Ayurvedic treatment for Kidney stones

Kidney stones

Know More on Kidney Diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Kidney stones Ayurvedic treatment

Kidney stones are the small deposits that get accumulated in the kidneys. They are medically termed as Renal-lithiasis or Nephrolithiasis. These stones are made up of minerals and some salts found in the urine. In cases where the urine becomes denser or more concentrated, these minerals stick together and crystallize to form the stones. These stones are very painful and cause agony.1

Ayurveda describes this condition as Ashmari (Ashma- stone and ari - enemy). Ashmari is most commonly called mutrashmari (Urinary /kidney stones).  It is a disease of the Mutravaha strotas (Urinary channels) and is considered one of the Ashta Mahagadas (8 deadly diseases) by Ayurveda.2

Causes

Kidney stones

Many times, kidney stones do not have a single cause, and there could be several factors that increase its risk. Higher concentration of crystal-forming substances in the urine — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid can cause crystallization of these salts. Additionally, lack of substances in urine that usually prevent crystal formation end up creating the perfect environment for formation of kidney stones.1

Symptoms

Kidney stones

Many kidney stones do not cause any symptoms and remain dormant in the body for long periods. They start causing symptoms when they start moving from their position or pass lower into the ureter (tube through which urine passes from the kidney to the bladder). Common signs and symptoms seen at this stage are1:

  • Severe acute pain at the flanks (side of body) and moving to the back
  • Shifting pain towards lower abdomen and groin
  • Intermittent pain which can be milder or severe randomly
  • Pain on passing urine
  • Colored urine - usually red or brown or cloudy
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • If associated with infection, there will be fever and chills

Diagnosis

Kidney stones

Your doctor may take your personal medical history and ask questions to understand how bad your pain is. Other than that, your doctor may also recommend some additional tests, such as:1

  • Blood test - to check of calcium and uric acid levels
  • Urine testing - Urine collected over 24-hours is checked for minerals or salts that can form stones
  • Imaging ­­- Simple X rays, ultrasound scan or a CT scan show stones inside the kidney

Management

Kidney stones

In Ayurveda, the management of kidney stones (mutrashmari ) has many different approaches, including surgical management. However, before proceeding for surgical or invasive techniques, there are some oral medications that Ayurveda recommends, which have specific pharmacological properties of Chedana (Cutting /Breaking), Bhedana (Splitting), Lekhana (Scarification) and Mutrala (Diuretic) for alleviating pain and disintegrating the stones. These include:3

  • Ghrita (Medicated ghee)
  • Taila (Medicated oil)
  • Paneeya Kshara (medicated Alkali preparation)

Additionally, Ayurveda also recommends a combination of healthy diet (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar), in order to manage the condition effectively. These include:

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

Purana Shali (Old rice), Kushmanda (White gourd), Patola (pointed gourd), Talaphala (Toddy palm), Urvaru (Cucumber), Khajura etc. are all good in Mutra vikaras (Diseases pertaining to urinart tract)

  • Increase consumption of certain vegetables, certain cereals, certain fruits, coconut water, lemon juice and butter milk
    • Vegetables that are good for you: Carrots, Karela (Bitter gourd), Potatoes, Radish, Pumpkin
    • Cereals that are good for you: Barley, Moong dal, Horsegram
    • Fruits that are good for you: Bananas, Lemon, Apricots, Plums, Apple, Almonds
  • Avoid consumption of certain vegetables, certain cereals, certain fruits, coffee, cashew nuts and chocolates
  • Avoid dairy and its derivatives, ghee, eggs, green vegetables, non vegetarian foods

Vegetable to avoid: Brinjal, Beans, Lady finger, Capsicum, Tomato, Cucumber, Palak

  • Cereals to avoid: Fine wheat flour (Maida), Oat meal, Bran
  • Fruits to avoid: Black Grapes, Amla, Kiwi, Strawberries, Chickoo

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Indulge in regular exercises to remain fit
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Avoid daytime sleeping (diwaswap)
  • Avoid suppressing your natural urge to urinate (vegdharan)

FAQS

Kidney stones
  1. How does stones form in our kidneys?

Many a times, kidney stones will not have a single cause, and there could be several factors that increase its risk. Higher concentration of crystal-forming substances in the urine — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid can cause crystallization of these salts. Additionally, lack of substances in urine which will prevent crystal formation end up creating the perfect environment for formation of kidney stones.

  1. What is pyelonephritis?

The infection of the kidney is medically termed as pyelonephritis. It is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that usually starts from the lower organs such as the urethra or urinary bladder and gradually moves up to the kidneys. Such infections need immediate medical attention as if left untreated they can cause  permanent damage to the kidneys.

  1. How does CKD develop?

CKD happens due to any secondary condition that impairs the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are-

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate problems, kidney stones
  • Some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection
  1. Do children suffer from kidney disease? How?

Children can get affected with many kidney related diseases. The commonest of these are either an acute kidney disease or chronic long term disease.1 Having a kidney disease can mean treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions in children. 

As in adults, the causes of kidney disease in children are various secondary conditions of situations, which will impair the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are -

  • Developmental defects of birth
  • Any serious infection
  • Any hereditary condition
  • Any serious major diseases
  • Trauma
  • Blockage of urine
  1. What is acute kidney failure? How is it different form chronic failure?

Acute kidney failure means that the kidneys are unable to filter any waste products from the body and this condition develops rather quickly. Due to the failure of the kidneys to filter blood, dangerous levels of waste accumulates in the body causing severe toxic conditions.Chronic kidney failure on the other hand develops gradually over a few weeks, months or even years.

  1. How does a high BP affect the kidneys?

The condition of having a high blood pressure over a long period of time is known to cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys. This damage results in a reduced ability of the kidneys to perform their functions. This is because a high blood pressure requires the blood vessels inside the kidneys to stretch more than usual. Over a period of time the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys start showing scars due to stretching, leading to various kidney diseases. 

  1. What is proteinuria how is it caused?

Proteinuria simply means the presence of ‘protein’ in the urine. This is mostly indicative of poor functioning of the kidneys whereby the proteins are being leaked in to the urine and thrown out of the body. While some amount of protein is found in urine, the quantity increase in kidney damage.

The causes of proteinuria are physiological (meaning temporary), such as after exercise, cold climate, fevers etc; as well as pathological (due to an underlying condition) such as diabetes, kidney tumors, heart disease, liver failure etc.

  1. Why do we have anemia in a kidney disease?

Kidneys perform many important functions apart from filtering he blood. One such vital activity is production of a substance called EPO (Erythropoeitin) which is essential for manufacture of new red blood cells. As the functions of kidneys are hampered in kidney disease, the production of EPO gets affected and results in low RBC production and hence anemia. In advanced stage of kidney disease, where hemodialysis is required, blood loss during hemodialysis also results in anemia.

  1. What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis refers to the swelling of a kidney that occurs due to accumulation of urine in them. For some reasons, due to a blockage or obstruction of the ureters, the urine being formed in the kidneys cannot move out and gets retained inside the kidneys leading to swelling of the kidneys. This can happen either in any one or both of the kidneys. 

  1. Why are women more prone to getting a UTI?

Women are more likely than men to get an UTI. This is because of the shorter length or the urethra - that allows infections to travel upwards quickly. Additionally, in women, due to close proximity of the anal opening  and the urethral opening, many GI tract infections (Such as those caused by E. coli) spread to the urinary tract.

References

Kidney stones
  1. Mayo clinic. Kidney stones. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/kidney-stones/basics/definition/con-20024829 accessed on Sept 12th 2016
  2. Ved Prakash et al. A Study Of Clinical And Laboratory Profile Of Mutrashmari w.s.r To Urolithiasis and Its Management With Gokshuradi Guggulu. IJAAR. 2016; Vol. II(5): 219-226.
  3. Sheshashaye B et al. A case study on Mutrashmari (Urolithiasis) using Yavaksharadi yoga. Int. J. Res. Ayur. Pharm. 2013; 4(1):138-140

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of kidney-diseases and/or kidney stones without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for kidney-diseases and/or kidney stones, you must consult an authorized physician before taking any of the products. For more information on products, visit www.dabur.com or call 1800-103-1644"