Amit Sharma, 35, grew extremely worried when he noticed over a few weeks that his frequency to urinate had increased. He also observed that he was unable to pass urine smoothly which caused a lot of discomfort.
“I decided to consult a urologist when the persistent urge to urinate started affecting my daily life. I also started experiencing a dull pain in the back toward the left side and wondered whether the two signs were connected,” Amit said.
When Amit met Dr. Rajesh Khanna, Senior Consultant, Urology at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in Delhi, he explained his condition in depth.
Upon learning of his persistent urge to urinate and difficulty in passing urine, Dr Khanna suspected kidney stones and suggested a few tests.
Other kidney stone symptoms that people might experience are:
- Intense pain in the back or side of abdomen, which may be intermittent
- Blood in urine
- Vomiting and nausea
- Burning sensation during urination
Diagnosis of kidney stone
Amit got the recommended blood test and urine tests.
The tests revealed a high level of uric acid ( a type of waste products in urine) in his blood indicating the possibility of stones.
The 24-hour urine collection test also revealed that he had been excreting many stone-forming minerals (that enable the formation of kidney stones).
After studying the test results, Dr. Khanna advised a CT scan.
“The CT scan revealed tiny stones in his urinary tract which confirmed my suspicion,” said Dr. Khanna.
Amit was surprised by the diagnosis and wondered how he developed this condition.
“One of the major causes behind the formation of kidney stones is the lack of fluid intake,” explained Dr Khanna.
“When the fluid intake is not enough, the urine becomes very concentrated. This can result in crystals of uric acid and calcium oxalate being formed which can stick together to form stones.”
Some risk factors for kidney stone formation may be:
- Family history of kidney stones
- High blood pressure
- Diet rich in sodium and protein but low in calcium
- Sedentary lifestyle
After Amit fully understood the condition he enquired about the proper course of action. He was anxious that he would have to go through a surgery to get the stones removed.
“Don’t worry. Kidney stone treatment without surgery is possible,” consoled Dr. Khanna.
Treatment for kidney stone
Kidney stone treatment depends on the size of the stone.
In Amit’s case, the stones were small – around 5-6 mm – and so he was advised to drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water everyday so that he could pass the stone while urinating.
He was given some medicines to relieve the pain while passing the stone and decrease the uric acid levels in his blood. He was also advised some dietary changes.
Amit was relieved to know that he could pass the stones through urine only and asked the doctor about some remedies he could follow at home to quicken the process.
Home remedies for Kidney Stone
Dr. Khanna replied, “There are some simple tips you can follow which will help in passing the stones faster and also relieve the pain caused while passing them. But I wouldn’t advise following these remedies at home without consulting a urologist.”
Some simple home remedies you can follow if you have kidney stone –
Lots of water: The easiest thing you could do (to stop kidney stones from recurring) is to drink plenty of water on a daily basis to make sure your urine is clean. Dark yellow or brown coloured urine is an indication that you aren’t drinking enough water.
Lemon juice – Lemon juice is rich in citric acid which helps dissolve kidney stones and also eases the discomfort caused while passing the stones.
Basil Juice – Basil or Tulsi contains acetic acid which helps in breaking down kidney stones and also reduces the pain you have while passing them. It is full of nutrients and antioxidants that help maintain kidney health. Mix some basil with water and drink its juice all day.
Celery juice: Celery detoxes the body making it easier for you to pass the stone. It also has toxin-clearing properties that help prevent kidney stone formation. Blend 1 or 2 celery stalks with water and drink the juice daily.
Pomegranate juice: Pomegranate has a lot of health benefits. It not only lowers the acid levels in your urine but also reduces risk of having kidney stones in future. It is a natural detoxifying agent that helps flush out impurities causing kidney stones. You can have its juice as many times in a day as you want.
Fortunately, Amit was able to pass the stone through within two weeks after drinking loads of water.
Treatment for Large Kidney Stones
In case the stone is large in size, you will most likely be unable to pass it on your own and would require medical assistance.
One of the ways to treat large kidney stones is ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy). In this procedure, sound waves are used to create strong vibrations to break the stones into tiny pieces. This way they are able to pass through easily.
“Kidney stones upto 2 cm can be treated using ESWL,” remarked Dr. Khanna.
For stones larger than 2 cm which are resistant to other forms of stone treatment, a technique called PCNL (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy) is used.
“In this procedure, a small 1 cm incision is made in the patient’s back. A tube is placed there from which a small telescope is passed through. This helps in locating the stone, breaking it up and taking the pieces out of the body,” explained Dr. Khanna.
“Most kidney stones are small and can be easily passed through urine but if it remains inside the body for long, it can get bigger resulting in an emergency situation.”
Dr. Rajesh Khanna
Cost of Kidney Stone Surgery
The size of your kidney stone determines the type of surgery which will be suitable for you and that in turn determines the overall expenditure of the treatment.
Overall, the cost of kidney stones removal surgery ranges from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 90,000 at private hospitals in Delhi.
At Sitaram Bhartia, kidney stone removal surgery costs between Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000. The cost of URSL procedure ranges from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 40,000. The cost of PCNL(Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy), however, depends on the room category that the patient wishes to opt for.
In a follow-up consultation, Amit wanted to know whether there was any chance of the stones recurring.
“If you don’t change your diet, there is an 80 percent chance that the stone will reform.”
Food To Avoid In Indian Diet To Prevent Kidney Stones Formation
There are some food choices you definitely need to avoid to prevent formation of kidney stones.
“You should avoid stone-forming food items like spinach, beetroot, okra or “bhindi“, soybean and dark chocolate.”
“Make sure you only eat low sodium food products with higher levels of calcium such as milk, yogurt, cheese and fresh green vegetables. Avoid adding salt to your food as well” advised Dr Khanna.
“Try to limit your animal protein intake of meat, fish etc. whenever you can because it increases uric acid levels in your urine.”
Amit was careful about his diet and ensured he made the suggested dietary changes as he didn’t want to go through the discomfort again.
“I am grateful that I didn’t take my symptoms lightly and got treatment early,” Amit remarked.
*Post created with editorial inputs from Dr. Rajesh Khanna, Senior Urologist, who joined us after 29 years of service in the Indian Army and has experience of over 12,000 urological surgeries.