Kidney stones are known to be a painful medical event and according to a recent study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings the number of people suffering from kidney stones is on the rise.
The study looked at the prevalence of kidney stones in over 10,000 Minnesota residents from 1984 – 2012. The findings revealed the over the course of the 28 year study, kidney stone incidents increased two times in men and four times in women. The highest increase being in women ages 18 to 39 where in 1984 there were 62 cases per 100,000 women and by 2012 it was up to 252 cases per 100,000 women. ¹
Now in case you are not familiar, our kidneys are small bean shaped organs that are located just below the rib cage in the middle of the back. Their main job is to filter out the extra water and waste products from the blood which creates urine. (The average person has approximately five quarts of blood, which passes through the kidneys about 40 times a day for a total filtered volume of about 200 quarts, in turn creating about two quarts of urine.) Sometimes, as the kidneys filter the blood, specific wastes crystalize and clump together forming stones.
There are a number of different types of kidney stones but according to the study nearly 75% of kidney stones are made of calcium salts, specifically calcium oxalate.
Oxalates are a natural, and unavoidable, substance found in plants, like spinach, beets, nuts and tea. When a plant has an extremely high concentration of oxalates it is considered poisonous, like rhubarb leaves. Oxalates are the plants’ defense system to protect itself from being eaten, but when eaten it prevents proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. (Oxalates bind to minerals in the blood stream and prevent your body from absorbing them.) Now there is no way to escape oxalates because that would mean you would have to avoid all plant based foods which is just not wise but if you have a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones it is usually advisable to eat a low oxalate diet.
Kidney stones are a common occurrence, but to save oneself from this grueling ordeal, prevention is the best medicine. Staying hydrated by drinking enough water is key. According to, Much. Syahbani, head of the renal unit at Sardjito Hospital, “In the early stage, the disease can be cured easily and cheaply by drinking lime (Citrus aurantifolia) juice.”² The juice of two limes that have a diameter of 4.5 cm each can be mixed with two glasses of water and two tablespoons should be taken daily after dinner for 10 days when acute. Syahbani stated that regularly adding a squeeze of a fresh lime juice to your water can be a highly beneficial way of disrupting the ability to crystalize thereby preventing the formation of stones.²
Acupuncture and herbal medicines have also proven to be effective in the treatment and prevention of kidney stones. On the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi) site in an article titled Acupuncture and Herbs Force Expulsion of Kidney Stones, it was stated that based on the findings, research confirms that acupuncture and herbal medicine play an important role in the alleviation or elimination of kidney stones and that both should be part of a patients standard of care for best outcomes. ³
To improve your outcome during an acute kidney stone attack be sure to incorporate acupuncture and herbal medicine into your care.
If you have a history of kidney stones acupuncture and herbal medicine can help prevent future stones.
Contact me today to find out more about how acupuncture or herbal medicine can help you overcome future painful kidney stones.
- The Changing Incidence and Presentation of Urinary Stones Over 3 Decades
Kittanamongkolchai, Wonngarm et al. Mayo Clinic Proceedings , Volume 93 , Issue 3 , 291 – 299
- Lime juice can wash your kidney stones away, JAKARTA POST. Ridlo Aryanto. WORLDSOURCES, INC.
- Acupuncture and Herbs Force Expulsion of Kidney Stones. HealthCmi. 5 Dec 2017.