Kidney stones are neither uncommon nor an untreatable condition. It is not very shocking news to us when we hear about someone being rushed to the hospital on account of excruciating stone pains. Indeed, the condition is seen very frequently with more than 10 lakh cases in India every year, and the pains are severe. It is also often seen that a person may have the tendency to develop kidney stones and may regularly encounter this problem. In such cases, more than the tendency it is the dietary and water factors that may lead to reoccurrences. Therefore, the right kind of diet and precautions play a major role in countering this condition.
What are kidney stones exactly?
These are stones, or calculi, that form in the kidney when the water quantity in urine remains persistently low, or a large number of crystal-forming substances are present in the urine. For example, sustained high levels of calcium in the blood may lead to formation of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidney. These stones form in the kidney and may either remain there, or may gradually detach themselves and move through the ureter to the bladder. This process of the stone passing through ureter causes the characteristic renal colic, or stone pain.
What causes kidney stones?
Multiple factors can lead to kidney stones. Low water intake for prolonged periods resulting in dehydration is a major cause. People living in hot and humid climate with plenty of sweating are at a greater risk. This is yet another reason why we are always advised to maintain adequate water intake, that is, two to three liters a day. Family history also plays a positive role in the sense that people who have an affected family member are more likely to develop renal stones. Coming to dietary factors, oxalates, high levels of sodium, and acidic foods are likely to cause renal stones. Obesity, high parathyroid levels, sarcoidosis, frequent urinary tract infections are some disease conditions that may make one more prone to develop kidney stones. Certain medical conditions and procedures like inflammatory bowel disease, gastric bypass etc. may also increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
Let us now discuss the symptoms. Very small stones may even pass by themselves without any symptoms or pain and may remain completely unknown to the individual. Larger ones can cause urine blockage and lead to symptoms. Renal pain, or renal colic, is a spasmodic, paroxysmal kind of pain which is intermediate in nature. It is severe and occurs in the region of the kidneys extending down to the groin. In males the pain may radiate to the testicles. This pain is generally worse on movement, although rest may not give much relief either. There may be the presence of blood and even pus in the urine. Blood is seen when the stone causes injury by impaction into the urinary tract. However, pus is found only at a later stage, when the site of the stone gets inflamed or infected. Fever may also be seen. If infected, nausea, vomiting, chills and rigor accompany the fever. Apart from these, urinary symptoms are also noted. These may be increased frequency of urination, painful urination, burning during or after urination, and a general feeling of urgency. Urine retention may also occur if the stone obstructs the urethral opening. This retention of urine is a very common site for infections.
How to get kidney stones diagnosed?
Diagnosis is made based on the clinical history, aided by laboratory investigations. Generally, a normal radiograph (x-ray) is taken of the kidney, ureters and bladder and the stone is visualized. For radio-opaque stones (those not visible on x-ray), an ultrasound may be needed. A blood test to assess kidney function is normally performed as well. Urea, creatinine, BUN levels provide an insight into the kidney functioning.
Before we discuss how kidney stones are treated in homeopathy, let us talk about prevention strategies. After all, prevention is better than cure, and if we can avoid this painful condition, we surely must. The first and foremost point of importance is to hydrate oneself. We must maintain our body water levels as a habit.
Even though calcium oxalate stones are the most common kind of kidney stones, avoiding calcium in the diet altogether does not work. Rather, low levels of calcium also carry the risk of stone formation. Therefore, a balanced intake of calcium, rather than complete prohibition, is needed. High levels of sodium in the blood also promote stone formation, and thus salt intake should be watched. Processed, canned foods may also lead to kidney stone formation over time. Sodas and sugar-rich beverages like cola also need to be minimized in the diet so as to reduce the risk of developing renal stones. A vitamin-rich diet coming from adequate fruit and vegetable sources helps to keep the risk of renal stones to a minimum.
Apart from but related to diet, one must also watch one’s weight. This does not mean obsessing over society’s impractical standards of beauty, but this does mean being conscious of where we stand in matters of health and disease. Obesity is a very important factor that predisposes an individual to numerous diseases and health conditions, and obese individuals are at a greater risk of developing renal stones as well. However, keep in mind that if you weigh more than the recommended weight and are striving to lose some kilos, the process for this should be gradual, scientific and practical. Do not expect or aim to lose massive weight in small amount of time. Losing weight is only successful when it is done slowly, giving the body metabolism time to adjust. It is always best to carry out this process under the supervision of a trained nutritionist. Crash dieting and binge eating must be avoided at all costs. Another aspect of maintaining bladder health is to practice good hygiene. Clean and sanitary washroom practices help keep urinary infections at bay.
Although small stones may clear off in the urine by themselves, the process is painful. Allopathic management for the same is to prescribe painkillers for the renal colic. For larger stones, surgery is advised. There are now multiple types of surgical processes available and effective for renal calculi. Needless to say, surgery comes with its own risks and complications. It is always best to try homeopathic medicine for kidney stones rather than deciding to go for surgery. In homeopathy, treatment for kidney stone is available and effective. Homeopathic medicines work to break the stones down into smaller units which may then be passed through the urinary tract without causing any symptoms. These medicines also address a person’s tendency to frequently be affected by kidney stones, and the predisposition can also be effectively treated by the right medicines.
BERBERIS PENTARKAN is an excellent homeopathy medicine for kidney stones. Manufactured by Schwabe India, this medicine works very efficiently to dissolve and eradicate kidney stones. It is also extremely useful in renal colic and can be taken acutely to counter the stone pains. Its action is not limited to merely renal stones, but it also works to improve metabolism in general and has a positive effect on gouty pains and arthritis. Berberis Pentarkan is a combination of five highly effective homeopathic remedies for renal complaints. This medicine is available in tablet form. 1 to 2 tablets are taken every hour until the acute pains subside. After that, 1 tablet can be taken every two hours. There are no known side effects or contraindications and the medicine is completely safe for people of all ages and sexes. It can be safely consumed along with other medications and no adverse interactions are seen. Also, the medicine is easy to administer and can be taken conveniently.
Conditions like renal colic and renal stones should never be ignored. Visit to a specialist or a professional homeopath is extremely essential if you have had an episode of renal colic. Not only will a doctor’s visit help to establish an accurate diagnosis through relevant investigations, this visit will also help to rule out any warning signs or dangerous signals. Your doctor will be able to exclude other harmful kidney problems, and an expert opinion is always better than self-diagnosing and self-treating: these have great scope of serious errors. Always make sure to get a doctor’s prescription before beginning any kind of medication, and always try to visit a doctor rather than forming your own opinions about your health in general.