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March 6, 2017
By L. Carr, Contributing Columnist
If you have ever passed a kidney stone you won’t want to do it again
in a hurry. Just the very words “kidney stone” strike fear into the
heart. If you haven’t experienced it, imagine a sharp, spiky kidney
stone passing from the kidney to the bladder through the narrow
ureter – it is understandably highly painful.
But while the process of passing a kidney stone will never be easy, it
can be less excruciating.
A kidney stone is normally made up of calcium and oxalic oxide, or they
may be made up of calcium and phosphate, or struvite. These are
substances which are naturally occurring within your urine and they do
not usually cause problems. But they can crystallize into unwanted
stones inside the kidneys. What can you do if you experience a stone?
What measures can you take to get the stone out, as painlessly as
Who Gets Kidney Stones?
Anyone can suffer from a kidney stone but there are factors that raise
the risk considerably. Around 1 in every 11 people in the US suffers
from kidney stones, according to a 2012 study from the University of
The prevalence among men is actually higher than among women
according to the researchers (10.6 percent compared with 7.1
percent). You are more likely to suffer a kidney stone if you are
overweight or obese, while black and Hispanic people are less likely to
report a problem with kidney stones.
Your diet and your prior health are also affective factors when it comes
to an increased or decreased risk of having to pass a kidney stone.
What Are the Causes of Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones occur when the waste products in the blood, like
calcium, ammonia, uric acid, or cysteine, form crystals. These crystals
get trapped within the kidneys. They grow in size to become hard-sided
lumps. It is more likely that this crystal formation process will occur
when you are not getting enough fluids. There are other factors also
associated with an increased risk of kidney stones.
You are also more likely to get kidney stones when you consume a low
fiber diet with a lot of protein. If you are not physically active or you
have recently had a kidney illness, you are more at risk. Medications can
increase the risk of having to pass a kidney stone, including long term
use of aspirin, antacids, diuretics, or some antibiotics.
Once a stone has formed, your body then has to get rid of it. And that’s
where the pain problem begins. The body tries to expel the stone
through the urinary system with the aim of passing the stone into the
toilet. In most cases, the stone will be small enough to be passed with
your urine, sometimes with a little extra help.
We looked at a number of scientific studies to find out the methods that
can make this process a bit easier – and some of them may surprise you.
1. Drink Diet Soda to Help Pass a Kidney Stone
One of the most commonly cited ways to help pass a kidney stone is by
increasing the amount of citrate, or citric acid, in the diet. Citrate helps
reduce the amount of calcium in the urine by sticking to it, thereby
preventing stones from getting any bigger and making them easier to
And one of the surprising ways you can get more citrate in your body is
by drinking diet soda.
A 2009 study from the University of California, San Francisco says that
people with kidney stones can benefit from drinking diet soda as these
drinks contain enough citrate and malate to help slow down the
development of stones.
What's the best type of soda to drink to pass a kidney stone? The
researchers looked at the citrate and malate content of popular diet
soda drinks and found that Diet Sunkist Orange and Diet 7-Up were the
best overall for delivering good levels of citrate and malate.
However, the researchers cautioned people against ditching the water
bottle and taking up the soda can when they suffer from stones.
Instead they suggest that moderate consumption can help.
2. Lemonade Also Helps Pass Kidney Stones
You can also increase your urinary citrate levels by drinking citrus
juices. And it turns out that the best drink to move a stone is lemon
According to a 1996 study from the University of California, lemon juice
has five times the citrate of orange juice. And drinking two liters of
lemonade a day doubled the urinary citrate levels of people who were
suffering from decreased urinary citrate according to the researchers.
Whatever you do, avoid grapefruit juice as this has been shown to
increase the risk of stones and therefore make them more difficult to
3. Get Rid of a Kidney Stone with Cooling Treatments
Did you know that a technique using ice slush helps to remove large
A 2013 study from Henry Ford Hospital in Gujarat, India demonstrates
that the technique using minimally invasive robotic surgery along with
cooling therapy from ice slush helps to remove "staghorn calculi",
which are large kidney stones that possess sharp, craggy branches.
The ice slush technique is to protect the kidney from deteriorating while
the surgery is underway. The sterile ice slurry is washed over the
kidneys through syringes.
4. A Form of Acupuncture to Pass Kidney Stones
A 2002 study from Kaizuka City Hospital, Osaka, Japan found that a
particular type of acupuncture called trigger point injection helped to
reduce the pain of kidney stones and therefore helped ease the
passage of stones through the body. The researchers looked at 66
patients suffering from kidney stones and found that at the end of the
treatment the kidney stones had disappeared completely in 15 of the 30
patients taking the trigger point injections.
5. Increase Urine Flow with Herbs to Pass a Kidney Stone
Several different herbs, or combinations of herbs, are recommended
when trying to pass a kidney stone as they are believed to increase the
flow of urine and therefore expel the stone faster.
These herbs include, according to the 1998 publication “The Complete
German Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal
Medicines” by M Blumenthal, birch leaf, asparagus, dandelion, juniper,
rosemary, parsley, buchu, horsetail, juniper, and goldenrod.
6. Ayurvedic Medicine Can Help Pass Kidney Stones
Pashanbheda plants are listed in the ancient Ayurvedic system of
medicine as diuretics and are widely used to break up stones and help
them pass through the body, according to a study in 2013 by
Bundelkhand University, Jhansi in India.
There are a variety of different plants that are considered to be within
the Pashanbheda sector, although there is debate as to how effective
they actually are.
7. New Natural Fruit Extract Dissolves Kidney Stones
According to a 2016 study by the University of Houston, a natural fruit
extract can dissolve calcium oxalate crystals, which are the most
common types of kidney stones.
This new discovery says that the compound hydroxycitrate (HCA) is
actually able to dissolve crystals and is actually more effective than the
traditional treatments of raising citrate levels in the body.
The study looked at the compound in the laboratory and also in seven
human subjects who took the compound as a supplement over the
course of three days.
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|Orange sodas help you to pass a
kidney stone, scientists have learned..