Is it Possible to Dissolve Kidney Stones?
Since most kidney stones are composed of calcium, it is possible to dissolve kidney stones. Calcium is an extremely brittle material that can be dissolved safely and quickly. Here are some ways to dissolve kidney stones.
How to Dissolve Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form when mineral salts accumulate. Eighty percent of the time, they’re calcium stones caused by a diet consisting of high amounts of animal protein. Animal protein consumption is strongly linked to oxalate production. The body produces high amounts of acid to digest high protein foods and the excess acids cause the blood’s pH balance to become extremely acidic. The body gets calcium from the bones to restore the pH balance in the blood and the remaining calcium is removed through the urine. When the concentration of calcium is high enough, it starts to crystallize and small clumps begin to form. These clumps eventually become stones.
Natural Methods to Dissolve Kidney Stones
Drink a lot of water every day.
Kidney stones that are smaller than five millimeters are usually flushed out of the body without medical help. If your kidney stones are not painful enough to need treatment but you can feel it, your doctor will most likely recommend drinking two to three quarters of water until the stone is flushed out. Avoid beverages with artificial sweeteners, alcohol, sugar or caffeine while you’re trying to flush out kidney stones.
RELATED: Foods to Avoid with Kidney Stones
Change your diet.
Kidney stones are caused by the accumulation of certain minerals, so reducing your consumption of foods that contain these minerals can help you shrink your kidney stones. For instance, if you have calcium stones, you should reduce your consumption of foods that can make the problem worse such as fatty foods, dairy products, tofu, salty foods and oysters. If you’re suffering from calcium oxalate stones, you should avoid foods that contain high levels of oxalate such as sweet potatoes, grapes, chocolate, rhubarb and coffee. For uric acid stones, avoid foods with uric acid such as beans, cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach.
Herbal remedies have not been scientifically proven to get rid of kidney stones, but many have discovered that consumption of certain herbs can help shrink the stones. Black tea increases the flow of urine as it’s a diuretic. Apple cider vinegar is said to help dissolve kidney stones. Consume one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every day. You can also mix it with water.
If the kidney stones cannot be flushed out naturally, your doctor may advise a type of medication that relaxes the muscles in the ureter to help you flush out the stones more easily. This should be enough for smaller stones. Extra help is needed for bigger ones.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy surgery
Larger kidney stones that cannot be dissolved may need to be removed through surgery. A tiny incision will be made in your back and a small instrument will be inserted to remove the stone.
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy
Sound waves are used to break up large kidney stones so that they can pass more easily. The process can be painful, so patients are usually put under anesthesia during the process of crushing the stones. While extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is an effective treatment, it can cause pain and bruising as the small pieces of kidney stones eventually pass.
Stones that are too small to need surgery, but are too large to be pulverized with shock wave therapy may be removed with the ureteroscope. Once the stone is found, it’s pulverized using small tools. The process can be painful, so the patient is usually put under general or local anesthesia.
There are cases when hyperparathyroidism causes calcium kidney stones to form. This is when the parathyroid glands produce excessive amounts of parathyroid hormone. Once the doctor has found out the cause of the hyperparathyroidism, he will suggest the proper treatment to correct the problem.
What is the Best Way to Dissolve Kidney Stones?
RELATED: Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Know if you really have kidney stones
Even tiny kidney stones can cause a lot of pain. If you suffered from kidney stones before, you will likely know exactly what you have. The symptoms of kidney stones, however, are sometimes confused with symptoms of other disorders. As such, it is a good idea to visit your doctor to know if you really have kidney stones. Some of the most common symptoms of kidney stones are:
- Severe pain in the lower back and side that often spreads to the groin and abdomen
- Putrid, pink, brown or cloudy urine
- Varying levels of pain
- Pain during urination
Check With Your Doctor
You should go to your doctor to get an imaging test. When you notice the symptoms of kidney stones, getting an ultrasound, x-ray or CT scan can help you determine the best way to treat the stones. The process will reveal the number, shape and size of the stones. Your doctor will most likely recommend using at-home medications if the stone is smaller than five millimeters. If the stones are larger or you have multiple kidney stones, your doctor may give medications or suggest a different medical treatment to break down the stones so that your body can flush them out naturally.
It is also important to determine the type of stones you have. There are different kinds of kidney stones. Calcium stones are the most common type and caused by high levels of calcium combined with other substances like uric acid or oxalate. Struvite stone can form following a urinary tract infection. Cystine stones are caused by an unusual genetic disease. Uric acid stones form when the urine has too much acid.
While kidney stones cause the same symptoms, they can be caused by different factors. Knowing the cause of the stones will not only help you shrink them, but also prevent their formation in the future. Your doctor may conduct urine or blood tests to determine the kind of stones you have. After a stone passes, your doctor may send it to a lab for an examination to know its makeup and determine the best solution to dissolve the stones.