If you’ve been experiencing excruciating pain along your side and back or in the belly and groin area, then there is a possibility you have developed kidney stones. The severity of the pain has been compared to pain during childbirth or getting stabbed with a knife.
Kidney stones are of different sizes. Some are as small as a fraction of an inch, while others can grow to a few inches across. In certain cases, some kidney stones some kidney stones can become so big that they take up the entire space inside the kidney. Smaller kidney stones will not show any symptoms until they move into the ureter area. Kidney stones can be very painful. In most cases, they pass out of the body on their own, but in some cases an operation is required to break up or remove the stones that aren’t able to pass out on their own.
The most common cause of kidney stones is lack of water in the body. In the absence of adequate water to dilute uric acid, urine becomes more acidic, and can lead to the formation of stones. They may also develop due to high levels of calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus in the urine. In lower amounts, these minerals may not cause any problems as they are normally found in urine. “Other risk factors include medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, urinary tract infections, renal tubular acidosis, hyperparathyroidism, etc. and the medications taken to treat them. A diet high in protein and sodium, a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and high blood pressure are other possible reasons,” says Dr Anil Mehta, a Delhi-based general physician, who is also on the Lybrate medical app.
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Small and relatively less symptomatic kidney stones require no immediate surgery and conservative treatments help expel them. It is better to take precautions and prevent kidney stones as they can be extremely painful and recurring. Some common measures include consuming a healthy diet, taking adequate amount of water and regular physical activity. “Drinking plenty of water round the clock (2–3 litres per day) helps in moving the stones downward in the urinary tract into the bladder and reduces pain and other symptoms. Pain killers and anti-spasmodics (drugs that reduce muscle spasms) also help in solving the problem,” advises Dr M Udaya Kumar Maiya, who is from Delhi and the medical director at Portea Medical, a home-based healthcare service.
Some natural remedies for removing kidney stones or making sure that you never get them are as follows:
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has citric acid which can help dissolve the stones. It also makes blood and urine alkaline and regular consumption of apple cider vinegar can help flush out toxins from the body.
“These resemble the kidneys and for a good reason. They are rich in fiber and in minerals and B vitamins, hence help protect the kidneys from stone formation,” Dr Maiya said.
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A good source of potassium, pomegranate juice helps in preventing the formation of mineral crystals. It also has astringent properties and flushes out toxins from the kidney.
“Soak these overnight in water and consume them first thing in the morning. This helps dissolve kidney stones. They are also rich in fibre and therefore beneficial in preventing the formation of stones. Their magnesium content cleanses the kidneys,” Dr Maiya explained.
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