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Urolithiasis - Kidney Stone Disease

by Charles Lightwalker 

Kidney stone disease is when a solid piece of material (a kidney stone) occurs in the urinary tract.

These stones typically form in the kidney and leave the body in the urine stream. A small stone may pass without causing symptoms. If a stone grows to more than 5 millimeters it can cause blockage of the urethra resulting in serve pain in the lower back or abdomen.

A stone may also result in blood in the urine, severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs, pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity and radiates to the lower abdomen and groin, nausea and vomiting or frequent and painful urination, urinating small amounts as well as fever and chills if an infection is involved.

Knowing the type of kidney stone helps determine the cause and may give clues on how to reduce the risk of getting more kidney stones. If possible, save the kidney stones and bring them to the doctor for analysis. The kidney stones, include: calcium stones, struvite stones, uric acid stones, or cystine stones. Most kidney stones are calcium stones, usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in food and is also made by the liver. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate content, dietary factors, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery or several metabolic disorders can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in the urine.

Calcium stones may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate. This type of stone is more common in metabolic conditions, such as renal tubular acidosis. It may also be associated with certain migraine headaches or with taking certain seizure medications, such as topiramate (Topamax).

Struvite stones form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. These stones can grow quickly and become quite large, sometimes with few symptoms.

Uric acid stones can form due to not drinking enough fluids or losing too much fluid, they are more common in those who eat a high-protein diet, and those who have gout.

Cystine stones form in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids.

Some factors increase the risk of developing kidney stones, such as family or personal history; premature babies; overactive parathyroid gland; insufficient fluid intake; heavy perspiration; a diet that is high in protein, sodium and sugar may increase the risks. This is especially true with a high sodium diet which increases the amount of calcium the kidneys must filter. High body mass index (BMI), large waist size and weight gain; digestive disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or chronic diarrhea can cause changes in the digestive process that affect the absorption of calcium and water, increasing the levels of stone forming substances in the urine. Injuries, traumas, diseases, and medical conditions that may increase the risk of kidney stones include renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism, certain medications, or urinary tract infections.

Most small kidney stones won't require invasive treatment. Home treatment includes drinking a lot of water (3 quarts daily) may flush the kidney stones out the urinary system and to produce clear or nearly urine. 

Passing a small stone can cause some discomfort or pain. Several complimentary medical treatments such as, acupressure, acupuncture, tuning fork treatments, and Reiki, can help relax the muscles in the urethra, to help pass the kidney stone more quickly and with less pain.

Prevention of kidney stones may require lifestyle changes. Drink water throughout the day, making sure that the urine is light and clear. Restrict or reduce foods rich in oxalates. Choose a diet low in salt and animal protein. Be cautious with calcium supplements. Make sure you are balancing your calcium intake properly with magnesium. Get regular exercise, do yoga, walking, tai chi, dance or other forms of body movement. Also get regular massage, Reiki or other forms of healing treatments at least several times a year.

Charles Lightwalker is a Father, Husband, Teacher, Minister, and Healer who is dedicated to helping others live a successful, healthy, happy life. Charles can be reached at 509-389-7290 or emailed at charleslightwalker@yahoo.com