Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones Overview:

Kidney stones are an accumulation of solid material (usually calcium salts such as calcium oxalate) in the kidneys. These stones can also be found in the bladder.

This condition is characterised by acute and severe loin pain that radiates towards the groin. Hematuria is also common, and fever will begin to show in later stages after infection forms.

There are numerous causes that can lead to the formation of kidney stones, most of which rely on either higher calcium or uric acid concentrations in the blood, or altered kidney function leading to stagnation of minerals like calcium in the renal tubules or collecting duct.

 

Aetiology:

Excretory chemicals can fall out of solution if the pH changes too much, or becomes too concentrated to stay in solution. This can occurr due to metabolic conditions like hyperparathyroidism, gout, or sarcoidosis.

Hypertension, hypercalcaemia, hyperparathyroidism, hyperoxalaturia, and phosphaturia are also known risk factors. 

In industrialised countries, 80% of kidney stones are composed of calcium salts [2], while the rest of cases involve kidney stones composed of uric acid, struvate, or cystine. This can happen as a result of a combined increase in urine calciu levels, and/or reduced water intake (thus increasing the calcium levels further). 

 

+ Increased Uric Acid Concentrations

  • ↑ Alcohol intake can compete with uric acid for elimination through the kidneys, and therefore increase uric acid levels. Alcohol also often contains purines which lead to an increased formation of uric acid as a byproduct.
  • ↑ Animal protein intake can lead to an increase in uric acid production due to high levels of purines/sulphates.

+ Increased Calcium Concentrations

  • Increases in blood pH as a result of acids such as uric acid, lactate and actic acid, or other acidic metabolites causes the parathyroid to stimul;ate the release of calcium and phosphate from the skeleton in order to buffer the reduction in blood pH.
  • Decreased calcium reabsorotion from the kidneys.
  • Increased absorption of calcium from the digestive tract (can be genetic or the result of other portions of the diet).
  • Decreased biliary release of calcium and increased reabsorption of excreted calcium can also lead to hypercalcemia [3].
  • Lack of weight-bearing exercise can reduce the amount of calcium stored in bone tissue.
  • Perimenopause (increase osteoclast activity).
  • Dehydration further increases the concentration of calcium in the blood and urine.
  • Tumors on the parathyroid or thyroid glands.
  • Metabolic syndrome may increase blood pH through an increase in acidic metabolites.
  • Uric acid and urate salts out calcium, incresing the likelihood of the formation of both uric acid stones and calcium stones [6].

+ Increased Oxalate Intake

  • Microflora deficiencies in the Oxalobacter formigenes bacterium (dissolves dietary oxalate) (Bone & Mills., 2013).
 

Symptoms:

Acute severe loin pain

Pain radiating towards the groin

Fever

Hematuria

Pallor

Diaphoresis

Chills

Urinary Frequency

Nausea/Vomiting

 

Diagnostic Considerations:

  • Kidney Ultrasound
  • Kidney function testing
  • Parathyroid function testing
  • Vitamin D testing
  • Blood pH testing
  • Genetic testing for predispositions of mineral transport changes. 
 

Therapeutic Aims:

1. Promote Stone Solubility

Attempting this will depend on identifying the stone material.

  • Antilithics ()
  • Hepatics (Cynara scolymus) (for calcium oxylate stones)
  • Anthraquinone-containing Herbs (Rhamnus purshiana, Rumex crispus)

2. Treat Pain Symptomatically

  • Analgesics (Eschscholzia californica, corydalis turtschaninovii)
  • Urinary Demulcents (Equisetum arvense)
  • Urinary Antispasmodics (Eltrygia repens)

3. Increase Urine Volume

  • Diuretics () Aqueretics (Taraxicum officinale, Solidago spp., Equisetum arvense)

4. Treat Infection If Indicated

Kidney stones lead to a significantly increased risk of kidney or urinary tract infection.

  • Urinary Antiseptics (Agathosma betulina, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Quercus salicina)

5. Alkalinise Urine

Unless there is reason to believe the stones were fromed as a result of highly alkaline urine.

 

Inhibitors Of Kidney Stone Formation

Screenshot 2017-12-01 15.26.47.png
 

Differential Diagnosis:

  • Kidney infection
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Tumors on the parathyroid or thyroid gland
  • Hyperparathyroidism
 

Cautions:

It can be dangerous to try and dislodge kidney stones.

 

Herbs For Kidney Stones

  • Verbena officinalis
  • Lithospermum officinale
  • Taraxicum officinale
  • Arctium lappa
  • Silene saxifraga
  • Crataeva nurvala
  • Cascara sagrada
  • Yellow dock
 

Kidney Stones Formula

Herb Name Ratio Amount in mL
Taraxicum officinale 1:1 25 mL
Equisetum arvense 1:2 25 mL
Viburnum opulus 1:2 20 mL
Solidago vigaurea 1:2 20 mL
Rumex crispus 1:2 20 mL
Total 110 mL

* 8 mL with water twice a day. * 


Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: November 2017


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References:

  1. Sarris, J., & Wardle, J. (2014). Clinical naturopathy: an evidence-based guide to practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  2. Pak, C. Y. (1998). Kidney stones. The lancet, 351(9118), 1797-1801.
  3. Frost, L., Mahoney, J., Field, J., & Farrell, G. C. (1996). Impaired bile flow and disordered hepatic calcium homeostasis are early features of halothane‐induced liver injury in guinea pigs. Hepatology, 23(1), 80-86.
  4. Jilka, R. L., Hangoc, G., Girasole, G., Passeri, G., Williams, D. C., Abrams, J. S., & Manolagas, S. C. (1992). Increased osteoclast development after estrogen loss: mediation by interleukin-6. Science, 257(5066), 88-91.
  5. Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy-E-Book: Modern Herbal Medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  6. Grover, P. K., Marshall, V. R., & Ryall, R. L. (2003). Dissolved urate salts out calcium oxalate in undiluted human urine in vitro: implications for calcium oxalate stone genesis. Chemistry & biology, 10(3), 271-278.