Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis) have become a very common medical problem in western societies and are mainly due to poor eating habits. Most kidney stones are so small that they go unnoticed, but sometimes they can become very large. These large stones, when moving in the urinary system, cause great and often excruciating pain. Kidney stones most commonly affect men over the age of 30.
Complementary therapies offer effective and natural pain relief in relatively mild cases as well as inhibition of stone growth. In general, it is much easier to prevent the formation of kidney stones from the beginning, than to prevent them from increasing in size afterward. In the early 20th century, when the diet was more natural, kidney stones were a very rare occurrence. Over the years and as the diet changed with lower fiber intake and higher fat, sugar, and preservatives, the condition became much more common. These days, a person living in western societies has a 10% chance of developing a kidney stone, at least once in his/her life. Patients with nephrolithiasis can prevent a recurrence of this painful condition by making changes in their diet and lifestyle and by specialized dietary supplement intake.
There are different types of kidney stones, with 80% of them consisting of calcium salts and especially oxalate. Some stones are made up of calcium phosphate, uric acid, cystine, and more rarely other materials. If kidney stones are mainly made of uric acid, the patient should follow the nutritional and therapeutic recommendations for gout.
In cases of very large stones or severe pain, the patient may need to be hospitalized. The condition can become urgent when the stones block the flow of urine for a long time, with the result that the urine causes swelling of the kidneys (hydronephrosis). During an acute crisis due to a kidney stone, there is also a higher risk of urinary tract infection. Treatment may include breaking the stone with sound waves (lithotripsy) or surgical removal.
Smaller stones that do not cause symptoms or infections are usually eliminated without problems. Patients with chronic sensitivity to kidney stones should use effective prevention strategies and nutritional programs.
Symptoms and signs of nephrolithiasis
- Pain in one side of the lower back, abdomen, or groin
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills and fever if the stone causes blockage and infection
Deeper causes of nephrolithiasis
- Poor nutrition
- Urine pH balance
- Food allergies and intolerance
- Infections that disrupt the flow of urine
- Lack of physical exercise
- Lack of magnesium and potassium
- Inherited disorders in the proper absorption of calcium or excretion of large amounts of oxalates
- Metabolic disorders that increase the risk of kidney stones, such as hyperparathyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, sarcoidosis, various cancers, and others
Laboratory tests for the investigation, diagnosis, and the monitoring of nephrolithiasis
The following tests are useful for the investigation of nephrolithiasis:
- Urinary Stone Analysis
- Acid-Base Balance
- TrophoScan®. Food Intolerance Control. It includes the most common foods that can trigger the onset and worsen of nephrolithiasis
- EnteroScan®. Examinations of the function of the Gastrointestinal System. It includes many different and important tests to investigate the possible causes of the occurrence or worsening of nephrolithiasis
- Leaky Gut Test and Indican, Urine
- Micronutrient Elements Profile
- Vitamin Comprehensive Profile