Natural Remedies to Pass Kidney Stones
Passing kidney stones can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. Unfortunately, kidney stones are extremely common, as one in 10 adults will experience them at least once in their lifetime. Although this condition seems serious and painful, kidney stones can usually be safely passed at home.
In this blog, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for passing kidney stones. From medical treatment to natural remedies, we will provide you with the information you need to understand this condition and help you manage the pain and discomfort associated with it.
The causes of kidney stones can vary, but they often form due to a lack of fluid in the body, an excess of certain minerals, or a genetic predisposition. Symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, fever, and blood in your urine are the tell-tale signs of kidney stones. Other symptoms include severe pain in your back and side, along with radiating pain from your lower abdomen to the groin. It is important to note that if you have a fever, chills, or blood in the urine, you should seek immediate medical attention as it could be an indication of a kidney infection.
The Causes of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are hard, mineral-based masses that form into stones within the kidneys and urinary tract. Like many other ailments, a poor diet is the leading cause of kidney stone formation. While genetics and environmental factors can play a role, your diet is the easiest thing you can change.
Specifically, sodas and sugary drinks are major culprits behind the causes of kidney stones. This reason being sodas are filled with unhealthy chemicals, including high levels of processed bleached sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and high fructose corn syrup. The ingredients in these products can pose a health risk to your body, and especially for your urinary system.
These drinks cause kidney stones thanks to the high levels of fructose corn syrup which metabolizes into oxalate and increases the excretion of uric acid and calcium. This combination encourages kidney stone formation at a higher rate than normal. Plus, the phosphoric acid in soda can create an acidic environment in your kidney tract, leading to more kidney stones. Diets high in sodium are also associated with this condition. The amount of calcium in your urine can also contribute to kidney stones. Therefore is you are at risk for developing kidney stones, you may want to reduce calcium intake in your diet.
Instead, eat a diet for optimal urological health that is full of fresh vegetables and fruits. Avoid processed foods and sugar to avoid kidney stones and maintain a healthy urinary system. Don’t forget to keep hydrated!
Related: Can Wine Prevent Kidney Stones?
How to Prevent Kidney Stones
Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your urinary health can help prevent kidney stones. Simple tips can be implemented to ensure your urinary health is in tip-top shape. To learn more about how you can change your lifestyle to prevent kidney stones, download our Nutrition and Lifestyle Guide for expert guidance from our very own Urology Specialists.
It’s important to note that these prevention methods may not work for everyone, and if you have a history of kidney stones, it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine the best course of action for you.
How to Pass Kidney Stones at Home
Kidney stones can only exit the body via urine. Stones that are smaller than 5mm can usually pass easily. Larger stones will generally require medical intervention. Depending on the kidney stone’s size and location, the length of time it will take to pass varies.
Natural Remedies to Pass Kidney Stones
Passing kidney stones can be a painful process, but there are several things you can do to help ease the pain and discomfort, and pass the stones more quickly. Thankfully, there are many natural home remedies for passing kidney stones at home effectively. So, if you are dealing with kidney stones, here is how you can pass them safely:
- Gently moving around: Such as taking a walk or doing some light exercise, which can help to move the stone along and make it easier to pass.
- Use heat: Applying heat to your lower back can help to relax the muscles in that area, which can make it easier to pass a stone. A heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm bath can be effective.
- Drink plenty of water: Kidney stones need to be flushed out of the body so be sure to drink lots of water to keep them moving along. Minimize coffee, alcohol, tea, and soda. while passing a kidney stone as these can cause dehydration and make the pain worse. Remember: hydration is key for both passing and preventing!
- Try raw apple cider vinegar: You can mix this with a few ounces of water to make it more palatable. This will also help break up the stones and can help prevent future kidney stone formation.
- Follow a specific diet: Certain foods can help to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, such as eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and limiting foods that are high in oxalates and salt. Celery, brussel sprouts, cucumber, watermelon, and asparagus are great foods to help with passing kidney stones.
Keep in mind, these natural remedies to pass kidney stones can only help with smaller stones, and not all kidney stones will be passed without medical treatment. If the stone is too large, causing too much pain, or blocking the flow of urine, your doctor might recommend other treatments.
Treatment Options for Passing Kidney Stones
For larger kidney stones, these are some of the treatments your doctor may use:
Shock Wave Therapy
This form of therapy consists of shock waves to help break up the kidney stone into smaller pieces, which will then allow them to pass more easily out of the body. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is used with stones larger than 5mm but no larger than 2cm, and with stones that are inside of the kidney, meaning they have not traveled down the ureter to exit the body. This treatment is also used when the stone is blocking urine flow and causing extreme pain. The procedure lasts about an hour and may require general anesthesia. This outpatient procedure cannot be used for obese or pregnant patients as there are risks of kidney injury with this treatment.
Related: Questions to Ask Your Urologist About Kidney Stones
Medication or Surgery
Medication may help you if you have a small kidney stone that you are trying to pass naturally. Alpha-blockers are a common medication for kidney stones. These work by relaxing the muscles in your urinary tract, therefore helping the stone to pass less painfully.
Surgery will be required if you have a large kidney stone that cannot be passed out of the body. To avoid the need for surgery, use our tips to minimize your risk for kidney stones and help break up any mineral deposits that may form in your kidneys over time.
We are Here to Help
At Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, our goal is to help you prevent common urological concerns such as painful kidney stones. Consulting with one of our specialized urologists can help you identify the treatment options that are available to you. We work closely with you to understand your individual needs and tailor treatment plans accordingly. And, if you are looking for more information to learn more ways you can take care of your urinary system, download our free guide. Click the button below and get your free copy today!
This post was originally published in 2015 and refreshed in 2023.