Nephrolithiasis is the formation of stone in the urinary system. It is a painful urological condition, which is very common. Most of the time the stones formed in the kidneys, pass the body without realizing them. But if the stone is large, then there is often an acute pain or hematuria.
What is a kidney stone?
The stones are a mass of crystals formed in the urine. Depending on the location of the stone, the name of the condition is nephrolithiasis, if the stone is detected in the kidneys, or urolithiasis if the stone travels through the urinary tract and is now located in the ureters.
The crystals are further differentiated according to their composition (calcium, uric acid, struvite and cystine stones). Kidney stones may contain various chemicals. The most common type of stone contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate and are called corresponding oxalic or calcium phosphate stones. Uric acid, struvite and cystine stones are less frequent. Stones from struvite or otherwise inflammatory stones are usually due to urinary tract infections, so they are relatively rare.
Causes of kidney stones
The most common causes of nephrolithiasis are the individual and family history, urinary tract infections, urinary tract disorders, such as renal tubular acidosis, hyperparathyroidism, hyperoxaluria, metabolic and intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease and certain drugs. Diet and water intake play an important role in the formation of kidney stones. Dietary factors that affect the appearance of stone are reduced fluid intake, increased consumption of animal proteins, sodium and sugars.
Symptoms and diagnosis of kidney stones
The most common symptom of kidney stones is a severe and acute pain, often referred to as colic, located in the abdomen, lower back or groin. In addition, blood in the urine (hematuria), increased urination, burning sensation during urination or even fever may occur if kidney stones are due to urinary tract infection.
If the stones small they will travel through the urinary system and will be discharged from the body through the urine without being noticed. If there are no symptoms, most of the time stones are accidentally detected after an ultrasound or an x-ray.
Normally the stones are discharged from the body through urine. The treatment of nephrolithiasis depends on the type, severity and frequency of the stones. Conservative treatment is usually suggested through nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes, and more rarely, some interventions such as lithotripsy are suggested.
Diet and lifestyle
Irrespective of the type of stone, it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids (> 2-3 liters per day) and to limit salt intake. Depending on the type of stone, different dietary guidelines may be suggested, such as reducing the intake of animal proteins and oxalates through diet, reducing the intake of simple sugars, calcium, vitamin C, etc. A key point is the acquisition of a healthy body weight.
Magnesium Citrate and Potassium Citrate
Magnesium citrate and potassium citrate restore the levels of citrate in the urine and help to alkaline urine. They are recommended in cases of hypercalciuria and hyperoxaluria, as they help to prevent the formation of calcium stones, calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate complexes. In addition, trimagnesium citrate and tripotassium citrate help in treating both calcium and uric acid stones, as they facilitate their solubility and elimination while helping to treat renal tubular acidosis. Ideal after lithotripsy.
Amino acid recommended for the treatment of struvite stones (inflammatory stones) and calcium phosphate stones. Methionine helps reduce urine acidity (pH), increasing solubility and elimination of stones and helping prevent the formation of new stones after lithotripsy.
Solidago, birch, nettle
Herbs with diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic action. They facilitate the elimination of urine, the removal of stones from the urinary tract and they contribute mainly to the prevention of stone formation and infections.