Hard accretions of calcium and other salts which form in the larger urine-collecting ducts in one or both kidneys; sometimes associated with Gout, parathyroid problems, or kidney disease. If very small, stones may pass into ureters and out of the body unnoticed; if too large to pass into the ureters, they remain in the kidneys, perhaps giving mild pain whenever fragments break off. If a medium-sized stone enters a ureter, then becomes stuck or only gradually works its way down to the bladder, the result is renal colic, waves of severe stabbing or cramping pain which abate when the stone stops moving; pain follows the route of the ureter.
Once in the bladder, kidney stones are removed in the same way as Bladder Stones. If a stone is stuck in a ureter, blocking the flow of urine, surgery may be necessary. To prevent recurrence, constitutional homeopathic treatment should be sought. A kidney with a stone in it is vulnerable to infection (see Pyelonephritis); in a few cases, scarring from large stones leads to Kidney Failure.
If symptoms are those of renal colic, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours, and select an emergency remedy from the list below; the appropriate remedy should relax the circular fibres in the ureter wall, allowing the stone to descend to the bladder.
Specific remedies to be given as often as necessary for up to 10 doses while waiting for help
- Stitching pain felt between lower ribs and hip bone when urinating, pain radiates from a specific point and is made worse by slightest movement but is relieved by lying on painful side Berberis 30c
- Right-sided pain which stabs towards genitals and down right leg, causing nausea and vomiting, or right-sided pain which shoots into rectum, causing urge to stool, weak urine flow which stops altogether on straining to increase flow, person chilly and irritable Nux 30c
- Pain in right side, which stops at bladder and does not go down into the leg, also pain in the back relieved by urinating, urine clear with red sediment in it, symptoms worse between 4 pm and 8 pm Lycopodium 30c
- Pain darts down ureter, causing nausea and cold sweat Tabacum 30c
- Pain feels like knives stabbing in all directions, burning sensation in bladder and intolerable urge to urinate, person thirsty but sickened by thought of food Cantharis 30c
Specific remedy to be given 4 times daily for 5 days immediately after removal of a kidney stone
Self-help: A hot-water bottle or an ice pack held over the site of the pain usually offers some relief.
Recurrence can be avoided by taking some or all of the following measures.
- Avoid high-dose long-term supplementation with Vitamin C
- Avoid calcium and Vitamin D supplements and antacids containing calcium
- Avoid foods containing sucrose and lactose
- Reduce intake of animal protein
- Reduce intake of salt and alcohol
- If previous stones contained oxalates, reduce intake of tea, coffee, chocolate, peanuts, spinach, rhubarb, and beetroot
- Increase fluid intake (not tea), but if you live in a hard water area do not drink more than 2 litres (3 ½ pints) a day
- Eat a high fibre diet
- Take supplements of magnesium and B6
- Lose any excess weight
- Increase Vitamin A rich foods
- Increase exercise