Calculi: Kidney, Bladder, Gallstones

What Is Calculi: Kidney, Bladder, Gallstones

Kidney Stones or Gallstones are technically referred to as Calculi. Kidney Stones are small, hard mineral deposits in the kidneys that are made up of dissolved minerals and acid salts on the inner lining of the kidneys.  Kidney Stones can affect any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder.  Passing kidney stones can be painful or unnoticeable, provided they are very small.  Cholesterol, calcium carbonate, and calcium bilirubinate can form into Gallstones if they are out of balance.  Ranging in size, Gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball.  Both Kidney Stones and Gallstones are fairly common conditions in America and can be very painful. 

Signs Of Calculi: Kidney, Bladder, Gallstones

Kidney Stones don't tend to cause any symptoms until they start moving around in the kidneys and pass into the ureter, which is the tube that connects the kidneys and the bladder.  When this happens, symptoms like the following may arise. 

  • Severe pain in the side or back, beneath the ribs
  • Pain that spreads to lower abdomen and groin
  • Blood in the urine
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Cloudy or foul smelling urine
  • Pain which comes in waves (this pain fluctuates in intensity)
  • Urinating small amounts of urine
  • Constant need to urinate

People with Gallstones may or may not experience symptoms, but this depends on the size of the Gallstones.  About 80% of people with Gallstones don't experience any pain, and these are called "silent" Gallstones.  If a Gallstone lodges itself in a duct, it may cause blockage and the following symptoms can ensue:

  • Pain on the right side of the body, just below the ribs
  • Nausea
  • Back pain
  • Sudden pain in the center of the abdomen below the sternum
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness 
What Causes Calculi: Kidney, Bladder, Gallstones

The leading cause of Kidney Stones is the lack of water or being constantly dehydrated.  The body needs water to balance the pH level in the kidneys.  If the person lacks water, then the uric acid in the urine cannot be diluted, making the pH level in the kidneys very acidic.  The highly acidic environment helps the formation of Kidney Stones.  They can also form if the urine has more crystal forming compounds than the fluid in the urine can dilute.  Common causes are:

  • Dehydration
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Reduced urinary flow and volume
  • Family history of Kidney Stones
  • Obesity
  • Rare genetic conditions
  • High chemical levels in the urine (high in calcium, oxalate, phosphate, or uric acid)
  • Low chemical levels in the urine (such as citrate)
  • Obesity

Most doctors aren't sure of the exact cause of Gallstones, but the common belief is that they are the result of an imbalance in the gallbladder.  About 80% of Gallstones are comprised of cholesterol and the other 20% are made up of calcium salts and bilirubin.  Another probably cause is if the gallbladder isn't functioning properly.  If the gallbladder is not emptying bile, Gallstones can form.  Common causes are listed below. 

  • Overweight or obese people (especially women)
  • Bile containing too much cholesterol
  • Bile containing too much bilirubin
  • A gallbladder that doesn't function properly
  • Women taking oral contraceptives
  • Diet high in fat or cholesterol
  • Family history of Gallstones
  • Diabetes
  • Dramatic weight loss

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies

Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones:

  • An easy and effective remedy is drinking extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Mix 2oz of each together and drink it straight, following it up with a 12oz glass of distilled or alkaline water.  After 30 minutes, mix the juice of half a lemon and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 12oz of distilled or alkaline water.  Drink this solution.  Repeat this process once every hour until your symptoms improve. 
  • Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more.  When you have Kidney Stones, it is important to continually replenish the body with enough fluids to flush out the minerals and other substances that cause stones to form. If your urine is dark, then you need more water.  If your urine is clear, then your are drinking enough water.  It is recommended to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day.  You can also drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  If you weigh 150lbs and divide that by 2 to get 75, you should be drinking 75oz of water per day. 
  • Watermelon is a great natural remedy because the potassium in it can help treat Kidney Stones that are comprised of magnesium phosphates, calcium, and carbonates.  Potassium is an essential mineral for proper kidney health.  Additionally, watermelon contains a lot of water, which helps to flush Kidney Stones out of your system. 
  • Aside from resembling the shape of kidneys, kidney beans are beneficial for most kidney problems.  Remove fresh beans from inside the pods and boil them until they are tender.  Strain the liquid into a pot, allow it to cool, and then strain it into a pot again.  Drink this liquid a few times throughout the day to help relieve symptoms of Kidney Stones.  Don't keep the liquid for more than 24 hours because it will lose its healing properties.  You can eat the beans in a salad or soup. 
  • Pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds may help prevent the formation of certain types of Kidney Stones. Drink one or two servings of pomegranate juice every day to help relieve symptoms of Kidney Stones. Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and that can help protect the body from damaging free radicals. 
  • Wheatgrass juice, which is rich in chlorophyll, magnesium, potassium, iron, amino acids, and B vitamins, is a great natural remedy for treating Kidney Stones.  You can also mix wheatgrass juice with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of fresh basil juice for maximum healing benefits. 
  • It can be beneficial to cut out energy drinks, soda, processed foods, alcohol, meats, and dairy products because these unhealthy foods can contribute to the growth of Kidney Stones.  It is optimal to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to nuts and seeds, to help alkalize the body and promote overall health. 

Natural Remedies for Gallstones:

  • Try to avoid rapid weight loss and fad diets, for example, low calorie diets.  The rapid weight loss can trigger nutritional deficiencies or electrolyte imbalances, both of which can lead to the formation of Gallstones.  It is best to maintain a healthy diet and body weight for optimum healthy and a lower risk of developing Gallstones. Eating a diet comprised of plant-based foods can be beneficial because it delivers you all the essential nutrients that your body needs.  Avoiding processed foods, meat, dairy products, fried foods, sugars, and salty foods can help keep you healthy and keep your weight down. 
  • It can be beneficial to eat anti-inflammatory foods, as well as foods that help promote optimum kidney and gallbladder health.  The anti-inflammatory foods help regulate your body's cholesterol and they lower high-estrogen foods, which can contribute to excess estrogen.  Green leafy vegetables, celery, beets, blueberries, pineapple, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, turmeric, ginger, and coconut oil are great anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your diet. 
  • Apple cider vinegar is a great home remedy because it can stop the liver from making the cholesterol that comprises most Gallstones.  If you have a Gallstone attack, mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of fresh apple juice, which you juice yourself.  Alternatively, you can mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.  
  • Drinking peppermint tea can be helpful because peppermint aids proper digestion by stimulating bile flow.  It also contains a compound that can help dissolve Gallstones.  It is best to drink a cup of peppermint tea twice a day if you have Gallstones, or immediately after you feel a sharp pain near your gallbladder. 
  • It may be beneficial to place a warm castor oil pack on your upper right abdomen, where your gallbladder is, to help relieve pain or the number of Gallstones you have.  You can purchase a castor oil pack, or you can make your own.  To make your own, soak a piece of wool flannel in castor oil and place it on the abdomen.  Cover it with plastic wrap, place a heating pad or hot water bottle on top, leave it on for an hour or so, and then remove it.  Do this four times a week for a month, or until symptoms subside. 
  • You can help yourself by being more active.  As well as contributing to overall health, exercise helps to promote better circulation, proper digestion, and keeps your weight in check.  It is optimal to exercise for about 30-60 minutes 5 days a week.  Beneficial and moderate exercises include swimming, walking, cycling, Tai Chi, yoga, or Pilates. 
  • If you are a woman, you may want to reconsider taking birth control pills because these can cause the formation of Gallstones by changing your hormonal balance.  Birth control pills increase the body's estrogen stores, which increases cholesterol production as a result.  Non-hormonal birth control pills may be worth looking into. 
Things you should eat

Foods for Kidney Stones:

  • Watermelon
  • Basil
  • Lemons
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Celery
  • Dandelion Root
  • Kidney Beans
  • Pomegranates (and the juice)
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Grapefruit
  • Lettuce
  • Cantaloupe
  • Apples
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb
  • Beets
  • Okra
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, chard & kale)

Foods for Gallstones:

  • Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, & chard)
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocados
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Peppermint Tea
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