As per the recent statistics, 15% of India’s population suffer from kidney stone problems. However, 5% of them are not even aware that their pain is being caused by stones in one or both of their kidneys. Kidney stones usually pass through and are excreted along with urine, but sometimes they remain in the kidney to cause severe pain.
As the reason behind why these stones are formed is not entirely known and kidney stone removal can be a complicated process, all one can do is try to relieve the pain that it causes while it remains inside the kidney or in the ureter.
In this article, I will be discussing kidney stones and the diet which can help you relieve your kidney stone pain. Prior to that let us discuss what kidney stones are, the different types of stones and the major kidney stones symptoms.
What is a Kidney Stone?
Kidney stones are small but hard deposits that usually form in the kidneys. Kidney stone formation takes place with the help of minerals and acid salts.
Kidney stones can affect your body starting from the kidneys to your urinary bladder. Kidney stones are of various types. Knowing the different types plays a crucial role in determining kidney stone causes. Therefore, let us look at the different types of kidney stones.
Types of Kidney Stone
1. Calcium Stones
a) Calcium stones are quite common in people suffering from kidney stone problems. These stones are present in the form of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate.
b) Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance and it is mainly found in foods such as chocolates, spinach, nuts, etc.
c) The human liver also produces oxalates.
d) High amount of vitamin D, several metabolic disorders, dietary habits, intestinal bypass surgery, all can lead to a high amount of calcium and oxalate in the urine which combine to form a calcium stone. (High vitamin d levels lead to too much calcium absorption, hence more amount of calcium is present in the urine)
2. Struvite Stones
a) It occurs when there is any infection in the body like urinary tract infection.
b) The growth of struvite stones is quite fast and their size is usually bigger.
c) This stone does not show many signs or symptoms.
3. Uric Acid Stones
a) It occurs in those people who are not drinking enough water.
b) It is also very common in bodybuilders as they consume a diet high in protein.
d) Many genetic factors also play a role in the development of uric acid stone.
4. Cysteine Stones
a) When the kidney excretes too much of the amino acid, this condition is known as cystinuria. This is a hereditary disorder in which cystine stone formation takes place.
You have now seen the various types of kidney stones and its causes.
Now, let me tell you a small incident which made me realize how small but painful a kidney stone can be.
Once, I was working in a hospital and a young boy, around 22 years old, came in with his parents crying out in severe pain. I quickly got up from my chair and approached the boy. To my surprise, there was no bruise or accidental injury that I could see. I went near the boy’s parents to find out the reason.
They said “He is having kidney stones; we guess it is because of the same.
I went to the boy and said, “Dear do not worry, it is a small stone, you will be perfectly fine”
I was shocked to hear his reply. He said, “Madam the pain I am going through is so bad that I wish someone can kill me.”
That one sentence made me realize that the size of a kidney stone might be small, but it can put a person in a lot of pain.
Kidney Stone Symptoms
There are few symptoms that occur when you suffer from a kidney stone. However, these symptoms are just a sign and many a times, kidney stones do not show any symptoms.
The major problem is that you will only be able to see these signs and symptoms when the stone has already started moving in your kidney or entered into your ureter (a tube which connects your kidney and urinary bladder).
Following are the symptoms of kidney stones
- Severe pain in the lower back, sides and stomach
- Palpitating pain, that comes and goes in rotation
- Pain or burning sensation while urination
- Change in color of urine
- Change in smell of urine
- Frequent urination
Now, I will tell you a renal stone diet, which can help you prevent kidney stone formation as well as help reduce your pain.
Kidney Stone Diet
There are many misconceptions and myths that are there related to kidney stone due to which patients stop eating certain kinds of foods.
However, the restriction and consumption totally depend upon the stone that you have. On the other hand, for prevention of kidney stones, you can eat everything in a limit.
Firstly, I will talk about stone-specific recommendations after which I will tell you about kidney stone diet in general.
1. Calcium Oxalate Stone and Calcium Phosphate Stone
- You should reduce the sodium content of your diet.
- You should try to reduce foods high in protein like meat, egg yolk and fish.
- Try to get enough amount of calcium through foods, and if you feel the need, you can also take calcium supplements.
- Avoid foods which have a high amount of oxalates such as wheat bran, spinach, nuts and chocolates.
2. Uric Acid Stones
- Restrict intake of the high amount of protein in your diet, especially animal protein.
- Avoid foods rich in high uric acid levels, such as meat, spinach, oats, whole pulses and dal.
Few More Tips on Kidney Stone Diet
Here are a few more general tips which are both home remedies for kidney stones and can also prevent future stones:
- Drink lots of water and other fluids.
- On average, you should take 2 liters of water in a day to prevent and cure kidney stone problems.
- Do not take more than 2 cups of tea and coffee.
- Avoid black tea if history of calcium stone is there.
- Always eat freshly cooked foods.
- Do not take a very high amount of proteins.
Now I am coming to my favorite part of this topic which I have been waiting to tell you about since the beginning. You may have heard of some kind of kidney stone remedy or the other from a family member, friend or well-wisher. However, not all of these are true. I would like to clear out certain myths regarding kidney stones.
Myths and Facts about Kidney Stone
Myth 1– I cannot eat tomatoes as I have Kidney stone.
Fact– Tomato can be easily eaten without any fear; it is only said not to have tomatoes if potassium level is too high in your blood.
Myth 2– Diet for every person having kidney stone is same.
Fact– Kidney stone diet varies with the type of stone and severity of the condition.
I want you to understand that, any food eaten in moderation can never lead to any medical problem. To prevent yourself from having kidney stones along with the above mentioned kidney stone diet, you can also take calcium supplements.
Do write and share your feedback regarding this article. If you heard of any natural medicine for kidney stone or methods to dissolve kidney stones please do write about it so that I can clarify it in the comment box below.
Photo Courtesy: activebeat.com, medicinenet.com