent their further growth.
– Add olive oil to 4 tbsp or a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice (both should be in equal quantity).
– Drink it and follow it up by having adequate water.
– Repeat this twice or thrice a day for consecutively 3 days (you can stop this remedy if you pass the stones in a single dose).
– However, this remedy is not advisable to pass kidney stones that are larger in size. In such a case, you need to consult a doctor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
This is a good way to dissolve kidney stones.
– Combine 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp honey in a cup of warm water.
– Drink this concoction few times in a day and see the results.
This is an all-time health remedy which is a favourite when it comes to maintaining the overall health of kidneys. It can also play a good role in driving out stones from the urinary tract.
– Mix 1 tsp of basil juice with 1 tsp honey. Sip it every morning for at least 6 months. As an option, you can drink pure basil juice or chew 2 to 3 basil leaves daily.
– Yet another option is to drink basil tea. Boil 5 to 6 basil leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes. Pour it in a cup and add 1 tsp honey. Now drink this tea when it reaches the room temperature.
This fruit plays a dual role in the treatment of kidney stones (both juice and the seeds).
– Eat one whole pomegranate or drink a glass of pomegranate juice on a daily basis,. You can also put pomegranate in a fruit salad to avail the benefits.
The juice of wheatgrass juice is effective in treating kidney stones. It is also rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, amino acids, and vitamin B.
– Take wheatgrass juice 2-3 times daily. You can also mix a glass of wheatgrass juice with one 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp juice extracted from basil leaves.
- Bran Flakes
Whole grain-rich and fiber-rich diets have been known to reduce kidney stones. They are of great help in getting rid of calcium in the urine.
– Take 1 bowl of bran flakes daily. It has 8 mg of fiber that cuts down the risk of kidney stones.
– You can try whole grain bread that is rich in nutrients and fiber.
- Kidney Beans (rajma)
Being high in fiber, kidney beans are helpful in treating kidney stones.
– Remove the beans from inside the pods, and then put the beans in hot water. Simmer it on low flame for few hours until the beans turn soft. Cool the liquid after straining it and drink it many times throughout the day in order to relieve kidney stone pain.
-You can also try having kidney beans in soup or salad.
You can easily say goodbye to kidney stones by following these simple dietary precautions and do consult your doctor if you still form stones that cause extreme discomfort and pain.