10 Great Ways of Passing Kidney Stones

You may develop kidney stones for many different reasons. They may develop when your urine becomes concentrated, which in turn makes acid salts and minerals to stick together and form stones. These stones can affect different parts of your urinary tract system from your kidneys all the way down to your bladder. You may find some relief by passing kidney stones, but the process of passing these stones can itself be quite painful. The good thing is that they do not cause permanent damage while passing, which means you sometimes need to drink lots of water and take pain medication to pass a kidney stone. That is not always the case though.

How to Know If I Have Kidney Stones

Before trying any method of passing kidney stones, you need to ensure that you really have them. You usually experience no symptom until the stone starts moving around in your kidney. It may sometimes pass into your ureters and cause certain signs and symptoms, such as pain on urination, pain in the back and side, below the ribs, and pink, brown or red urine.

Pain may be quite severe but usually comes in waves. You may start urinating more and experience some other symptoms such as nausea, cloudy and foul-smelling urine, chills and fevers, and urinating small amounts of urine at a time. You may have to see your doctor if pain is so severe, you notice blood in urine, or you have pain with fever and chills.

Home Remedies for Kidney Stones

While there are different methods available for passing kidney stones, what works for you usually depends on the size of the stone. You will get good results from home treatments if you have stones less than 3 mm in size. Only 20% of stones may pass with home treatment if they are at least 8 mm in size. You will require professional medical treatment to get rid of stones larger than 1 cm in size.

Here are some effective home remedies you can trust for passing kidney stones.

1. Drink Adequate Water

Drinking plenty of water will always help flush out kidney stones. You may have to drink up to 2.8 liters a day to see results. If you notice clear urine when you make a bathroom visit, it usually means you are drinking enough water.

2. Use Lemon to Break the Stone

While increasing your water intake, you can also squeeze a lemon into water to help break the stone. Lemon juice contains citric acid that helps break up calcium-based stones and make it easier for you to pass stones. You should aim to consume up to 125ml of pure lemon juice a day.

3. Reduce Salt and Protein Intake

Limit intake of salt and meat protein because salt increases calcium in your urine, whereas protein increases levels of oxalate, calcium and uric acid in the urine. Meat protein contains loads of sulfur that makes problem worse.

4. Add Fiber to Your Diet

Include more fresh vegetables and whole grains to your diet when trying to pass a kidney stone. Most fiber-rich foods also contain phytate that reduces crystallization of calcium salts and prevents kidney stones. Add wheat, corn, rice bran, apple, berries, artichoke, etc. into your diet.

5. Avoid Soft Drinks

When passing kidney stones, you have to avoid soft drinks. Caffeinated beverages will also make things worse because they have phosphoric acid that complicates the condition. You can have decaffeinated teas and coffees, but you will still be better off drinking water than drinking anything else.

6. Do Proper Exercise

While trying to get rid of kidney stones, you should do mild to moderate exercise regularly. This helps keep the stone moving and makes it easier to pass it. Be sure to stick to light exercise such as walking to avoid feeling any pain during exercise. Take some rest if you start to experience any pain due to the stone moving around in your kidneys.

Medical Procedures for Passing Kidney Stones

When home remedies do not work and you have larger kidney stones, using medical procedures to pass kidney stones is the best bet. Your doctor may recommend different treatment options considering your condition and the size of the stone.

1. Use Sound Waves to Break Up Larger Stones

Doctors do it during a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) that involves using sound waves to create strong vibrations that help break the stones. The procedure usually takes 45-60 minutes to complete.

It may produce some side effects such as bruising on the abdomen or back, blood in the urine, bleeding around the kidney, and pain while the stone passes through the urinary tract.

2. Rid Small Stones with a Scope

Doctors use a thin lighted tube with a camera to get rid of a smaller stone in your kidney or ureters. Your doctor will use special tools to break the stone into smaller pieces, which will then pass in your urine. You need local or general anesthesia during the procedure.

3. Remove Large Kidney Stones with Surgery

Doctors do it through a procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy that involves using a small telescope to look into the kidney and then inserting instruments through an incision in your back to remove the stones. You will be under general anesthesia and may have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days.

4. Treating Underlying Conditions

In addition to these options, your doctor may also consider the reason why you develop kidney stones. For example, this may happen due to overactive parathyroid glands that raise your calcium levels and produce calcium phosphate stones. Parathyroid gland surgery is recommended in this case to keep you from worrying about passing kidney stones. 

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