"Last week I had severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting; and then I was admitted to the nearby hospital and had been treated with intravenous fluids and injections. After studying my X-ray and scan reports the doctor said that, both of my kidneys have stones and he advised me to undergo a surgery of the latest laser treatment. Can I avoid surgery, Doctor?"

Kidney stones are the commonest universal complaint. Kidney stones modify the victim’s behaviour with great fear of intense pain and threaten with failure of the kidneys. The medical term for kidney stones is Nephrolithiasis or Renal Calculi.

What are kidneys?
The kidneys are the master chemists of your body. Normally, you have two kidneys, one on either side of the spine under the lower ribs. They are pink in colour and shaped like beans. Each kidney is about the size of your fist. The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder and the urethra. Each plays an important role in helping your body to eliminate waste products in the form of urine.

The main function of the kidneys is to remove the waste products from the blood and return the cleaned blood back to the body. The ureters carry the waste products, as urine, from the kidneys to the bladder where it is stored until you urinate. Urine passes out of the body through a tube called Urethra.

 

How does the stone form?

Kidney stones usually are formed inside the kidney. The body creates kidney stones from a wide variety of substances. It is very difficult to know exactly what kind of stone a patient's body produces. The stones are formed from a supersaturated solution of urine. “Promoters” are the components of the various stones: calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine etc. “Inhibitors” of stone formation include pyrophosphate and magnesium. The formation of a renal calculus depends on the balance between stone promoters and inhibitors. “Citrate” tends to prevent stones. The stones are formed as small crystal which gradually increase in size. They travel through ureter to reach the bladder. Sometimes the patient may void small stone with mild irritation while urination. Larger ones block the urinary tract causing pain, hydronephrosis and failure. A kidney stone can also develop when certain chemicals in your urine form crystals that stick together.

 
What causes kidney stones to form?

There are many potential causes of kidney stone formation. In general they are the result of a superconcentration of chemicals in the urine that results in crystals being formed. A disorder in your metabolism, dietary habits, dehydration, recurrent urinary tract infections, blockage of the urinary tract could alter your urine concentration.

Metabolism

    I have stones in my kidneys! What is the reason Doctor?" is an universal question of a patient to every practitioner after being confirmed with investigations. The most commonest answer to the patient could be ,“ You have metabolic disorder". Your body could not assimilate the minerals and salts such as calcium, uric acid or other salts in the blood, which is not assimilated by your body. Metabolism impairs commonly with the endocrine disorders as hyperparathyroidism, certain diseases like Ulcerative colitis and Regional enteritis. In Gouty arthritis the high level of uric acid in the urine can act as breeding ground for calcium oxalate stones. On the whole it is a complex process.

Dietary Habits

    " I have food habits like others! Why does my kidneys develop stones?" the next common doubt of the patient. Diet contributes a part in the formation of stones and considered as maintaining causes. Clinically it is observed that being habitual for a particular food had promoted stones. A pregnant woman was advised to take plenty of “greens” to raise iron in the blood, and she had developed stones following an acute renal colic. Similarly a patient who had abnormal craving for “Tomato” is now on the treatment for Renal calculus. Habits like "betel chewing" with lime should also be considered.

Certain long-term medications in the form of chemicals could form stones. Sometimes due to geographic water or soil conditions predispose to form stones. In a reverse manner, the lack of certain stone formation inhibitors such as citrate and magnesium may not be present in sufficient quantities and thereby allow the formation of stones. Some people do not take sufficient water and fluids. In some living in high temperature areas cause sweating and loss of fluid. These may lead to long-term dehydration resulting in concentration of urine; the over concentration of metabolic by-products in the urine can cause these minerals to move out of suspended crystallize.

Infection

    " Have you ever had burning micturation?"– to rule out infection a physician may put a leading question to you. Chronic infection may predispose stone formation. The slough and the crusts results following an infection, would combine with high level minerals and salts to form stones. This is considerably noted in the formation of vesical calculus after chronic cystitis.

Urinary Obstruction

    “ How is your urine stream?”
" How is the frequency?" – to evaluate obstruction doctor may proceed with another common question. Urinary blockage as in prostate enlargement, stricture urethra and limited activity for several weeks will predispose stone formation by making sedimentation. Prostatic enlargement invariably causes stones in many patients.

What are the symptoms?

A stone may quietly grow for years together and remains silent even for many years. Very often it is an incidental finding in routine for the other illness. A kidney stone can cause problems in two-ways:
    When it moves or
    When it grows so large that it begins to disrupt kidney function and cause damage.

    After keeping silent for sometime, the stone may start to move downward drawn by the urine and gravity. When the stone makes its run for freedom, it hurts the patient with severe abdominal pain with or without nausea and vomiting. Presence of blood in the urine which may look as pink or orange confirm a ureteric calculus. The pain may be felt over back or side, radiates to the groin, scrotum in men and the labia in women. The severity of the pain is often described as the worst pain a person has ever suffered, even by women who have given birth. It is reported to be more painful than gunshots, surgery, fractured bones or even burns.

Normally the patients choose all natural methods such as plenty of fluid intake, diuretics and even intravenous fluid administration to expel the stones. If they do not pass out through urine they choose the latest "Laser treatment" the Extra corporeal shock wave lithotripsy by which the kidney stones are focused by sonic waves to blast them into pieces. Stones in the ureter are crushed and removed by sonic waves or hydraulic instruments reaching them through ureteroscopy. Even open surgery is performed in some cases to tackle the acute crises, but the results are only temporary. The recurrent tendency for stones makes the physicians and surgeons puzzle as some kidneys just make stones.


What are the types of stones?

There are many varieties. Calcium oxalate is very common form found in many patients and calcium phosphate is also found in few cases. Most patients with this type have an inherited metabolic disorder that causes increased presence of calcium in the urine. Certain drugs like diuretics, antacids and steroids may cause an overload of calcium in urine. Over active parathyroid gland hyperthyroidism, too much of vitamin A or D and diet high in calcium and oxalates may result in hypercalcinuria. Uric acid stones forms an another variety. Unlike the other stones, these stones contain no calcium in pure form. For this reason, they are not visible on X-rays. Patients with Gout often develop these stones, but most patients who have these stones do not have gout. Cysteine stones have a protein matrix due to excess amounts of the amino acid cysteine in the urine. Cystinuria is an inherited condition and uncommon. Some rare stones are silicate struvite stones and xanthine."

How to find?

An X-ray of the kidneys, ureters and bladder can reveal the presence of most stones. Certain less common stones can be seen in intravenous pyelograms or ultrasound. A complete diagnosis of kidney stones should include blood screens, 24-hour urine samples, provocative calcium loading tests and stone analysis to determine the type of stone, its underlying cause and proper course of treatment.

How to eliminate the stone?

Unless the kidney stone is larger than 3mm in diameter it is most likely to pass out without medical intervention. Those between 5mm and 10mm in diameter are less likely to pass on their own as they are larger. If the kidney stone is larger than 10mm in diameter the sufferer may be advised to undergo a surgery or Lithrotripsy. Stones have been known to become as large as the size of golf ball. It is not necessary to remove a stone unless it causes other problems.

How to prevent stone formation?

Drink more water


    The easiest practical step to take is increasing hydration. This applies to sufferers of all types of kidney stones. The hot climate causes increased amount of perspiration and loss of body fluid. Drinking very large quantities of water -- two or more quarts per day -- is probably the most important step in reducing stone formation. When you sweat and dehydrate you should consume more water and fluids. During acute attacks of uretric colic water therapy had expelled stones.

Habits

    Whenever there is an urge to pass urine, do not postpone urination for a longer period. Sedentary life-style should be changed.
Diet

    Dietary regulations are also an important factor to be advised. Calcium, oxalate, urate cystine, phosphate and magnesium rich foods should be minimised. Citrate foods may be increased.

 

Treatment.

To win over the kidney stones problem one has to wage a two-staged war.

The first part involves becoming stone-free .
The second is to eliminate the tendency for recurrence.

Kidney stones are well treated with Homoeopathic Medicines. I have come across a lot of cases those escaped from surgery. The stones of sizes of 10mm to 12mm and multiple calculi can be treated well. There are some stones of larger size occupying the whole pelvis to be placed for surgery. Homoeopathic medicine which is selected on the basis of constitution of the victim will normalise the metabolism. The further deposition can be prevented. The Mother tincture has a very good action in erosion of the stones layer-by-layer.

When a victim has the tendency to produce stones his basic metabolism have to be corrected. This is the reason why the stones recur after a surgery. A patient cannot adopt food habits for a long-time. Homoeopathic Medicines have the job here!

I have treated many cases of renal calculus. I can say that the cure rate is very high. I have advised surgical measure for vesical calculus and renal stones those very large in size occupying the entire inner surface. The stones inside the pelvis dissolve gradually and further deposition is minimized with the dynamic remedies. The stones obstructing the ureteric lumen pass out during micturation.

I remember a case of multiple bilateral renal calculi, one being of 2.5 cm on right kidney. He was hospitalized for acute pain in abdomen and had been treated with IV fluids. The nephrologist advised for immediate surgery as the patient had mild hydronephrosis. Meanwhile the patient happened to see my TV interview and consulted me with numerous doubts. He started taking Homoeopathic Medicines after little hesitation. After few days he voided some stones during urination. I asked him to undergo scan studies and those reported that the size of the large calculus had been greatly reduced to 1.2 cms and a few small calculi on both sides were present of 3-5 mm size. He took treatment for about a year. Now he is free from his complaints. I happened to meet him in train after five years and asked with curiosity, “ How are you? Do you have any complaints?” He replied, "No Doctor! Few months back I verified with scan. No problem Doctor. Thank you… " and so the talk continued.


 

Clinical evidence

 

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