Working as an emergency room RN, I have seen many people suffering from kidney stones. About 80% are men, why we don’t know. They have lower abdominal pain or flank pain on one side. The pain they feel is intense.
We first ask them for a urine sample. Using a dip stick the nurse typically finds blood in the urine, often with hardly any infection (though there may well be infection, and often the presence of ketones, a sign of dehydration). The patient is then given intravenous fluids (salt water) to help flush the kidneys, and after the doctor’s formal diagnosis, pain medication also. The aim of the pain medication is to give the patient a rest as the fluids help the stones pass through less painfully.
A blood test and cat scan is often ordered for further confirmation.
The scan can show both the size and location of the stone. If there is no sign of infection, the patients go home with pain medication and instructions to increase their water intake. They are also advised to use a strainer to catch and save the kidney stone, which can then be sent for analysis. Certain foods may then be proscribed to diminish the likelihood that more kidney stones are produced.
From many patients I have heard what works best for kidney stones. Their advice is first, and above all, to drink lots of water. If you do not drink a lot of water your urine becomes more concentrated, making you more prone to develop new kidney stones.
Here are some other tried-and-true tips:
- Avoid stress (as if that’s easy!) Kidney stone patients are very often under unusual stress.
- Avoid alcohol and sodas. They dehydrate you.
- Drink corn silk tea to flush the kidneys.
- Another helpful beverage is catnip tea with apple cider vinegar.
- Drink aloe vera (It’s sold in health food stores)
- If your kidney stones are calcium-related, lemonade helps to absorb the calcium.
- Walk, walk, walk. Prolonged body movement helps to move the stones out. We call this “the tough way“.
- Be sure to have your thyroid and parathyroid checked. In some cases there is a connection.
How to prevent kidney stones in general:
1. Again – lots of water. This means eight 8-ounce glasses, and twelve glasses if you work outside. If your urine is smelly, you are probably not drinking enough water, and are at risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI).
2. Take vitamin C – 2,000 mg. a day.
3. No sodas or alcohol. If you do partake, for every glass of beverage drink an extra glass of water.
4. Work to strengthen your immune system.
5. Check your family history. Did any of your parents or grandparents have kidney stones? Get the story and learn from it, which often means to improve your lifestyle.
6. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys represent fear. To counteract any fear, try this positive affirmation: “Water flows freely through me, making me safer.”
As you repeat this affirmation regularly, try to sincerely feel its significance. Visualize it as a reality, not just words.
For real inspiration, try this wonderful quote from Aldous Huxley:
The kidneys are so beautifully organized; they do their work of regulation with such a miraculous–it’s hard to find another word–such a positively divine precision, such knowledge and wisdom, that there is no reason why our archetypal man, whoever he is, or anyone else, for that matter, should be ashamed to own a pair.”