Alternative methods to treat kidney stones

Kidney stones, also known as calculi or nephrolithiasis, are abnormal, hard, crystalline materials formed inside the Kidneys. The size of kidney stones may be very small in the form of sand grains, the size of a pea, or even larger than a marble.

The four common types of stones found in Kidneys are calcium stones, struvite stones, cystine stones, or uric acid stones.

Symptoms
The symptom of kidney stones largely depends on the size of stone, its location, and associated factors. Some stones are harmless (mostly silent without symptoms), while others cause sudden excruciating, cramping pain in the lower back and/or in the side, abdomen, or groin. Pain often starts suddenly and will be intense. In case kidney stones, the pain usually starts at the mid back and often radiates to the groin, while for men, it may radiate to testicle and scrotum as well.

Other symptoms associated with pain are sweating, nausea and vomiting. At times there may be blood present in the urine, as the stone can irritate the ureter or kidney. Any associated infection in the urinary tract, apart from stones, may result in fever and chills. Kidney stones may also lead to other symptoms such as difficulty in urination, penile or testicular pain and urinary urgency.

Causes
Kidney stones are formed due to imbalance of water, minerals, salts and other substances in the urine. The cause of imbalance determines the type of kidney stone that you have.

One of the main reasons for formation of kidney stones is inadequate water intake. Dehydration or loss of fluid from the body is the main risk factor for kidney stones.

Urinary tract infection can also lead to formation of kidney stones. However, the stones so formed (called struvite stones) can grow quite large and block kidney, ureter or bladder.

Certain medical conditions such as gout patients, people with parathyroid disorders, those on chemotherapy, people with intestinal diseases, or those after surgery, are at higher risk of developing uric acid stones.

Kidney stones can also be caused due to hereditary factors. If one or both of your parents had kidney stones, you are at higher risk of developing the same.

Treatment
There is increasing popularity of ayurvedic treatment methods for kidney stones, as people prefer natural alternatives, so as to avoid the side effects associated with prescription drugs. While, silent stones need no treatment, bigger stones can be only removed surgically. Small stones can be dissolved and passed our through urine by administering certain home remedies, and with some ayurvedic remedies that has hardly any side effects.

Ayurvedic remedies
Some ayurvedic remedies that are useful for treatment of kidney stones are:
Gokshura Kada: 15ml of this liquid, can be mixed with equal amount of water. This, when consumed thrice a day, can help in improved urination, relieves burning sensations during urination, which are common in people with kidney stones.

Chader prabhavati (for burning sensation during urination), ber patthar bhasma, crystone tablets, patherina tablet, and calcury tablets are other medications prescribed in Ayurveda for kidney stones.

Rencare capsules (containing Gokshura, Pashaan Bheda, Cornsilk, Dhania Leaves and Usher), help in stopping bleeding within urinary tract, dissolves stones, relaxes the bladder and relieves irritation, and improves urinary flow.

Kshaara parpati, Ashmari hara kashaaya, Shilajit, and Chandra-prabhaa vati are some other effective formulations.

Herbal therapy
The bark of henna plant (known as Mehendi in India), is very effective in removing urinary stones. Make a decoction by boiling one part of the bark in 20 parts of water, till the quantity of water reduces to quarter of its original quantity. Consume 20ml to 30ml of this, twice or thrice a day.

Paashanabheda and Varuna, are two important herbs, effective in treating cases of urinary caliculus.

Yoga:

Certain asanas, when practiced regularly, can stimulate kidneys. Some among them that may of particular use are Pavana Muktasana, Uttana Padasana, Bharadvajasana, Marichyasana, Viparita Karani,

Home remedies:
Hot water bath and hot fomentation at the lower back can bring relief from symptoms.

Drinking plenty of coconut and barley water can help, as they flush out the stones (if they are small), and is the first and best home remedy for kidney stones.

Onion decoction, prepared by adding water to the onion bulbs with sugar is also useful.

Water-rich fruit, water melon, is also rich in potassium salts, and is a safe diuretic. Therefore, it can be helpful in dealing with this condition.

A decoction made from fresh leaves and seeds of radish can help expel stones. Horse-gram soup is also an excellent food supplement.

Boil 2 figs in water and drink this every morning for at least a month.

Drink a glass of fresh tomato juice, with a pinch of salt and pepper for flavor, every morning.

Banana stem consumed in any form, particularly its juice, is an excellent remedy, as it is highly rich in fibre, and has the ability to flush out the stones completely, and prevent formation of new ones.

In fact, even pure lemon juice can be helpful in breaking down or dissolving minor stones.

Lifestyle / diet modifications

Include more of red kidney beans (also known as rajma daal), celery, basil leaves and fruits such as apples, pomegranate, water melon and grapes, in daily diet, as they are considered beneficial for people with kidney stones.

Include more fibre in your diet, such as oat bran, whole wheat breads, beans, cabbage, carrots, wheat cereals, and beans. Limit intake of pork, beef and poultry. Avoid grapefruit juice, and foods with high oxalate content such as nuts, caffeine and chocolates. Use salt sparingly and preferably take a low-protein diet.

Avoid strong drinks and alcoholic beverages and coffee. Also limit intake of fatty food, carbohydrates and other refined foods. Instead, consume generous amounts of vegetables and fruits. Even regular exercises can help stones pass through the body. Get plenty of sleep and do not overeat.