Kidney stones or renal calculi or nephrolithiasis refers to condition of stone formation in kidneys. Stones can be formed in any region of kidney and urinary system.
Nephrolethiasis refers to renal stone disease; urolithiasis refers to the presence of stones in the urinary system. The majority of stones consist of calcium, usually as calcium oxalate, but they can contain uric acid, struvite (magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate), spontaneous passage of a stone is related to the stone size and location.
The kidneys are the vital organs of our body that filter waste products from the body. Sometimes there is deposition of mineral made up of calcium, uric acid and amino acid crysteine causes kidney stones.
Several factors increases the risk for developing kidney stones, including inadequate fluid intake and dehydration, reduced urinary volume etc. anything that blocks or reduces the flow of urine also increases the risk.
Causes of kidney stones
- Organisms such as proteus, pseudomonas, and klebsiella produce recurrent UTI. These organisms produce urea and cause stasis of urine which precipitate stone formation. Nucleus of the stone may harbor these bacteriae.
- Causes increase in concentration of solutes, resulting in precipitation of calcium which forms calcium oxalate stones.
- Diet rich in red meat, fish, eggs, can give rise to aciduria.
- Diet rich in calcium, tomatoes, milk, and spinach produce calcium oxalate stones.
- Diet lacking in vitamin A causes desquamation of renal epithelium which precipitates calcium and alters it and kidney stones formation occurs.
- Hyperthyroidism increases serum calcium levels resulting in hypercalcinosis and pelvic stones.
- Gout increases uric acid levels and causes multiple uric acid kidney stones.
- Paraplegic patients secrete large amounts of calcium in the urine resulting in calcium oxalate kidney stones.
Inadequate urinary drainage
- As in case of hoarse shoe kidney, unascended kidneys are more vulnerable for development of stones due to stasis.
Other causes of renal stones include
- Less urinary citrate
- Any injury to renal epithelium
Types of kidney stones
- Calcium oxalate stones
- Phosphate stones
- Uric acid stones
- Cystine stones
- Xanthine and indigo stones
Symptoms of kidney stones
A kidney stone usually does not produce symptoms while it is lying silent in the kidneys. However, once it moves, it causes intense pain. Episodes of severe, off and on pain few minutes. The pain usually appears first in the back, just below the ribs. Over severe hours or days, the pain follows the stone’s course through the ureter toward the groin. Pain stops when the stone passes. The classic presentation of symptoms of kidney stones in a patient feeling intense pain in loin or renal angle or from renal angle extending towards urethra. There may be nausea and vomiting, often with sweating. Pain is usually once-sided. If the kidney stone has reached bladder or urethra, there will be frequent urging to urinate, pain while urinating and the urine may be turbid or bloody.
- Severe pain in the side, back, below the ribs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in urine or haematuria
- Reduced urine flow or output
- Recurring urinary tract infection
- Guarding and rigidity of the back and abdominal muscles during attack of severe pain
- Constant desire to urinate.
- Painful urination along with burning sensation
- Fever and chills when infection occurs
Mainly following investigations are important
Blood urea and creatinine – to rule out renal failure
Plain X-ray KUB – to diagnose kidney stones, 90% of the kidney stones are radio-opaque
Enlarged renal shadow can be seen.
Kidney ultrasonography is an easily performed, noninvasive, nontoxic test to determine obstructive changes such as hydronephrosis. Diagnosis of the stone and size can be made out. Exact location of the stone can be made out.
To locate the kidney stones exactly in relation to kidney and ureter and to asses renal function.
Urine culture and sensitivity
Urine culture of midstream sample may indicate UTI.
Urinalysis may be normal, or may show increased specific gravity and acid or alkaline pH suitable for different types of stone formation. Other urinalysis findings include haematuria., crystals (urate, calcium, or cystene), casts, and pyuria with or without bacteria and white blood cells.
Treatment of kidney stones
Allopathic treatment of kidney stones – mainly include intravenous hydration along with a diuretic like frusemide. Surgery is also helpful in case of kidney stone.
Shock wave lithotripsy is used to blast the kidney stone into small pieces. The smaller pieces of the kidney stone then pass through your urinary tract.
Cystoscopy / ureteroscopy. If the stone is small and stuck, it can be removed with cystoscopy or uretroscopy. Cystoscope is used to look inside the urethra and bladder to find a stone in your urethra or bladder. Ureteroscope is used to see the ureters and kidneys. Once the stone is found, the doctor can remove it or break it into smaller pieces.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy. The doctor inserts the nephrosope directly into your kidney through a small cut made in your back and the stone is removed through this opening. This is usually done for larger stones in kidneys and when there is a natural kink in a ureter.
Drinking large quantity of water and pass urine whenever there is an urge can help prevent kidney stone formation.
Homeopathy treatment of kidney stone
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat kidney stone but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for kidney stone treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensation and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important remedies are given below for the treatment of kidney stones:
Berberis Vulgaris, Ocimum can, Lycopodium, China sulph, Sarsaparilla, Pareira B, Calcarea carb, Urtica urens, Natrum phos, Terebinthina, Belladonna, Dioscorea, Cantharis, Millefolium, Causticum and many other medicines.
Asparagus – nephritic colic; gravel passing in small quantities with urine; urging to urinate; bloody urine; strong smelling urine; after urination, burning in urethra, with sensation as if some were still passing; swelling of penis, with erection and urging to urinate.
Alumina – pain in the right kidney, and soreness as if full of small stones.
Berberis Vulgaris – tearing cutting pain in kidneys, extending down the ureters to the bladder or urethra, or shooting all through the pelvis and in to the hip, cutting and sticking pain in bladder and urethra; pain extends to testicle of affected side, which is drawn up; urine hot, dark or bright yellow, or blood red with white, grayish, or bright red, mealy sediment or red granules or yellowish red crystals; paralyzed, bruised sensation in renal region and small of back, aggravation while sitting or lying; bubbling sensation in various parts.
Excellent remedy for kidney stones, there are radiating pains from the kidney to bladder. Pain from the kidney extends along the ureter or to liver, stomach, spleen, arresting breathing. Bubbling sensation in the region of the kidney. Frequent urination with the sensation as if some urine is left behind. Urine may have thick mucus, and bright red, turbid, yellow or sandy.
Ocimum Can – excellent remedy for kidney stone removal; kidney stone especially in the right kidney with pain on the right side. Urine smells like musk and when allowed to stand for a while, brick dust red or yellow sediments at the bottom, urine contains uric acid. Agonizing and twisting pain, which makes the patient scream and groan. Red urine with brick dust or white sediments.
Urtica Urens – its use in kidney stone removal is very old. It acts as a cleaning agent of the kidneys and eliminates gravel from them. When used after expulsion of stones, prevents their recurrence. Kidney stones with thick urine.
Natrum Phos – has excellent action over oxalate stones.
China sulph – acts very well in cases of kidney stones when there is brick dust or straw – yellow deposits in the urine
Pareira Brava – when stone is in the kidney for a long time, it helps in the kidney stone removal.
Very useful in irritable bladder, renal colic and prostatic affections; it has been found useful in cystitis. The urine is black, bloody with thick mucus and there are violent pains in the thigh, sometimes the patient has to kneel to urinate, pressing head firmly against the floor, and the urine scalds terribly. Violent pain in glans penis, itching and inflammation in the urethra and dribbling after urination.
Bryophyllum – Very large stones. It helps to break them.
Lycopodium – helps in kidney stone removal when there is right renal colic, pain extending down (right) ureter to the bladder, with frequent urging to urine; urine scanty, high colored and deposits a red or yellowish red sandy sediment; severe backache relieved by passing urine; rumbling and blotted feeling in abdomen; burning between scapulae; haematuria; children scream out with pain when awaking from sleep and kick all around.
Sarsaparilla – urine dribbles away when sitting, on standing passes urine freely; passes gravel or small calculi, blood with last or urine; painful retention of urine; sand in urine or in diaper; has to get up several times at night to urinate; intolerable smell of genitals and of urine; thinking of his pains causes them to return or grow worse.
Pain from the right kidney downwards. Urging to urinate before menses. There is severe pain at the conclusion of urination. Child screams before passing the urine; kidney colic and painful urination in children. Can pass urine only when standing and dribbles when sitting.
Calcarea carb – useful for kidney stones, especially in the period between the passage of stones (also consider Calcarea renalis); acts well when stones are composed of calcium. Helps the person who is overweight, sluggish, chilly, and tends to form stone in other parts of the body. Acts very well in cases of kidney stones, irritable bladder, incontinence while walking; urine is dark, brown, sour, foul, or of strong odor. White urinary sediment with white milky urine, at times bloody.
Cantharis – renal region sore and sensitive to touch; dull pressing pains in kidney; cutting, contracting pains in ureter, extending to bladder and urethra and down the spermatic cord, with retraction of testicles or shooting into the legs or thighs; frequent urging to urinate; urine passes in drops; burning and cutting pains before, during and after urination; urine scanty, dark colored; haematuria; children pull constantly at penis from irritation of gravel extending down to that organ.