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Kidney stones are hard masses found inside the kidneys, typically consisting of insoluble calcium compounds, but high concentrates of oxalate and phosphorus can also be a cause. They can range in size from a grain of sand to larger than a golf ball. They are often expressed as symptoms of severe pain radiating from the side, back and lower abdomen below the ribs. Urination can also painful, bloody, cloudy, foul-smelling and coming in persistent urges. Kidney stones can cause feelings of nausea, vomiting and fever.
Kidney stones occur when the ph balance of water, salts and minerals in the urine changes, causing the minerals to crystallise, forming a ‘stone’. There can be a few different causes of this, such as not drinking enough water or a prior medical condition such as inflammatory bowel disease. Around 25% occur in people with a family history of them, but lifestyle-associated conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity (and weight-loss surgery), diet and lack of exercise are all known to raise the risk of developing kidney stones.
Note: There are four major types of kidney stones, calcium stones, uric acid stones, struvite stones, and cystine stones. In order to correctly treat your kidney stones, it is important to accurately diagnose which type you have.
Note: To help re-balance the natural ph of the body and urine, we recommend a full detox of the system. See our article on detoxification for more information.
Magnesium deficiency is directly linked to the formation of kidney stones. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium, reducing the risk of it crystallising in the kidneys. Good sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens such as swiss chard, raw cacao, seeds and avocados.
Avoid eating high amounts of sugar, including refined sugar, fructose and artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, as they interfere with the absorption of calcium.
It is important for those with kidney stones not to cut the intake of calcium from the diet completely, but instead manage the source of that calcium. Calcium supplements should be avoided. Instead, calcium intake should come completely from food sources such as fermented milk products, green vegetables and legumes.
Citric acid has been shown to help stop crystallisation in the kidneys. Try drinking fresh, diluted orange juice and lemon water.
High-sodium diets also cause more calcium to be excreted into the urine. Sodium is an essential mineral and must not be cut completely, but try to manage your salt intake and only use natural sources such as sea salt or Himalayan salt.
Consuming high amounts of animal protein can also cause kidney stones to develop. Limit your intake, or avoid completely.
It is also important to take care of your overall kidney health. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, and add more antioxidants to your diet. Cranberries, garlic, cauliflower and olive oil are all very nourishing for the kidneys.
If you have kidney stones, it is very important to stay hydrated. Consuming plenty of water can help kidney stones to pass. People who are very sedentary are much more prone to developing kidney stones, as limited activity causes the bones to release more calcium. Exercise also helps combat high blood pressure and obesity, which are both causes of kidney stones. Kidney stones can cause severe pain. Use a heating pad or hot compress on painful areas to give relief.