Kidney stones can be very painful, so it is important to know what they are, how to prevent them, and how to pass them. Getting rid of them is often painful and they can be very disruptive to the body, so you really want to know how to get rid of them as soon as you can.
A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. When you have kidney stones, the effect is that your stones block the flow of your urine. This can cause great pain and potentially serious damage to your kidneys. It is essential to know how to break them down fast.
How big are they and how do I know if I have them?
Kidney stones do not need to be large to cause you pain. They can range in size from being very tiny, not much more than granules, to being, in extreme cases, around the size of a golf ball. Most are around the size of a chickpea or a small marble. They are usually diagnosed through X-rays or ultrasounds. But you can also tell if you may have kidney stones if urinating is painful.
Kidney stones can arise in all kinds of people. Even people whose health is otherwise good can have them, and of course people whose bodies are not in a good state can also suffer from them. Though the causes of what triggers them are not fully known, there are some factors that increase the likelihood of kidney stones forming.
Not drinking enough good fluids, like water, herbal teas, low-sugar juices, or green teas can be a factor. Even normal black tea is generally fine and will keep you hydrated. If you are dehydrated it causes the body to pull minerals from the urine and concentrate them, increasing the chances of forming a crystal and getting kidney stones.
Likewise, certain foods have been associated with stones. These include dark colas and sweetened drinks. Low-fiber diets also risk the development of kidney stones If you suffer from some underlying medical conditions that involve your kidneys, or if you have gout, there is also evidence you may be more susceptible to having kidney stones form and linger.
Details of the traditional treatment for kidney stones
These are usually dietary. Your doctor will likely suggest drinking plenty of water to promote hydration. It is also true that citric acid and citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges can also help with reducing the size of the stone. Apple cider vinegar is also a useful agent in breaking them down so that they can be passed through your urinary tract. Additionally, your doctor may also prescribe pain medication such as ibuprofen and tylenol, to manage the pain associated with the kidney stone, though it is important to note that pain relief will not actually affect the presence of the stones.
Your doctor may also suggest a type of shock wave therapy, which involves breaking up the kidney stone into smaller fragments. This technique can be both uncomfortable and painful, but is often effective in passing the stone in a relatively short period of time.
Causes of Kidney Stones
Dehydration is almost always a factor in kidney stones. Sustained dehydration increases the risk of developing a kidney stone and, if you’re already suffering from one, it can make it much more difficult to pass. One key message to avoiding kidney stones is to stay ‘well-watered’, especially as it is so easy to ensure. If your urine has high levels of certain minerals and salts, such as calcium oxalate, then these can form into crystals that then turn into stones. By drinking enough water, you can help flush out these substances and other potentially harmful impurities before they can build up and form stones.
It very much depends on your personal situation and on the scale of the kidney stones you have, as to whether medications will be offered. Your stones will usually have had to have been identified by an ultrasound or x-ray. Certain medications can help reduce the size of a kidney stone and help it pass more quickly, but they may not lead to an overnight success story. Depending on your pain levels, pain relievers, alpha-blockers, and other medications may be prescribed by a doctor depending on the size, shape, and composition of the stone.
It is by no means the case that you will necessarily have kidney stones just because your siblings or parents have had them, but there is evidence that some people are more likely to have stones if their family members have had them too. If there is a known history of kidney stones, be aware of taking preventative measures to reduce your own risk.
To assist in helping a kidney stone pass in 24 hours, avoid foods high in oxalates, such as chocolate, nuts, and spinach. Additionally, limit your intake of animal proteins, as this can increase calcium levels in the urine and cause further stone formation.
At the same time, ensure you are taking in plenty of water. This helps flush out your kidneys and may help reduce the size of the stone and aid in passing it quickly. Some other foods that can help include citric fruits, such as oranges and lemons, as well as certain supplements including magnesium.
Too many sugary drinks
Don’t be tricked by sugar. Sugary drinks may temporarily make you feel like you’re getting hydrated, but their high sugar content can actually dehydrate your body, increasing the duration of your kidney stones. If you are a gym-goer, then hydrate with water instead of commercial drinks that are very often laden with sugar. You will be healthier for it. As we said, even otherwise very healthy people can sometimes get kidney stones and if you are used to being healthy you will want to get rid of them as fast as you can.
Not getting enough exercise
Exercise is an often overlooked part of combating kidney stones. It plays a holistic role in limiting the chances of them forming and it helps get rid of them fast. Even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity regularly is enough to reduce your risk of ever having them. Walking, jogging, swimming or biking are all options. In addition, physical activity helps to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of which are important in helping to get rid of kidney stones.
High levels of calcium and/or uric acid in the urine
When calcium and uric acid crystals accumulate in your urine they can form sharp, hard stones that are extremely painful when they enter your urinary tract. In order to manage these high levels and get rid of your kidney stone in 24 hours, there are a few things you can do.
- Increase your water intake
- Reduce your sodium intake
- Consider taking over-the-counter medications, such as diuretics. As always, discuss this with a pharmacist or doctor.
Traditional Treatment Options
Drinking plenty of water
The phrase ‘drink your way through a kidney stone’ exists for a reason, which is that it really does work. The increased fluid intake helps to flush out the stones and any other blockages in your urethra. Biochemically speaking, water also helps to make the urine less concentrated and more alkaline, which prevents the stone from growing.
Use apple cider vinegar and lemon juice
These are great foods for helping to break down kidney stones. They are also able to be served as a dressing in salads as well as used as an ingredient in drinks, such as warm waters or honey drinks. They are all-round cleansers, but are also foodstuffs that possess antiinflammatory and antiseptic qualities, while the acids they contain can help to break down the stones in your kidneys. They can work quite fast, so they are worth adding to your diet.
Consume Calcium-Rich Foods
Milk, yogurt, kale, and broccoli are great sources of this nutrient. It plays an important role, as it assists in eliminating oxalic acid, which will have been part of what has formed your kidney stones. It reduces the amount of existing stones. If dairy is an issue, soy milk or canned fish are also great options.
Increase Vegetables in Your Diet
Vegetables are also critical. Broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, or a mixed veg ratatouille are all great ways to enhance health and limit the scale of your kidney stones. A smoothie is also a good way of getting vegetables in your diet. Add in some spinach or kale leaves, or a few cherry tomatoes to a fruit smoothie, or a baby beetroot. Coupled with good hydration, these will help break down your stones.
Include Whole Grains
Consumption of whole grains has been linked to increased urine output which is helpful when it comes to flushing out crystalized minerals like calcium oxalate, a main component in kidney stones. In addition, whole grains contain fiber that can reduce the absorption of kidney-stone-promoting substances. Though you don’t want a diet that has too much fiber, most people today suffer from the opposite problem, and have a low-fiber diet. Low-fiber diets have more health risks, including getting kidney stones, so don’t worry about consuming too much wholegrain. It’s actually quite hard to do.
Choose Healthy Fats
Avocados, fish and nuts are examples of foods with good fats. Opt in your diet for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which come from these sources. These are known as the ‘heart healthy’ fats, as they can reduce heart disease risk too. Make sure you really limit, or avoid entirely, solid or saturated fats like butter and lard, as well as saying goodbye to trans-fats, which are often found in processed foods and deep-fried takeaways. Making smart dietary choices when it comes to fats can make a huge difference to getting rid of your kidney stones fast.
Pain management is a crucial part of passing a kidney stone in 24 hours. The most effective pain medications are typically opiate-based drugs such as codeine, but you are also wise simply to take ibuprofen or paracetamol, as these also work well to decrease inflammation and reduce pain levels. As always, take professional pharmaceutical advice.
Many doctors will prescribe medications such as alpha blockers and calcium channel blockers, which can help to relax the muscles in the ureter, which is the tube between the kidney and the bladder. This kind of relief can be essential in aiding the passage of the kidney stone. Remember that it needs to be coupled to great hydration.
Ultrasound shock wave lithotripsy
This is a well known treatment for passing kidney stones. It involves the use of an ultrasound machine to send shockwaves through your body that break up the kidney stones into smaller pieces, which are then passed out of the body more easily. Though it can be difficult to predict with certainty whether it will work in just twenty four hours, generally, after a successful shock wave lithotripsy procedure, most patients are in fact kidney-stone free. If the stones are larger, however, you may need repeat treatments.
Most people will tend to want to avoid this, if possible, as it is invasive and, like all surgery, has some risks of infection or complications. But if you are suffering and no other approaches have been successful, then you may wish to discuss this option. Certainly be aware that it exists as a way of ridding you of your kidney stones.
How to Pass a Kidney Stone in 24 Hours
Drink plenty of water
This really is the one key message to getting rid of kidney stones, especially as it is so easy to ensure. If your urine has high levels of certain minerals and salts, such as calcium oxalate, then these can form into crystals that then turn into stones. By drinking enough water, you can help flush out these substances and other potentially harmful impurities. Good hydration across a short period of time can make a big difference to small kidney stones leaving the body.
Cut Down on Salt
Eating too much salt can lead to a higher concentration of minerals in your urine, which can prolong the life of your kidney stones. To cut down, instead of salt use herbs, spices, and other seasonings. You should also avoid nutritionally dubious high salt processed foods and opt instead for fresh, whole ingredients whenever possible.
Avoid High-Protein Diets
The body needs protein. That is unequivocal. But it can also have too much protein, and if you are on a high protein diet it can be harmful. When we eat a lot of protein, it puts a strain on our kidneys to process and filter out all the extra waste. That’s why it’s important to monitor our intake, and keep it at a moderate level. In general, experts suggest that no more than 10-15% of your daily calorie intake should come from protein sources. So if you’re struggling with kidney stones, reduce your intake of meat, dairy, and eggs until they pass.
Try herbal remedies
This is certainly worth considering if you’re looking to pass your stone in 24 hours. Herbs like dandelion root, marshmallow root, and oregon grape root are all believed to help dissolve the stones and promote healthy kidney function. Apple cider vinegar and lemon and lime juices and teas are also great.
Increase your intake of fluids
Have you ever heard the saying ‘drink plenty of fluids’? It’s probably something you’re familiar with, but when it comes to passing a kidney stone in 24 hours, that phrase takes on a whole new level of relevance. So what should you do? Increase your intake of fluids – and lots of it!
It may seem obvious, but the more fluids you drink, the faster the stones can be flushed out. Upping your intake of water, herbal tea, vegetable juices and other non-alcoholic beverages is recommended. By drinking plenty of fluids, you’ll also help prevent future stones from forming.
Introduce a low-oxalate diet
Oxalates are found naturally in many foods, such as spinach, rhubarb, wheat bran, and sweet potatoes. These are otherwise healthy foods, but too high an intake can be problematic. Consuming too many of these can increase the amount of calcium in your urine, which can lead to kidney stones forming and hanging around too long. If you are at risk of kidney stones, or already suffering from them, it’s best to limit or even avoid foods that are high in oxalates. Never be afraid to talk to a dietician about making adaptations to your diet that suit your personal situation.
Take vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium supplements
These supplements are worth taking if you are suffering from kidney stones. Vitamin B6 helps the body regulate urine acid levels, while magnesium and potassium can help reduce the risk of calcium getting into the kidneys, which can lead to stone formation. All three of these supplements work together to provide the right balance of nutrients in order to help you pass the stone.
Try ureteral stent surgery if possible
This is a rare treatment and will only be undertaken in consultation with your medical team.
Ureteral stent surgery involves placing a thin tube into the urinary tract, which helps keep the kidney stone in place and allows it to move more easily. This procedure can also help reduce pain and swelling caused by the stones. Be aware that this treatment is not suitable for everyone and is usually a last resort option after other methods have been tried.
Seek medical help if necessary
Never be shy about seeking advice. If you spot any issues with your urine, or feel pain, you should always get this checked out by a doctor. Remember that the kidneys provide an absolutely vital function in your body. If they are damaged, your overall health, and in extreme cases even your life, can be at risk. They are worth looking after.
So be aware of the following questions and seek medical advice if you are worried.
- Do you think your symptoms are getting worse?
- Have you noticed any changes in the amount and color of your urine?
- Do you feel like you are unable to keep fluids down?
Any of these symptoms could mean you should reach out for professional support. They can provide treatments, tests, and referrals to help alleviate your symptoms and ensure you’re healthy enough to pass the kidney stone.
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