Killer Kidney Stones by Maria Dorfner

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On November 1, I awoke with sudden, excruciating pain in my lower abdomen.    The kind of pain that unleashes a primal scream.

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Cue Bernard Hermann’s music while Norman Bates stabs you repeatedly with a knife.

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It also feels like I have to urinate every two seconds, but can’t.  My mind races to what could have caused it.  I drank tap water for the only time the day prior. I also went to my sister’s Halloween party and ate things I don’t normally eat.

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Almonds. Did I eat too many?   I workout every day. Did I overdo it?

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OR is it the lengthy conversation I had with someone the night before about my disappointment at what a girl in her twenties had said at work. She said she didn’t believe in love.  I fell asleep thinking how sad it is that anyone in the world would believe  that. Was this  psychosomatic?  Did I bring it on myself with my thoughts?

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Running to the restroom interrupts my self-recrimination.  I shower and dress for work anyway, hoping it will eventually stop.

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It gets WORSE.  I call the doctor and he tells me to come in.  The first question I’m asked is on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever, how bad is it.  I answer 9.  The doctor scribbles something down and disappears for what feels like days.  Did he not hear me?

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He returns and hands me a cup.  He tells me to do the best I can. Horrified by the filthy bathroom I run to another one.

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Hours waiting for results feels like days. The doc finally returns and says it’s a bladder infection –very common, not to worry.

I tell him it feels more like a kidney stone in my ureter. I point to location. Doc looks at me wondering how I even know such a term.

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He reluctantly agrees to take an x-ray.  I’m thinking he’s delighted to 1. prove me wrong and 2. bill me for doing it.

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I recall Dad having a kidney stone. He looked like Capt. Kirk  fighting a sentient reptilian humanoid when I drove him to the hospital.

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But the doc returns smiling smugly to state  x-ray shows nothing. He sends me home with an antibiotic and still in pain.

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I return to work and my daily routine, but the pain worsens. By Nov. 7, it’s unbearable. So much so that I go to the ER.

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Again, the doctor asks on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how bad is it?

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This time, I scream like Nadia Comaneci’s judges in the ’76 Olympics.  TEN! TEN! TEN!  He vanishes for hours, as if I shouted ONE.

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Finally, the doc returns. He’s orders a CT Scan.  I’m brought into a room with GE equipment that looks like it must have cost 200K.

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I begin to wonder what it will cost, as the machine propels me towards the inner tunnel stopping at my lower abdomen.

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When it stops, an OZ sounding voice on a speaker says, “Hold your breath.  Breathe.”  3 x’s. In. Out. 5 min. Done. More my speed.

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I wait for results.  Doc returns to say it’s a kidney stone lodged in my ureter–no bladder infection. I refrain from saying told you so.

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Instead, I ask if I could see it, and the doctor laughs as though no one has ever asked such a dumb question.

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Humor me.  He says okay and I follow him to a computer screen.  I see it. A tiny white speck that has me feeling like I’m giving birth to triplets.

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I name them “Pebbles and Bam Bam.” The doc laughs some more.

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I am fascinated by how something so tiny could feel like a jagged BOULDER shredding everything in its path.

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After the CT scan diagnosis, I’m given a shot in my arm for the excruciating pain I had now been in for 7 days and nights.

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They also prescribe Naproxen to widen the thin ureter tube to help the stone dislodge naturally, and Percocet as needed for pain.

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I’m then handed 3 white paper funnels with a filter at bottom and told to urinate in it at home.   There are different types of stones, and the only way the doctor can analyze which one you have is for you to catch it while urinating & return the specimen.

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They tell me to return if it doesn’t dissolve naturally, which can take hours  or up to three weeks.  Three weeks?!!  Good Golly.  I find this graph later.

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Based on it, my .3mm has almost an 80% chance of passing naturally within 12.2 days. Some say a kidney stone less than .5mm in size can dissolve naturally within 3 hours or a few days.  Nice.  I aimed for THAT.   Mission accomplished. 🙂

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Based on the stone location, which I only knew because I asked to see it, I have a 75% chance of it departing naturally.

If you are diagnosed with a kidney stone, be sure to ask your doctor:  1. How big is it? 2.  Where is it located? Write it down or ask him to for you because you may be in too much pain to process the information at the time.  It helps you make a best treatment option decision.

Based on the size and location of mine, I feel better determined to give natural birth to Pebbles and Bam, Bam.

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The following is recommended to stay comfortable while waiting for a kidney stone to pass:

1.  Prescription pain killer taken as needed or over-the-counter Ibuprofen (recommended dose from your doctor or pharmacist) or take warm baths and use a heating pad on painful areas, as needed.

2.  Drink twelve 8 oz. glasses of water daily, or six 16 oz. bottles of water daily.  Here’s a visual.

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I ask what caused it and the doc says they don’t really know what causes kidney stones.

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I need to prevent this from EVER happening again, so I want answers.  All he advises is to drink lots of water.

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I already drink tons of water! He tells me drink more.  I ask a lot more questions, but get no answers.

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What caused it and how can I prevent it from happening again?  I put on my sleuth hat to answer my questions.

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The Nancy Drew of Health will get to the bottom of it. But I find a lot of scattered and misleading information.

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I find this to be true with most health information out there.  It overwhelms people at the worst time.

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It’s scary that the medical community, government and those reporting information don’t always have our best interests at heart.

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It’s not that the information isn’t out there. It’s just all over the place, unreliable or contradictory.

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For instance, I’ve always heard CRANBERRY JUICE is good for kidney stones.  Not so. It can actually cause them. Very high in oxalate.

More here:  http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Regulation/FDA-seizes-another-2-million-worth-of-DMAA-products?nocount

HERE’S SOME INFORMATION TO HELP YOU:

First, here’s a diagram of the Ureter inside your body. They are long thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

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Muscles in the ureter wall continually tighten and relax forcing urine downward.

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They are so narrow that if something the size of a tiny pearl gets lodged in there –it blocks the flow of urine causing intense pain.

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1. What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are a hard mass of crystals that form from minerals in your urine.  This hard mass that can vary in size from a tiny pea to a golf ball can get stuck in the narrow tube connecting your kidneys and bladder. The pain is caused by the wall of the uretra being unable to tighten and relax as it continually does forcing urine downward.  Think of the waves or splashing caused if you suddenly placed a large boulder in a flowing river. Only it’s waves of intense pain inside your body made by something that may be smaller than a grain of rice. Some can be larger with the largest and most painful being the size of a golf ball.

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2.  What causes kidney stones? 

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Wearinghouse, kidney stones are caused when the normal balance of water, salts, minerals, calcium, oxalate, phosphorous and other substances found in urine changes.  Family history and not drinking enough fluid is the number one cause.

The real question is what causes the normal balance to change?

I’m a huge fan of examining what you eat first whenever you have ANY health issue.  The process of elimination (or adding what may be needed) is a great way to see if there is a link.  The list of foods to avoid is endless.  See #5.

3.  Who gets kidney stones?  Anyone can get one.  Men are twice as likely to get them as women.

4.  How much water do I need to drink daily? Six 16 oz. or twelve 8 oz. bottles daily.  Add fresh lemon whenever you can.

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5.  What do I need to avoid?

  1. Limit caffeine to 300 mg. daily, cup of tea has 80 mg. and 8 oz. coffee has 150 mg.
  2. Pizza
  3. Bread rolls
  4. cheese
  5. black pepper
  6. beats
  7. strawberries
  8. dry beans
  9. peanuts
  10. almonds
  11. cashews
  12. black tea
  13. soy beans
  14. tofu
  15. meat substitutes with soy
  16. dark leafy green vegetables
  17. chocolate
  18. more than 1000 mg. Vitamin C
  19. Cranberries (loaded with oxalates)
  20. hazlenuts
  21. swiss chard
  22. sweet potatoes,
  23. soy products
  24. cured meats
  25. bacon
  26. pickles
  27. sauerkraut
  28. kimchi
  29. soda
  30. sweetened drinks
  31. high levels of Vitamin D (lifeguards get more kidney stones out in sun more)
  32. salty foods
  33. fish liver
  34. food or drinks with high fructose corn syrup
  35. alcohol
  36. pork
  37. grapefruit juice
  38. diuretics
  39. calcium based antacids
  40. reduce sodium to 800 mg. daily
  41. animal protein (meat, fish, eggs)
  42. hot dogs
  43. canned soup and vegetable
  44. luncheon meats
  45. fast food
  46. processed frozen food,
  47. spinach
  48. rhubarb
  49. wheat bran
  50. diet low in carbs
  51. beware of hidden sodium
  52. too much protein
  53. low carbs.
  54. Anything high in sugar, sodium (salt) or protein

 6.  What foods CAN  I safely eat? 

  1. Bananas
  2. Pumpkin seeds (soak before eating)
  3. Avocado
  4. Legumes
  5. Think of meat, fish and poultry as garnish to your email, and not the main course. Buy all meat, fish and poultry fresh.
  6. Bran flakes
  7. Oats
  8. Wheat
  9. Rice
  10. Mango
  11. Add lemon to your water (half a cup of lemon)
  12. Apple cider vinegar
  13. magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, vitamin K2 & A, B6
  14. Carrots
  15. Whole wheat bread
  16. Wheat cereal
  17. Oat bran
  18. Beans
  19. Drink lemonade made from real lemons.
  20.  Calcium in food form only (no supplements) and limit it daily (one yogurt). One woman said she got kidney stones from drinking milk.
  21. Lime, citrus fruits

One study says ONE glass of wine a day can help prevent kidney stones, so add that to the list. I’ll keep updating this list.

According to Dr. Oz:

Foods that can prevent kidney stones:

  1. Bottled water
  2. Oranges
  3. Yogurt
  4. Lentils

Foods that can cause kidney stones:

  1. Black tea
  2. Beets
  3. Spinach
  4. Potato chips

I’m guilty of #3.  I absolutely love spinach with olive oil and garlic.   There still isn’t a lot on the CAN EAT list.

7.  How is a kidney stone treated?   If the stone is smaller than 5mm, it will most likely pass on its own. The doctor can prescribe something to help move it along and something for the pain.  If it is larger than 5mm, the most common medical procedure for treating kidney stones is known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This therapy uses high-energy shock waves to break a kidney stone into little pieces. The small pieces can then move through the urinary tract more easily. Side effects can include bleeding, bruising, or pain after the procedure. There is also another procedure where they physician can go in with a tube to break up the stone.

8.  How are kidney stones diagnosed?  1. Urine 2. Blood 3. X-Ray 4. CT Scan (most reliable)

  This information is provided by NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Last reviewed November 22, 2013.                                               

Kidney Stones: Oxalate-Controlled Diet

The Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, Toll Free 866-223-2273 x1234

Your doctor has ordered a diet to help you decrease the chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a compound that is naturally present in many foods. The following six factors increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

1. The amount of oxalate in certain foods.

Although many foods contain oxalate, only nine foods are known to increase oxalate in the urine and kidney stone formation. They are: beets, spinach, rhubarb, strawberries, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, and all dry beans (fresh, canned, or cooked), excluding lima and green beans. It is best to avoid these foods.

2. The amount of calcium in your diet.

Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. You need calcium in your diet to bind oxalate in the intestines. This helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form. Consuming a moderate amount of calcium every day (2 to 3 servings) from dairy foods or other calcium-rich foods is recommended. If you take a calcium supplement, calcium citrate is the preferred form.

3. The vitamin C content of your diet.

Oxalate is an end product of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) metabolism. Large doses of Vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, increasing the risk of kidney stone formation. If you are taking a supplement, do not take more than 500 mg of Vitamin C daily.

4. The amount of fluids in your diet.

It is very important to drink plenty of liquids. Your goal should be 10-12 glasses a day. At least 5-6 glasses should be water. You may also want to consider drinking lemonade. Research suggests that lemonade may be helpful in reducing the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation.

5. The amount of protein in your diet.

Eating large amounts of protein may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Your daily protein needs can usually be met with 2-3 servings a day, or 4 to 6 ounces.

6. The amount of sodium in your diet.

Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to 2-3 grams per day. Limit eating processed foods such as hot dogs, deli meats, sausage, canned products, dry soup mixes, sauerkraut, pickles, and various convenience mixes.

Use the Food Guide Pyramid to plan a well-balanced diet. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are necessary for the proper functioning, maintenance, and repair of your body. In addition to these major nutrients, the body requires water, minerals, and vitamins for good health.

Urology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-5600 Nephrology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-6771

        This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace  the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider.  Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2013 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

FACTOIDS

  • Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract
  • Each year in the U.S. people make more than one million visits to their healthcare providers, and more than 300,000 people go to the Emergency Room for kidney stone problems
  • Anyone can get one
  • If you have one you’re more likely to get it again within 7 years
  • 12% men, 6% women
  • Ages 20 to 50
  • Drinking lots of water is the most recommended way to prevent them (when your urine is clear or light yellow you are drinking enough)
  • Men are twice as likely as women to get kidney stones (12% of men develop them in their lifetime)

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Effective Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones

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8 millimeters (0.31 in) in diameter Kidney Stones

One of the most crucial organs in your body is the kidneys. This is because the kidneys function in not only enabling your body to detox, but get rid of impurities from our blood stream in addition to waste products from your urine. Unfortunately, these vital functions of the kidney can be hampered by numerous ailments. Kidney stone is one of the kidney ailments that affect millions of people worldwide. Whereas it might not be life-threatening as kidney failure the pain that comes with kidney stones can be unbearable.

Therefore, by virtue of being on this page chances are that you are looking for information in regards to natural remedies for kidney stones. If that is the case, then keep reading to the very last paragraph of this article.

Natural home remedies for kidney stones

The best way to get rid of kidney stones is to opt for natural remedies. As such, this article has listed a number of cures for kidney stones that you can use at home and enhance your healing process. Or you can read other natural solutions information on this Kidney Stones Removal Report 

Kidney Stone Removal Report Is Endorsed by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar plus olive oil

This is one of the natural home remedies that is not only easily available in your home, but quite efficient when it comes to curing kidney stones naturally. Symptoms such as abdominal pain can be managed by blending olive oil with lemon juice extract. After drinking the mixture, ensure that you have drunk at least 12 ounces of water. Wait for at least 30 minutes before blending 0.5 ounces of lemon juice in 12 ounces of water. Add one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before drinking. Repeat this cycle every one hour until the pain has subsided.

Uva Ursi

This is also another effective natural home remedy for kidney stones. On top of enabling to combat infections that are triggered with the onset of kidney stones, Uva Ursi also functions in assisting in pain reduction and cleansing of the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take 500 milligram at least twice in a day.

Dandelion Root

The dandelion root has been used for years to treat and manage the symptoms associated with kidney stones. In addition to relieving the pain triggered by kidney stones, organic dandelion root functions in cleansing the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 500 milligrams of organic dandelion root two times in a day.

Kidney Beans

One of the foods that doctors and other nutritionist recommend for healthy kidneys are kidney beans. Unknown to a majority of people is that kidney stones have been utilized for ages as a medicinal decoction. Remove the beans from the pods and then boil the beans I purified water for at least 6 hours. Take a cheese garment and strain the liquid. Give the liquid a couple of hours to cool down before taking it. To ease the pain, it is highly suggested that you drink the liquid throughout the day.

Horsetail

Diuretic horsetails are easily accessible in the market and can be used in making horsetail tea. By drinking up to 4 cups of horsetail tea in a day, which is an equivalent of two grams of the thyme pill per day will enable you to eradicate the signs and symptoms triggered by kidney stones.

Pomegranate Juice

There is no doubt that pomegranate plant offers immense health benefits. However, more particularly, the juice as well as the seeds of the pomegranate plant can be regarded as a pure natural remedy for kidney stones. Doctors and scientists have attributed this to the acerbic and caustic traits of the plant. For best results, it is highly recommended that you eat organic pomegranate plant or opt to drink freshly extracted pomegranate juice.

Magnesium

Numerous studies have revealed that persons who constantly suffer from recurring kidney stones are less likely to suffer from persistent kidney stones if they took magnesium. For best results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 300 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis. By doing so, you will be able to deter instances of kidney stones and greatly minimize the signs and symptoms associated with kidney stones.

Organic Celery

Consuming either vegetal or celery seeds will enable you to deter the creation of kidney stones and reduce the signs and symptoms linked with kidney stones.

Basil

Doctors and scientists have been able to prove that taking basil tea can greatly enhance the general well-being of your kidneys.

Dietary change

Consuming unhealthy foods can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Hence, you need to curtail on the quantity of energy drinks as well as sodas that you consume. Moreover, you need to steer clear of processed foods plus alcoholic drinks. Furthermore, avoid foods that have high levels of oxalate such as rhubarb, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, soybean, wheat germ, okra, peanuts, and sweets (sugary foods and chocolates).

Water 

Make sure you are drinking sufficient water everyday to keep your body and kidneys hydrated specially during summer to prevent the increase chances of an imbalance in your kidneys.

Watermelon

In comparison to other types of vegetables, watermelon is packed with potassium salts. Moreover, it is made up of high water content that helps with hydration. For years, doctors and nutritionists have recommended watermelon as it is regarded as a best diuretic and as such can also be used as natural remedy for kidney stones.

Grapes

Grapes have long been regarded as the best home therapy for kidney stones. Grapes are made up of unique diuretic importance with respect to their excessive water substances as well as potassium salt. As a result of its minute sodium chloride plus albumin matter, grapes are of great importance when it comes to eliminating kidney issues.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also commonly referred to as pyridoxine has been found to have exceptional curative success when it comes to curing kidney stones. If you would like to attain lasting results, it is highly recommended that you consume a steady healing dosage of between 100mg and 150 milligram of vitamin B6 alongside other B complex vitamins.

Home remedies for kidney stones are natural and do not trigger unpleasant side effects, it is recommended that you see a general practitioner prior to using them  Or  Click Here To Remove Kidney Stones Painlessly

______________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Resources:
National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 1–800–622–9010 or 212–889–2210
Fax: 212–689–9261
Internet: http://www.kidney.orgleaving site icon

Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation
201 East 19th Street, Suite 12E
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 1–800–OHF–8699 (1–800–643–8699) or 212–777–0470
Fax: 212–777–0471
Email: kimh@ohf.org
Internet: http://www.ohf.orgleaving site icon

Urology Care Foundation
1000 Corporate Boulevard
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone: 1–800–828–7866 or 410–689–3700
Fax: 410–689–3998
Email: info@urologycarefoundation.org
Internet: http://www.UrologyHealth.orgleaving site icon

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littleme1  About the Author: Maria Dorfner is a journalist who has been researching health since she was a kid.

linkedin110   This is  her first and hopefully her last experience with a killer kidney stone. She is the founder of NewsMD Communications and more recently, Healthy Within Network (HWN). MedCrunch is her blog. She began her professional career with an executive internship at NBC NEWS in New York City.  In college, she covered the health beat and Ivy League Roundup for the college newspaper.  She continued to work at NBC for six years before helping them successfully launch their cable station, CNBC.  She then developed and pitched several health series including Healthy Living,  Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Consumers, which she also senior produced and co-anchored on CNBC.  She wrote, produced and directed “21st Century Medicine” for Discovery Health and has worked as a media consultant/strategist for top hospitals, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies. She was awarded a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, Media Recognition Award for her series,  “Heart Smart” and numerous other awards for her health reporting and producing.  If you have any health topic you’d like to see explored here, you can email her at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com Write “Topic for MedCrunch” in Subject line.

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