Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts, which form inside your kidneys. (1) While they can be painful, there are numerous kidney stone treatment methods and home remedies for kidney stones. Some kidney stone treatment methods are designed for treating symptoms, such as castor oil. Other kidney stone treatment methods involve preventative measures. For example, a proper diet is part of a kidney stone treatment plan. Orthodox kidney stones treatment plans include pain pills and other medications. (2) If you’re wanting to avoid harmful pain killers, choosing home remedies for kidney stones might be your best route. Drinking plenty of water is both a conventional kidney stones treatment as well as one of the home remedies for kidney stones. Furthermore, avoiding certain foods is also part of a kidney stones treatment plan. For more information on kidney stones treatment methods and home remedies for kidney stones, read below.
But first, read over some of the common kidney stone symptoms:
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Severe pain that radiates to the lower abdomen and groin
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Pain on urination
- Pink, red or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent need to urinate
- Urinating more often than usual
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
- Urinating small amounts
Causes of kidney stones could be one or more of the following: (3)
- Dehydration: If you have low levels of urine, you could be dehydrated. Dehydration occurs when you don’t get enough water, but can also come about from sweating a lot without replenishing fluids in your body. Less fluid means crystals are more likely to form, since there is not enough liquid to dissolve them.
- Diet: If you’re consuming too much calcium, you are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones.
Bowel Conditions: Certain bowel conditions that cause diarrhea, for example, Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, can raise the risk of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Additionally, surgeries (such as gastric bypass surgery), can also raise the risk of kidney stones.
- Obesity: This changes the levels of acid in your urine, leading to kidney stones.
- Other medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause an increase in the calcium in your blood and urine, which can lead to kidney stone development.
- Medication: Some medication and even supplements such as vitamin C and calcium can increase your risk of developing kidney stones.
- Family History: You are more likely to develop kidney stones if you have a parent or sibling who also has them.
Here are 5 natural treatments for kidney stones:
1. Stay Hydrated
One of the most important kidney stones treatment methods is drinking plenty of water. Dehydration is one of the risk-factors for kidney stones. This is especially true if you exercise a lot, live in a hot climate, drink diuretic beverages and sweat a lot. Consuming enough water is all the more important if you consume a sodium-heavy diet. While your specific body type will dictate how much water you need, generally speaking, aim for 8 ounces of water every hour. If you don’t like plain water, try herbal tea, sparkling water or fruit-infused water.
2. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet
A poor diet increases your risk of developing kidney stones. For example, a diet low in nutrients, electrolytes, antioxidants is not the way to go. You need to eat a healthy diet in order to keep the pH of your body balanced. Try these foods to help prevent kidney stones:
- Fresh vegetables and fruit: One study shows that people who follow a plant-based diet, high in fiber with plenty of fruits and vegetables, tend to have fewer kidney stones than people who eat meat, packaged sodium foods and dairy. (4)
- Vitamin E-rich foods: Berries, olive oil, almonds, avocado and butternut squash are all great sources vitamin E, which helps balance levels of oxalates and other toxins in the body. Vitamin E also helps prevent mucus membrane damage, which in turn reduces the risk of stone formation. (5)
- Alkaline foods: Although it might seem counter-intuitive, foods that are acidic in nature can help balance the body’s pH level. This includes foods like lemon or apple cider vinegar, can help the body pass kidney stones. These foods, while acidic, are alkaline-forming in the body. Mix a small amount with water. Alternatively, add some to a smoothie with raw honey. (6)
- Magnesium and potassium-rich foods: Eating enough magnesium and potassium can help balance calcium levels in the body. (7) Be sure to include plenty of leafy green veggies, cruciferous veggies, melon, bananas and avocado in your diet
- Sprouted grains (as opposed to refined grain products): Avoid refined grain products. Instead, opt for sprouted grains. Sprouting grains reduces their antinutrient content, making their nutrients more digestible. (8)
Similarly, here are some foods that can contribute to kidney stone symptoms: (9)
- Sugary foods: A sugar-intensive diet might worse kidney stones. Cut down on packaged sugary snacks, sweetened and carbonated drinks, and dairy. If fruit worsens your symptoms, cut back on it as well.
- Refined grains: Most grain products contribute to kidney stones because they have high levels of antinutrients, including phytic acid.
- Foods naturally high in oxalic acid: Generally speaking, all fruits and vegetables are beneficial and chock-full of nutrients. However, some fruits and veggies can contribute to kidney stone development. If you have kidney stones, then steer clear of spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, collards, eggplant, beets, celery, summer squash, grapefruit/grapefruit juice, sweet potatoes, peanuts, almonds, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, parsley and cocoa.
- Processed meats and cold cuts: Processed meat can cause the body to excrete calcium, which is then sent to the kidneys. There, it can build up and form stones.
- Zinc foods — One study shows that people who consume more zinc can increase their odds of having kidney stones. (10) Try foods like pumpkin seeds, or cashews.
- Too much vitamin C: While it’s true that vitamin C has numerous health benefits, too much can potentially make kidney stones worse. Avoid high doses of it, such as found in supplement form.
- Caffeine and alcohol: Both of these culprits contribute to dehydration. Plus, they can be difficult to digest, which can make kidney stones worse.
3. Get Regular Exercise
Another important kidney stones treatment method is to be sure you’re getting enough exercise. A sedentary lifestyle ups your risk of developing kidney stones. (11)You can increase your exercise in sneaky ways. For example, try walking to work. And while you’re watching TV, do squats during commercials.
4. Castor Oil Packs and Hot Compresses
Castor oil has powerful anti-inflammatory abilities. This can come in handy for relieving pain associated with kidney stone symptoms, for example, cramping or muscle spasms in the abdomen. You can buy a castor oil pack. Alternatively, make your own by soaking a clean towel in pure castor oil, pressing it onto the kidneys and allowing it to seep into the skin. (12)
5. Supplements and Essential Oils
There are several supplements that can help keep kidney stones from developing. These include:
- Magnesium: balances other minerals in the body. Also prevents magnesium deficiency or electrolyte imbalances. Take 250 milligrams twice daily. You can take the capsule form or a mineral powder supplement.
- B vitamins: B vitamins help reduce calcium and oxalates from building up. Take a daily B complex vitamin, in particular, one that contains at least 50 milligrams of vitamin B6.
- Antioxidant supplement or multivitamin containing vitamin E: This is also useful for reducing inflammation. Additionally, it reduces calcium and oxalate accumulation. Try to get at least 400 IU of vitamin E every day.
- Cranberry extract: This reduces risk for developing urinary tract infections. Furthermore, it balances calcium levels. Take 400 milligrams two times daily.
- Aloe vera juice/gel: This reduces crystallization of minerals within the urinary tract. Take 1/4 cup every day. (13)
- Essential oils: In addition to supplements, certain essential oils help the body detoxify itself of built-up heavy metals, toxins and access minerals. Try lemon, orange, lime or helichrysum essential oil. You can take citrus oils internally, if you choose. Do this by adding two drops of 100 percent pure oil to your water twice daily. Alternatively, use citrus oils topically. Combine several drops with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and massaging it into the lower abdomen. Do this twice daily. However, helichrysum oil should only be used on the skin. Do not ingest it. (14)