Kidney Stones in the News

Kidney stones have been headline news today, as Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe had to cancel a show in Sydney, Australia yesterday (Sunday, March 10, 2013).

The episode with Neil sparked discussion about kidney stones, as can be seen in the following list of articles and blog posts about Neil’s episode and kidney stones in general:

 

 

 


Before changing anything about your diet please check with your doctor and clear any changes with him/her before beginning. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease nor claim to be a doctor or dietitian. I merely give my opinion based on research I myself have done and/or experienced.

I post information that I have gathered about kidney stones, but this is for information purposes only. I remind you NOT to take matters into your own hands; it’s always best to consult a naturopath, nutritionist, registered dietitian, or doctor who can give you proper guidance. Read full disclaimer here – http://dissolvekidneystonesdiet.com/disclaimer/

18 Simple Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones

Keeping in mind that there are several types of kidney stones and that not all solutions will work for all kinds of stones, the below list are recommended solutions to prevent Calcium Oxalate kidney stones (2/3 of all stones formed):

  • drink lots of fluid (especially water, orange juice, or lemonade)
    • Avoid grapefruit juice
  • Some studies have shown that drinking tea might increase your risk of suffering kidney stones
    • Other studies have shown that, since tea is made mostly of water, the extra fluid you drink negates the risk
  • If you eat foods that are high in calcium, don’t take calcium supplements! Excess calcium will be expelled in your urine, and if you also have oxalic acid in your urine, the two minerals might combine and form those calcium oxalate crystals – also known as kidney stones!
  • Avoid soda
  • minimize meat in your diet
  • stop eating certain nuts, fruits, and vegetables, such as:
    • spinach
    • rhubarb
    • beet greens
    • bran
    • almonds
    • peanuts
    • strawberries
  • Increase potassium by eating more fruits and vegetables (that are not on the above list of ones to avoid)
  • Take citric acid tablets (take citric acid supplements in combination to increase effectiveness)
    • magnesium citrate – this includes citric acid & magnesium
    • potassium citrate – this includes citric acid & potassium
  • Take vitamin B6
  • Reduce salt in your diet
  • Eat more bran
  • Avoid vitamin D supplements
  • Do not take large amounts of Vitamin C supplements
  • Take Chondroitin supplements
  • Take Vitamin E
  • Munch on pumpkin seeds
  • Snack on dried apricots
  • Eat baked potatoes

As always – talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional before you make any changes to your diet or start taking supplements or herbs.


Before changing anything about your diet please check with your doctor and clear any changes with him/her before beginning. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease nor claim to be a doctor or dietitian. I merely give my opinion based on research I myself have done and/or experienced.

I post information that I have gathered about kidney stones, but this is for information purposes only. I remind you NOT to take matters into your own hands; it’s always best to consult a naturopath, nutritionist, registered dietitian, or doctor who can give you proper guidance. Read full disclaimer here - http://dissolvekidneystonesdiet.com/disclaimer/

Resources:
The Natural Pharmacy
Home Remedies from a Country Doctor by Jay Heinrichs
The Doctors Book of Food Remedies

What Causes Kidney Stones?

8mm Kidney Stone (.31 inches) - ImageKidney stones.  Ouch.  Really truly incredibly OUCH.  The pain experienced when passing a kidney stone is excruciating!

Kidney stones can cause back pain or side (flank) pain, either of which may radiate to your groin, causing pain there as well.  Additionally, this pain may be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms (gas, nausea, etc.), as well as chills, fever, and blood in your urine.

So what is a kidney stone and why does it hurt so much?

This question is – believe it or not – difficult to answer, since kidney stones can be made up of different materials.  That said, the most common type of kidney stone (which includes about 67% of them) is made up of a substance called calcium oxalate. Another kind of stone is made up of calcium phosphate. Somewhere around one-fifth of all kidney stones contain no calcium at all (or very little).  This is why it is very important to talk to your doctor – s/he can tell you what kind of kidney stone you have – which can help determine the right course of action to deal with any kidney stones you have (or to avoid getting any more in the future).

Some facts about kidney stones in general:

  • Doctors call kidney stones “renal calculi” and the condition of having kidney stones “nephrolithiasis”
  • Calcium oxalate stones are thought to be very preventable, since they are quite rare in primitive societies.
    • This suggests that kidney stones are primarily a “western civilization” issue, and hence avoidable with changes to diet and or lifestyle.
  • You might pass small stones without even knowing that you had them in the first place
  • Men are four times more likely to have a kidney stone than women are
  • larger stones, which might be as small as the tip of a pen or as large as a pencil eraser (or larger) cause incredible pain as they “pass”
    • “Passing” a kidney stone means that the stone is travelling from the kidney to the bladder through a tiny tube called the ureter (usually 3-4 millimeters in diameter) – this is the time when kidney stones hurt; when they are in the kidney or the bladder, they don’t hurt.  It’s only in between (in the ureter) that they cause the immense pain that many women (who have had stones) say rivals the pain of childbirth – some of these women say it kidney stone pain is even worse than childbirth.
Some people say that kidney stones are rare, but Selene Yeager, author of The Doctors Book of Food Remedies , says that about 10% of the United States population will pass at least one during their lifetime, and the National Institutes of Health say that over the past 20 years, that number has grown.

In reality, a kidney stone is actually a “crystal” made up of uric acid and other minerals – including  calcium or phosphates - that form in your urine.  Picturing a kidney stone as a crystal might help you imagine why they are so painful as they pass through the ureter: Ms. Yeager says that calling kidney stones “kidney barbs” might be more appropriate, since they are sometimes covered with sharp, pointy spikes.

Kidney Stone Magnification Image (attributed to Wikipedia user Kempf EK)

In the image to the right you can really see the sharp, pointy barbs that are part of the reason that passing kidney stones is so painful.

The image to the right also dispels any idea that you may have had (As I did) that a kidney stone is smooth (like skipping stones or river stones).

Kidney stones are not messing around!

“Okay, fine and dandy,” you say. “But how do stones form in the first place?”

Excellent question – and also hard to answer.

Stones might begin to form if the concentration of calcium and/or other minerals in your urine gets too high, or when the pH (acidity level) of your urine changes.

“Awesome! How the hell do I know what my urine’s pH level is?”

Well – you don’t.  But you can pay attention to some signs – like the color of your urine (gross, I know, but necessary).

  • If your urine is clear or colorless (vs. yellow), it’s a good sign that you are – in general – safe from forming kidney stones.  This mainly has to do with how much fluid you are drinking.
  • It’s also been said that the tone of your urine (if it is not clear) can give you an indication:
    • Urine is “bright” yellow (like lemonade) – again, generally a good sign that you are safe from forming kidney stones.
    • Urine is “dark” yellow (like apple juice) – a sign that you need to drink more fluid, or kidney stones might form.

Of several different types of kidney stones, the most common – around 80% of them – are formed from calcium.  A good 67% of the total stones formed in total are “calcium oxalate” stones.  Not all kidney stones are dealt with in the same way, so it is CRITICALLY important that you discuss with your doctor (s/he can tell you what kind of stones you have), but the majority of stones can be avoided or dissolved by reducing your calcium and/or oxalate intake from your diet.  Alternatively, you can also eat or drink foods (or take supplements) that counteract the effects of calcium and oxalate in your body.

Here’s the thing, though – every person is different, and what causes kidney stones in one person may not cause stones in the next person.  Doctors aren’t even in any kind of agreement on what causes kidney stones, but they do agree that diet has a major effect on kidney stone formation.  So you might eat exactly the same food and take exactly the same supplements as your neighbor – and he might never have a kidney stone, but you might suffer from them regularly. Quite possibly the most important point to remember is that if you have had one kidney stone, you have at least a 50% chance that you will have another in the future.

So whether or not your neighbor gets them, you can (and should) make some changes to prevent yourself from getting them in the future – and that’s why this site is here – to arm you with information that you can use to discuss with your healthcare professional in the battle against kidney stones!


Before changing anything about your diet please check with your doctor and clear any changes with him/her before beginning. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease nor claim to be a doctor or dietitian. I merely give my opinion based on research I myself have done and/or experienced.

I post information that I have gathered about kidney stones, but this is for information purposes only. I remind you NOT to take matters into your own hands; it’s always best to consult a naturopath, nutritionist, registered dietitian, or doctor who can give you proper guidance. Read full disclaimer here - http://dissolvekidneystonesdiet.com/disclaimer/

Resources:
The Natural Pharmacy
Home Remedies from a Country Doctor by Jay Heinrichs
The Doctors Book of Food Remedies

Kidney Stones and Water

Pouring WaterDid you know that Benjamin Franklin thought that eating blackberry jelly each night before he went to bed helped prevent kidney stones? According to the book Home Remedies from a Country Doctor by Jay Heinrichs, he did. And Mr. Heinrichs also went on to say that Franklin would have been better served by just drinking more water.

The Natural Pharmacy, a book about natural treatments for common health conditions edited by Alan R. Gaby, M.D., places drinking water at the top of their list of important steps you can take to avoid having another kidney stone (or to prevent having one in the first place). In fact, Dr. Gaby’s list of steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of forming a kidney stone (whether it would be your first or one of many) is topped with this statement:

Drink plenty of fluids: water, lemonade, most fruit juices can dilute the substances that form kidney stones. AVOID: grapefruit juice and soft drinks

Since kidney stones form in the urine in your kidneys, and drinking water increases the volume of urine, the materials that build up in your kidneys and form kidney stones become diluted, which lowers the risk of having another kidney stone.

Since this is a very effective way of reducing the possibility of getting a kidney stone again, people with a history of stones should consume 2 quarts of water or more per day to help dissolve any stones that exist, and to avoid getting any more kidney stones.

For people in hot climates (places like Nevada, Southern California, and Arizona in the USA), it is extremely important to step-up how much fluid they drink to decrease the chances that they might have a recurring kidney stone.

Additionally, you might have read about the theory that coffee or tea (or other caffeinated beverages) increase the risk that you might get a kidney stone.  Because tea and coffee are both made, for the most part, of water, and we know that increased water consumption reduces the possibility that kidney stones could form, Dr. Gaby points out that most of the current research on kidney stones concludes that eliminating coffee and tea from your diet is unimportant for folks who form kidney stones.


Before changing anything about your diet please check with your doctor and clear any changes with him/her before beginning. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease nor claim to be a doctor or dietitian. I merely give my opinion based on research I myself have done and/or experienced.

I post information that I have gathered about kidney stones, but this is for information purposes only. I remind you NOT to take matters into your own hands; it’s always best to consult a naturopath, nutritionist, registered dietitian, or doctor who can give you proper guidance. Read full disclaimer here - http://dissolvekidneystonesdiet.com/disclaimer/

Resources:
The Natural Pharmacy
Home Remedies from a Country Doctor by Jay Heinrichs