Kidney stones (also known by the medical terms renal calculi or urolithiasis) can be excruciatingly painful. If you see a doctor for how to dissolve kidney stones, however, their prescription may in all likelihood be to just wait and see if the stone will pass by itself.
Thankfully, there are some natural home remedies for kidney stones that you can try for some welcome relief.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
The general answer is that kidney stones are formed from unprocessed minerals in the renal system. However, not all kidney stones are alike; there are calcium stones, struvite stones, uric acid stones, cysteine stones, and more! The most common are calcium stones, made of calcium oxalate.
Kidney stones occur in about 10% of the population, but men are 4 times as likely to get them as women. The bad news is that they tend to be recurring; if you’ve had one, your chances are about 75% that you’ll experience more. (This can be improved, however, by a change of diet. We’ll say more about this.)
Many stones will pass while they are still very small – like a grain of sand – so it’s possible to have kidney stones and not even notice. You could experience a minor sensation of pain while urinating, but think no more of it.
On the other end of the spectrum, larger stones can block the urethra. This is usually when people start really seeking help for how to dissolve kidney stones, because when it happens, it causes severe pain.
Along with the pain, a common symptom is to find blood in your urine. This is caused by the uneven surface of the stone damaging the lining of the organs. If you see pus during urination, it’s a good sign you could have an infection, and may need antibiotics to clear it up. See a doctor immediately.
Even in instances where the stone is big enough to be painful, most will pass naturally. But there are natural remedies both for how to dissolve kidney stones, and for helping them pass more quickly.
Things that Can Help with Passing Kidney Stones
The very best thing you can do to help a stone pass is just drink lots of water. We’re talking about 3 liters (13 cups) throughout the day.
Sticking to a diet of fresh fruit, raw vegetables and soups, is another way to raise your water intake, as they have a higher water content than dry cooked foods and grains. Watch out, however, that you also don’t eat too many foods that are high in oxalate, which contributes to the formation of calcium stones.
Note that soy and beer are particularly high in oxalates, and should be avoided. And here’s a short list of other things: spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, parsley, beetroot, raspberries, strawberries, wheat flour, pepper, and nuts. (Click here for a full discussion of a low oxulate diet from the University of Chicago.)
You should also reduce your intake of salt and alcohol, both of which have a dehydrating effect. Also, meat and dairy products, which produce uric acid in the kidneys.
Another way to increase the flow of water through the kidneys is to take a natural diuretic; for example, some herbal teas like dandelion and stinging nettle have a diuretic effect. Replacing two cups of water with these teas can really help to pass the stone more quickly. Prescription diuretics shouldn’t be necessary, unless you have other medical issues.
IMPORTANT: when you empty your bladder, strain your urine each time to catch the stone when it finally passes. You can then get it analyzed to find out what kind of stone it is, and the minerals it’s formed from. Then you can work on changing your diet to prevent more stones in the future. Typically, this means a diet that is lower in salts and protein.
It’s also probably a good idea not to take vitamin and mineral supplements until you’ve had your stones analyzed.
Popular Natural Home Remedies for How to Dissolve Kidney Stones (and One in Particular)
The following are all touted as natural remedies for kidney stones:
- Apple cider vinegar (Why not? It seems to be good for everything else!) Add 2 Tbs to 8oz water. Some people also add lemon juice and olive oil.
- Uva ursi
- Dandelion root
- Pomegranate juice
- Kidney beans
There is ONE herbal remedy, however, that since 2002 has had a clinically proven high success rate in the treatment of kidney stones. It’s all-natural, Chanca Piedra. It’s nature’s tough guy that works to crush, dissolve and pass present stones, and also to prevent the formation of new ones.
Take 500mg of Chanca Piedra first thing in the morning, and then wait one hour before eating. Then take another 500mg at night. Repeat until the stone is passed. You may then choose to continue taking 500mg per day to prevent kidney stones in the future.