3 Simple Ways to Handle Kidney Stone Pain
There’s no denying it: kidney stones are uncomfortable. When they are first formed in the kidney they are painless, but once they start passing through the ureters (the narrow tubes that lead to the bladder) they can become extremely painful. If you are experiencing this unpleasant condition, doctors will perform a kidney stone analysis, and depending on the severity of the stones, they may either recommend surgery or simply let you pass the stones naturally. While you are waiting on either of these options, here are three tips for handling kidney stone pain.
1. Drink Lots of Fluids
If you are letting your kidney stones pass naturally, know that it will take several weeks to a few months for them to leave your body. To speed up the process (and thus eliminate the pain), drink lots of water to increase your urinary volume. Doctors recommend that you consume at least 2 liters of water (equivalent to 12 glasses) a day to help this painful process move along, as well as to prevent future kidney stones.
Citrus juices are also known to help with kidney stones, particularly lemon juice, basil juice, and apple cider vinegar. Lemons are high in citrate, a chemical that can break up small stones, allowing them to pass more easily. Lemon juice has multiple other health benefits, as it inhibits bacteria growth. Likewise, both basil juice and apple cider vinegar contain acetic acid, a nutrient that also helps to break down kidney stones. Basil juice is full of antioxidants that can contribute to your overall kidney health. Apple cider vinegar is renowned for its numerous health benefits, and it can help ease your kidney stone pain in addition to helping break the stones apart.
2. Medicate the Pain Away
You can take over the counter medication to help suppress the pain associated with kidney stones. Medications such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen (Aleve) will help ease the pain, as well as the nausea you may feel when your kidney stone is passing. Ask your doctor for an alpha blocker, which relaxes the muscles in your ureter, bladder, and prostate to allow the stones to pass more quickly. The most popular alpha blocker is tamsulosin, which should be taken once a day to ensure effective results. If your kidney stone is made from uric acid, your doctor may prescribe citric acid, potassium citrate, or sodium citrate to decrease your urine acidity and help dissolve the stones.
3. Implement a Healthy, Plant-Based Diet
A poor diet often contributes to kidney stones. Too much sodium and animal protein is known to cause the formation of kidney stones. Eating a salty, animal protein-centered diet can cause uric acid stones, which occur when there is a high amount of acidity in your kidney. The chemical compound oxalate, a waste product your body produces from certain foods, also contributes to kidney stones. Try to avoid foods high in oxalate such as chocolate, coffee, nuts, soda, and berries, as well as alcohol and fatty foods. Avoiding these factors when eating can prevent the stone you’re passing from growing any bigger. Instead, switch to a plant-based diet that is high in fiber. This ensures that you’re helping your kidney stone remain small and passable, as well as prevents any more stones from forming.
Kidney Stone Treatment in New Jersey
Kidney stones are painful, but Somerset Urological Associates can help lessen your uncomfortable experience. Our board-certified urologists will examine your individual condition and needs, and recommend the best course of action to remove or pass your kidney stones. Our doctors also offer care and utilize the latest technology in all areas of urology, from urinary incontinence to urological cancers. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians today!