Scientists are talking about new options in helping patients with kidney stone disease. The kidneys filter the blood and remove toxic materials and waste products, allowing it to be passed out in urine. Affecting 10% of people worldwide, kidney stones are hard deposits of salts and minerals, collecting in the patient’s urine.
While they can be painful when passed, they normally do not cause permanent damage. Annual health care costs are about $2 billion. Symptoms typically do not show until they enter into the urethra. When they do, a patient may feel severe pain in the groin and/or side, blood in urine, vomiting and nausea, pus in the urine, reduced amount of urine excreted, burning sensation during urination, persistent urge to urinate, fever and chills if there is an infection.
Complications can occur because of these. Kidney stones can block the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder. This can obstruct the path that urine uses to leave the body. Research has also shown kidney stones have a significantly higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
There are several way to prevent kidney stones, some of these include:
- Consuming the appropriate amount of calcium for your age group as too little calcium can cause oxalate levels to rise.
- Reducing the amount of sodium you eat and keeping it particularly low if you are kidney prone. Low sodium will also keep blood pressure low.
- Limit the amount of animal protein consumed, such as red meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. Also, avoid stone forming foods, such as beets, chocolate, spinach and tea, as well as others.
- The best and easiest way to prevent the formation of kidney stones is to drink water. Water dilutes the materials which can form stones in the urine. Drink enough fluids to pass 2 liters of urine a day. This comes to approximately eight standard 8-ounce cups.
- Citrus beverages, such as lemonade and orange juice can help as citrate has been proven to block stone formation.
The question many patients have is what kind of water? Should they drink hard water (water with high calcium carbonate) or soft water (water with lower concentrations of ions like calcium
and magnesium). Tap water varies in content of minerals and electrolyte depending on the geographic location. Hard water is found in areas with chalk and limestone.
Research shows it depends on the type of stones the person is afflicted with. Hard water has been proven in studies to be helpful to those with calcium stone former. High magnesium and bicarbonate content is also seen as an avenue of treatment for those suffering from kidney stones. Conversely, however, some have said hard water actually causes kidney stones and is hazardous to a person’s health.
In reality, the National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) states that hard drinking water can contribute to the total calcium and magnesium a person needs. Very high hardness can cause kidney stones, but this kind of water is not typical of drinking water. For the most relevant information about kidney stone natural treatments, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter and catch up on our backlog of articles.