Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of your fist. They are located near the middle of your back, just below the ribcage, one on each side of the spine.
The kidneys are sophisticated trash collectors. Every day, your kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood to create about two quarts of waste products and extra water. This becomes your urine, which flows from the kidneys to your bladder through tubes called ureters. Your bladder stores the urine until it is convenient for you to void it.
A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney out of substances in the urine. A stone may stay in the kidney or break loose and travel down the urinary tract. A small stone may pass all the way out of the body without causing too much pain. A larger stone may get stuck in the passage, block the flow of urine and cause great pain.
Most kidney stones are made from calcium oxalate - calcium combined with oxalic acid. Several other types of stones occur, but they are more rare.
Kidney stones may lie dormant in your kidneys for a long time and are only discovered when they show up on an X-ray. They can, however, cause problems: back ache, urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, kidney damage and the dreaded renal colic.
Renal colic is the excruciating pain experienced when a kidney stone is being passed along the ureter. Experts claim that this is the most severe pain known to man (and woman). It usually originates in the loin area, but may radiate down to the genitals. One sufferer said that it felt as if someone had plunged a knife into his lower back and was continuously twisting and turning it in his flesh. Not an experience you would wish to have! So what can be done to prevent it?
PREVENTING KIDNEY STONES
Avoid dehydration: There is ample evidence that suggests that a major cause of kidney stones is dehydration. The more concentrated your urine, the greater the risk of stone formation. Therefore, drink more water to create larger quantities of a more dilute urine.
Try to drink half an ounce of water for each pound of your body weight. Drinking lots of water helps to flush away the substances that form stones in the kidneys. Distilled water with lime or lemon juice is particularly helpful. Other useful fluids include coconut water, cranberry juice, watermelon juice and dandelion tea.
Consume less meat: Professor W.G. Robertson from the Medical Research Council in Leeds, England, is one of the foremost experts in diet and kidney stones. His research shows that consuming animal protein will greatly increase your risk of forming kidney stones.
Why is this so? When enough animal protein containing foods are consumed, the concentration of calcium and oxalate in the urine increases sharply within a few hours. When the kidneys are under a persistent long-term assault from increased calcium and oxalate, kidney stones are more likely to result.
Robertson published studies that showed how patients with recurrent kidney stones could resolve their problem by simply shifting their diet away from animal proteins. The worldwide problem of kidney stone formation appears to be particularly aggravated by high dairy consumption.
Supplements: Supplementation with vitamin B6 and magnesium lowers the levels of calcium and oxalate in the urine and thus helps reduce stone formation.
Flushing out kidney stones: Conventional treatments for kidney stones involve expensive, invasive surgical interventions or high-tech techniques to shatter large stones with sound waves.
Some inexpensive, low-tech, non-invasive approaches are worth considering. They seek to assist the body to flush out smaller stones in a non-toxic way.
Kidney Flush 1
A six-pack (cans) or a two-litre bottle of Coca-Cola. The high phosphoric acid content of this beverage is a powerful catalyst for dissolving your kidney stones. (It will dissolve corrosion on your battery terminals too) I do not recommend this drink for general use.
68 packs of fresh asparagus (canned or frozen works too)
A high-speed blender
1. Over the course of two hours, drink the 72 ounces of Coke.
2. Steam or quickly boil the asparagus. Process in the blender until well pureed.
3. Within five minutes from drinking the last 12 ounces, eat the asparagus puree. Instead of just gulping it down, try to mix the puree well with your saliva.
Try to keep from urinating for as long as possible. The remedy begins working immediately and, within a few hours, you should begin to pass the stones through your urine as sand-like particles.
Kidney Flush 2
Celery seed tea remedy
(Warning: This remedy should not be used by pregnant women.)
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 cups water
1. Bring water to boil.
2. Add celery seeds and cook until soft.
3. Remove mixture from heat and strain off seeds from the water.
4. Drink the tea - 1/2 cup every hour over the course of 2 hours.
As with the original remedy, try to keep from urinating for as long as possible.
Email Dr. Tony Vendryes at firstname.lastname@example.org, log on to www.anounceofprevention.org, or listen to 'An Ounce of Prevention' on Power 106FM on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.