|About Kidney Stones|
Kidneys are two small fist-sized organs, located behind the abdomen, on either side of the spinal cord. Their main function is to flush out the toxins from the blood in the form of urine. Kidney ‘stones’ is a medical condition that has found mention since prehistoric times. Archaeologists have found evidence related to the presence of kidney stones in the Egyptian mummies.
Men are known to suffer more than women from this extremely painful affliction which is generally seen in people between the ages of 30-50yrs.It is more prevalent in industrialized countries, possibly due to the adversely fast lifestyle, while in developing countries bladder stones are more common, especially among young children.
Kidney stones or calculi are formed when the urine becomes concentrated. They may occur anywhere along the urinary tract causing pain, obstruction and secondary infection. Of late, the incidence of kidney stones has increased among the general population, which experts believe is due, largely, to the change in lifestyle and dietary habits.
Common types of kidney stones
Calculi of the urinary tract vary in size. They may be microscopic crystalline stones or large stones that are several centimeters in size. 90% of these stones usually consist of calcium in combination with oxalate or phosphate.
There are about five distinct types of urinary tract stones that are classified according to the material that it is composed of. They are:
Calcium phosphate stones
Calcium oxalate stones
Ammonium phosphate stones
Uric acid stones
Struvite or infection stones
Causes for kidney stone formation
Kidney stones are formed when urine becomes concentrated. Certain substances like calcium, oxalate, uric acid or cystine in the urine leaves small residues or crystals, along the inner surface of the kidneys. Most people have chemicals in their urine which act as inhibitors and prevent kidney stone formation. But these inhibitors do not function in everyone, leading to the formation of stones in them.
Several factors contribute to the formation of kidney stones. The chemicals that make up the stones, like calcium, are part of our daily diet. However many researchers believe that diet is likely only to influence a person who is susceptible to the condition. The other common causes of kidney stones are infections and obstructions of the urinary tract. Some of the most common causes are listed below:
Dietary factors seem to influence the type of stones that are seen among people from different parts of the world.
Hot climate and excessive sweating can cause depletion of body fluids. This can result in highly concentrated urine, precipitation and stone formation.
Certain pathological conditions are also seen associated with formation of renal and urinary stone formation. Obstruction, or infection of urinary tract may lead to formation of phosphate stones.
A person with a family history of kidney stones is more likely to develop the condition
Certain disorders of the kidney, like polycystic kidneys, increase the risk of developing kidney stones
Hyperparathyroidism and certain metabolic disorders increase the chances of developing the stones.
The pH of urine also determines the formation of stones in the urinary tract. If the urine is alkaline, calcium phosphate stones may get precipitated.
Signs and symptoms of kidney stones
The most typical symptom is fluctuating pain, which can be excruciating. Many types of renal stones, particularly phosphate stones, are asymptomatic or ‘silent’, unless they accompany an infection or an obstruction. In most cases flow of urine is blocked and there is back pain or pain along the sides, just below the ribs.
Most patients complain of fixed, intermittent dull pain in the loins, or in region of the kidneys, which is aggravated by movement and gets better while resting. Severe pain occurs if the stone gets lodged in the ureter. Pain may increase steadily and peak in a few minutes radiating to the flanks, testis or labium.
Other symptoms are:
Profuse sweating and pallor occur with pain, at times
Nausea and vomiting
Chills and fevers
Blood tinged or cloudy urine
Foul smelling urine
Constant urge to urinate
Recurrent urinary infection.
Diagnosis of kidney stones
In most cases kidney stones are detected during a general health check up or the diagnosis of another health condition.
X-ray of kidneys and urinary bladder or a sonogram usually helps to pin point 90% of the stones. Pure uric acid stones are difficult to detect.
Excretory urograms or intravenous pyelography reveals the entire urinary system. A radio opaque liquid is injected (sodium diatrizoate) slowly. Radiograms taken after every 10 minutes reveal the physiological and anatomical details of the kidney. Stone in the ureter is seen as a dense shadow.
Ultrasound of the kidneys reveals pathological changes. Large stones can be easily detected while even the position of smaller stones can be observed.
Treatment of kidney stones - Conventional Management
Kidney stones are treatable and can be prevented with dietary changes and lifestyle modifications. With adequate water intake,three litres a day, small crystals can be flushed out spontaneously without causing damage to the kidneys.
Some of the steps involved in conventional management of kidney stones are:
Local heat application
Increased fluid intake ( 2 litres-4 litres daily). Small stones may pass out on their own, but larger stones need intervention.
Avoiding preparations that may contain Vitamin D
Spinach and green leafy vegetables avoided in the diet of those with oxalate stones
Lithotriptor is used to powder larger stones using shock waves under water, aimed at the stone, from the body surface.
Renal stones, when large, are required to be removed surgically
Adequate fluid intake and a healthy, well balanced diet helps to prevent kidney stones formation.
Homeopathy and Kidney Stones
Homeopathy offers symptomatic relief without having to go through the throes of surgery.
Homeopathic remedies are prescribed on the basis of symptoms presented in the sick person. Different individuals, suffering from the same disease, can display entirely different symptoms. At times a patient may display certain symptoms that are not associated with kidney stones at all.
However, to make it easier to pinpoint the remedies that are most commonly used to treat a particular condition, the symptoms experienced by previous patients are grouped together in the homeopathic repertory. Symptoms that are commonly experienced by patients who have kidney stones are listed along with the most commonly used medicines that would ease the symptoms.
Common Homeopathic remedies for renal stones
Some of the most common remedies used for kidney stones are listed below.
Aconite-Useful in the acute stage. Urine is scanty, and hot to feel. Urine is at times bloody. Patient perspires profusely. Complaints are aggravated by lying on painful side.
Arnica-Dark brick colored sediment in urine. Painful urination.
Belladonna-useful remedy when urine is scanty, dark and cloudy, with lots of phosphate stones or when the region over bladder is sensitive. Also used in the treatment of blood in urine.
Berberis vulgaris-used in the treatment of patients who complain of sensation of some urine remaining after urination, or in those whose urine contains mucus with sediments. Also used in the treatment of bubbling sensation in kidneys, pain in loins and thighs during urination, marked soreness in lumbar region. With pain radiating to the groin
Calcarea carbonicum-Used when patient complains of dark brown colored urine. Urine is often bloody or with white sediments.
Cantharis-This is used when symptoms come on with marked intensity and rapidity. Burning is a marked feature in this remedy. Whole of the urinary system seems to be in an inflammed state. Desire to defecate while urinating is also present.
Colo cynthus-Intense burning along urethra when patient passes stools. Hard red crystals in urine, that sticks to vessel. Pain on urinating radiates all over abdomen. Pain is relieved by bending forward.
Nitric acid-Used for renal colic where pain is likened to that of splinters. Urine is scanty, dark and offensive. Typically, urine is strong smelling, like horse urine. At times urine is aluminous.
Lycopodium-Primarily useful in healing right sided complaints. Patient is emaciated from above downwards. The complaints seem to peculiarly aggravate between 4-8 P.M. There are many symptoms pointing to pathology in the kidney. Red sand appears copiously in urine in acute conditions. It is indicated for retention of urine.
Sarsaparilla-Very good remedy that helps during renal colic. Urine is scanty, sandy, often blood tinged. Urine dribbles on sitting. Renal colic in children can be treated with this remedy. Child screams in pain before urination, and there is sand in the child’s diaper. Pain radiates from right kidney into the flanks.
Although we live in an age when quick fixes are the order of the day, more and more people are testing the waters of complementary medicine. This is probably due to the increased awareness regarding the adverse side effects of the long-term use of conventional medicines .Homeopathy not only treats the symptoms of a disease but also tries to root out the underlying cause. Besides providing individualized treatment, this system of medicine has very little side effects and is entirely affordable by all.
1.RENAL STONES / KIDNEY STONES
2.URINARY STONE DISEASES
3. KIDNEY STONES IN CHILDREN
1.Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine
2.The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy edited by John H Talbott & Robert Berkow
3.A Manual of Clinical Surgery by Dr.S Das
4.Pocket Manuel of Homoeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory by W.Boericke,M.D
5.Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica by James Tyler Kent
Compiled by: Dr. Monisha Thomas, B.H.M.S
Edited by: Dr. Reeja Tharu