When excess minerals and salts start forming hard crystals in the kidneys, they are known as kidney stones. They occur when you are unable to get rid of the unwanted minerals and salts while urinating. The reasons for kidney stones could be varied – inadequate water intake, reaction of certain medicines and side effects of certain illnesses.
Kidney stones can cause pain and bleeding while passing urine, occasional pain in the back and lower abdomen, the urge to urinate frequently, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), periodic pain in the groin, etc. Neglecting kidney stones will not only be painful but can also lead to kidney infection which can be fatal.
Here are the best methods to treat kidney stones:
In the initial stages, the kidney stones are just small deposits. Using the following home remedies can help you get rid of these stones at home in about a month:
- Water is the key: Keep yourself hydrated. It will help your body to flush out the stones while urinating. Drink at least 3.5 to 4 litres of water per day.
- Dissolve the stone: Indulging in some acidic drinks can help break down the mineral stones into smaller units. If your kidney stones are caused due to calcium deposit, then a glass or two of lemon juice and/ or pomegranate juice is ideal. Drinking 30 ml of apple cider vinegar diluted in 250 ml water a day can also help.
- Avoid these foods: Meals high in salt content, spinach, fried food, coffee, berries, alcohol, etc. These foods will only dehydrate you and worsen or solidify the kidney stones.
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe certain medicines and solutions to accelerate the breakdown process of the stones and also to ease the passage of the stones while urinating.
The above remedies can be useful only if the kidney stones are really small and the symptoms are negligible. If the symptoms are severe, then the following are the best methods for kidney stone treatment:
- ESWL: It stands for Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy. This is a common method that doctors use to get rid of large kidney stones. ESWL uses ultrasound rays to break down the stones into smaller ones so that they can be passed through urine. The process may involve consuming painkillers before and after the procedure.
- Ureteroscopy: It is a procedure which is used when the kidney stone gets stuck in the ureter (the tube-like structure that connects the kidney to the bladder). A thin tube is sent up through the urethra (from where you pass urine) to the ureter to locate and remove the kidney stone. General anaesthesia is given to avoid pain.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: When medications and ESWL don’t work, doctors resort to percutaneous nephrolithotomy. It is nothing but a minimally invasive surgery or operation. Only a small incision or cut is made in your back. Then a narrow tube-like camera is inserted to locate the stone(s) which are then removed with the help of narrow and small instruments. You might have to stay in the hospital for 2 days, post-operation. You can get back to all your normal activities within 2 months.
If you have kidney stones (irrespective of the size), do consult your doctor before you begin your self-treatment. Immediate medical attention is required if you are pregnant or above 50 years of age. To get in touch with the best kidney specialists or urologists in the country, consult urologist Brooklyn New York.