A renal stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. It is medically termed as nephrolithiasis or renal calculi. A stone formed at any location in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and the term ureterolithiasis is used to refer to the stones located in the ureters. Almost one in every 20 people tends to develop renal stones at some point in their life.
Types of Renal Stones
- Calcium stones are the most common type of renal stones. They are usually made of calcium and oxalate, but sometimes they made of calcium and phosphate.
- Uric acid stones form when the urine is too acidic. Sometimes they form stone together with calcium.
- Struvite stones are formed due to urinary tract infections in which bacteria make ammonia build up in urine. Struvite stones are made of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate.
- Cystine stones are made of a chemical substance that occurs naturally in the body, called cystine. Cystine stones are very rare, and are formed in people who have a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak from the kidneys into the urine.
- Some stones grow very large and fill the entire collecting system of a kidney. They are called staghorn calculi. Most of the renal stones are made up of calcium oxalate crystals but this type of stone is a composite of struvite, carbonate, and apatite.
Renal stones are formed when there is a decrease in urine volume and an excess of mineral deposits in the urine such as dehydration. Formation of stones at any location in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and it can also be due to complications of urinary tract infection (UTI).
Pain in the abdomen, flanks, groins and blood in the urine (hematuria) are the most common symptoms of renal stones. Symptoms differ according to the location and movement of the stone. There may be sudden onset of excruciating, cramping pain in their lower back, groin and abdomen which is not relieved by changes in the body position and it typically waxes and wanes in severity and is referred to as renal colic. It is often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. When there is urinary tract infection along with the stones, there might be fever and chills. Symptoms such as difficulty urinating, frequency and urgency to urinate, testicular pain may also occur due to renal stones.
Certain medical conditions: Such as gout, hypercalciuria, hyperparathyroidism, kidney diseases such as renal tubular acidosis, and other inherited metabolic conditions, including cystinuria and hyperoxaluria, chronic diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and high blood pressure are associated with an increased risk of developing renal stones.
Hereditary: A family history of renal stones is also a risk factor for developing renal stones in a person.
Age and Intercourse: Renal stones are more common in men than in women. Most of the time the renal stones develop in people around 20 to 49 years of age, and those who are prone to multiple episodes of renal stones usually are affected during the second or third decade of life.
Dietary factors: Such as high intake of animal protein, a high-salt diet, excessive sugar consumption, excessive vitamin D supplementation, and excessive intake of oxalate-containing foods such as spinach, inadequate fluid intake are also related to stone formation.
Pregnancy: A small number of pregnant women develop kidney stones, and there is some evidence that pregnancy-related hormonal changes may increase the risk of renal stone formation.
Certain medications: Some diuretics, calcium-containing antacids, and the protease inhibitor indinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection, etc can lead to formation of renal stones.
Dehydration: Due to hot climate, dry areas, reduced fluid intake or strenuous work without adequate fluid replacement, obstruction to the flow of urine can lead to renal stone formation.
Renal stones are best detected using an ultrasound, intravenous pyelography (IVP), or a CT scan.
Renal Stone Treatment
Most of the renal stones pass from the kidney through the ureter, bladder and finally through the urethra on their own. A treatment is often required for pain control as the stones pass through the tract. Intake of ample fluids helps to facilitate the passage of kidney stones, but most people require medications for an easy passage, breaking down of the stones and pain control. There are several factors that influence the passage of a stone. These include the size of the stone, prior stone passage, prostate enlargement, pregnancy, etc.
It is essential to drink more water, since low fluid intake and dehydration are major risk factors for renal stone formation. Certain changes in the diet or medications are recommended to decrease the likelihood of developing further stones.
Homeopathic remedies for renal stones and pain from renal stones
Berberis vulgaris: It is indicated for sharp, stitching pains that radiate to the groin area and left- sided renal stones. The pain radiates further down to the thighs. Burning sensation may accompany the pain. Another sign to look out for is green or red urine with thick mucus. The kidney pain worsens with motion and jerking. This homeopathic remedy helps the patients who experience discomfort complaining sensation of urine still remaining after the urination or those who pass urine comprising mucus and sediments.
Cantharis: Indicated for renal stones of both the sides where burning sensation is the main keynote. Burning micturition which is passed drop by drop. Intense burning sensation before and while passing the urine that continues after urination. There is also a constant urge to pass urine. But, little urine is passed. Blood in urine with much scalding. Violent sharp tearing pain in kidneys. Tenesmus of bladder may also be marked where the urge to pass urine is almost constant, together with unsatisfactory urination. Urine may contain jelly-like mucus.
Lycopodium: It is the best remedy for right sided kidney stones. Lycopodium helps to treat the individual who is suffering from pain in the right ureter or right kidney and pain worsening before urination. Right-sided renal colic with severe backache before urinating which subsides after voiding urine. Frequent urgency to urinate, frequent calls to pass urine at night or retained urine. Urine may be loaded with red, yellow sediments.
Hydrangea arborescens: It is indicated for stones in the bladder and ureter. It acts as a stone-breaker, crushes and dissolves the stones and treats the condition. It is also indicated especially in cases where white or yellow sediments are observed in abundance in the urine. Frequent urination with blood in urine. Sharp pain in the back accompanies these symptoms.
Ocimum canum: Indicated for pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Ocimum works well in both the left and right sided kidney stone pain, but it can only be prescribed if vomiting accompanies the pain. The urine passed may be red, purulent and highly offensive.
Sarsaparilla officinalis: For the individuals suffering from excessive burning sensation and white sediments in urine. It is indicated for right-sided stones. Excessive burning at the close of urination. Urine passed is scanty. Urine may contain slimy or sandy particles.
Pareira Brava: It is indicated for violent pains with strangury. Urine is passed with much strain, and in drops. The strain applied is so severe that the patient cries out in pain. The kidney pain radiates down the thighs or even down to the foot.
Urtica Urens: Urtica Urens must be considered in cases of renal stones where uric acid levels are high.
Schwabe India’s dilutions and mother tinctures are very effective and the products are of great quality’. Some of the best medicines and products for renal stones are Schwabe India’s mother tinctures such as Berberis vulgaris Q, Hydrangea Q, Ammi visnaga Q, Thlaspi bursa Q, Pareira Brava Q, Sarsaparilla Q, etc. One of the specialty products for renal stone from Schwabe India is Berberis Pentarkan which is very effective in treating complaints from renal stones.