Friday, May 24, 2019

A possible solution for kidney stones?

As regular readers know, I've been plagued with kidney stones since 2015.  Most recently, they - or, rather, the pain they caused - prevented me from writing from roughly the middle of last year until March this year.  I find the creative part of my brain simply shuts down when the pain level gets too great.  That's no fun, and it makes putting food on the table a bit tricky, too.

I've been to several doctors, both general physicians and urologists, to see what could be done.  They uniformly assured me that once kidney stones become established, there are three - and only three - possible solutions.  The first is for the body to pass the stone itself;  the second is lithotripsy;  and the third is an ureteroscopy.  Both medical procedures are typically day surgeries.  I'm here to tell you, the last option is extremely painful for several days afterwards - worse than the kidney stone, at least in my case.

There are some preventive measures recommended, such as drinking at least two quarts/liters of liquid per day to keep the urine stream diluted.  However, these didn't seem to help in my case;  and having experienced both types of medical intervention, I was highly motivated to find another way.  (Besides, the ongoing cost of such procedures isn't negligible, to put it mildly, even if you have medical insurance!)

I therefore started to research the problem, and came up with two non-medical remedies, one a traditional South American herbal treatment, the other a calcium "protector" that was alleged to stop the formation of new calcium crystals in the kidneys.  Since I had nothing to lose but my pain, I decided to try both.

The first I tried was Chanca Piedra, a South American herb colloquially known as "stone breaker".  Quite apart from my online research, an Ecuadorian woman (herself a kidney stone sufferer) assured Miss D. that it really was a folk remedy in that country, and it really did work.  Unfortunately, there are many different brands offering Chanca Piedra as an ingredient, some genuine, some not so much.  It took a lot of checking user reviews, looking for scam alerts, and so on before I settled on this brand.

I took it in the recommended dosage for six weeks, and was encouraged to find that my kidney pain diminished measurably.  It didn't go away completely, but it was much better than before.  This motivated me to look at a second treatment, designed to prevent the formation of calcium crystals (the leading cause of kidney stones).

I stopped taking the Chanca Piedra and started the recommended daily dosage of Kidney C.O.P.  Within two weeks, my kidney pain had disappeared entirely, and it hasn't come back.

I don't know that either treatment is "better" than the other, because they seem to work in different ways;  but I'm convinced, on the basis of personal experience alone, that they dramatically decrease the symptoms of kidney stones in me.  Only time will tell whether they can do so on a permanent basis, but so far, so good.  I've settled on a pattern of taking Chanca Piedra for one month, then Kidney C.O.P. for the following month, before repeating the cycle.  The former costs me about $10 for a month's treatment, and the latter about $30, but I regard that as cheap at the price compared to the pain of dealing with kidney stones.

I can't claim or guarantee that these have any therapeutic medical benefit, and their manufacturers offer the usual FDA-mandated disclaimers about their use.  Nevertheless, they appear to have worked for me.  If you suffer from kidney stones, particularly calcium-based ones, I suggest you may find them worth an extended trial - say, two months of each, alternating them each month.  You may be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

(No, I'm not being compensated in any way for recommending them.  I merely want to share a solution to excruciating kidney stone pain that has worked for me, and may therefore help those of my readers with the same problem.)



Old NFO said...

Yay, and you've been in a MUCH better mood lately, too! :-)

John Ray said...

I have suffered from this problem since the age of 15 years. Three, four or five times a year, on average. After years of ambulance trips to the ER and the pain involved; after abiding by medical advice of "physicians in-the-know" with no success (cut the dairy products [my favorite diet intake], cut the red meat [my second favorite diet intake], eat only fish for protein [a desirable diet intake]) I had absolutely no decrease in frequency, surprise or severity of attack. In fact, I kept a stash of codeine on me at all times for years, just for the purpose of somewhat reducing the pain for just in case of surprise events. In my case, the initial pain frequently caused passing out cold or at least a stiffening of the whole body such that I could be put on the stretcher as if I were a pine 2x4. Tnen, some usually 2-3 days later, a surprise passing of the rock through the urethra -- a screaming and bloody event in and of itself. Things were so bad that when I was 41, I mistook a bad appendix for a kidney stone attack, which was a very costly, and almost deadly, mistake.

One day, about 12-15 years ago, I decided "enough!". Found a urologist who might help me. For about a year, test after test, then Eureka. Turns out I am missing some damn chemical that is in lemons, limes and other citrus, but mainly lemons (by the way, I hate citrus). I was told by the good doctor, drink a glass of lemon juice daily "dilute in something if you want", but a glass of lemon juice you need. In my case, it is a calcium problem, but one that the citrus chemical will inhibit the formation of stones. I am absent or of insufficient quantity of this chemical. I was told that this regime will not halt the production of stones, but will greatly reduce the frequency.

Now, I eat whatever I want with impunity, drink milk, eat cheese, cottage cheese -- no problem. One event since then. Only one kidney stone event in 12-15 years. Yes it was an ER trip once again, as I was totally disabled -- but one trip in 15 years.

Now, don't go out and drink lemon juice, maybe stay in your dairy free or reduced diet (apparently the most common solution). Everyone is different, and not all kidney stones are calcium problems, and not all calcium problems are caused by the same human defect. But do go through the tests, they may be worth it. In the meantime, if what you are doing works, stick with it.

Aesop said...

I've had kidney stones 3X.
Diagnosed them myself, usually while walking around in the ER on shift, and self-treated as well.
Firstly, 1/3rd of stones are calcium-based formation.
The recommendation, in that case, is to cut back on dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream etc.), because it's high in calcium.
2/3rds of stones are caused by G.O.K. (God Only Knows) but if anyone figures it out, there's a Nobel Prize in Medicine with your name on it waiting to be claimed in Oslo.
And BTW, if you make one on one side, there's about an 80% chance you're making a smaller one on the opposite side. The organs, after all, are identical.
The stones, BTW, do not form overnight; they take days to weeks to aggregate. By the time you notice, you've been making one for some good amount of time.
That also means you always have time to change that.

What's worked for me in all instances, was simply upping my fluid intake.
At any sign of discomfort, I started chugging water for a couple of days.
Your kidneys are filters, pure and simple.
The more you flush them, the less likely it is that anything will be forming in them.
I haven't had any for years, since the first few times, with only this intervention, and upping my daily intake of water as well.
(And this is where bottled water beats the heck out of highly mineralized muni water, FWIW.)

But I'm adding you homeopathic solutions to the list, just in case.

All actual medicine is, at its root, is a tedious statistical analysis of what works best, vs. what doesn't.

And $10-50K for procedures is a poor return on investment over simpler (and cheaper) prevention.

Thanks for the info.

Kidney stones, in my clinical experience, tend to be overwhelmingly a male problem.
Gall stones (stones in the gall bladder) tend to be biology's female counterpart. Nature seeks a balance.
The cause is eating too much good food.
The cure for them is table pushups: place both hands firmly along the edge of the table, and push your chair away from the plate, before you eat it all.
I can count on my thumbs the skinny women I've seen who have gallstones.

And FTR, some people like to compare kidney stone pain with childbirth.
I'm here to tell you, from personal experience and direct observation, that contention is pure, undiluted B.S.

Kidney stones are far, far worse.

The birth canal was designed for the passage of babies.
Conversely, there is no part of your kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra that was built to handle pumping out gravel that resembles a ball of fishhooks (the stones are never rounded, they look like spike-balls on a medieval mace), and best resembles a kitten sliding down your curtains with its claws out as the stone makes its way from kidney to toilet bowl.

MSG Grumpy said...

My significantly better half is afflicted with a very strange condition in her shoulder called pseudo-gout. It presents like gout and is caused by the formation of crystals just like gout is, except this is NOT caused by the build up of uric acid crystals, but by calcium crystals.

The Doctors have suggested that she cut back on any and all calcium foods and supplements. Considering her family history of osteoporosis this restriction could cause side effects as bad as the condition being addressed. The Doctors have also let her know that there are no current medications or surgery that addresses this condition.

We will try this supplement and if successful we will sing it's praises from the highest rooftop (and give you our undying gratitude as well).

God Bless and may all of your kidney stones be ancient history.

MSG Grumpy

lpdbw said...

There are people in the carnivore diet movement who are proposing that plants have self-defense mechanisms, including oxalates, that cause a number of problems in the human diet.

To the point where they claim you want to come close to eliminating plants in your diet.

The theory goes like this: Animals defend themselves with tooth and claw or speed. Once you overcome that defense, the meat and organs are good to go. Plants defend themselves a bit with thorns and poisons, like oxalates and lectins. These poisons come with the plants and are difficult if not impossible to eliminate.

I don't know if I buy it, but I hope it gets investigated, and soon.

Will said...


what makes you think that our agribusinesses will allow studies that might curtail their income? Unfortunately, you are also talking about taking away the food for Billions of people. Difficult problem.

Jonathan said...

@MSG Grumpy:

Has your lady tried supplemental Vitamins K2 and D3? Problems with calcium are often caused by an insufficiency of the fat-soluble vitamins that help shuttle calcium to its proper place. Interestingly, this can cause both diseases of too much calcium in the wrong places (atherosclerosis, bone spurs) and too little calcium in the right places (bones, teeth).

Most osteoporosis sufferers are not insufficient in calcium. They are more likely to be insufficient in K2, D3, magnesium, and other stuff that gets calcium where it belongs.


Thanks for this very useful post! So glad you found something that works, and so glad you're sharing it with the world.

MSG Grumpy said...

Jonathan, Yes we have been keeping an eye on the D and B complex because she is also sans Gall Bladder and we are concerned about the probability of having reduced uptake of fat soluble vitamins and trace minerals. So far the blood work does not indicate any shortages, but we supplement with the B's, D, magnesium, and potassium just to be safe. However, we had been doing this for a number of years before the pseudo-Gout decided to make an appearance about 18 months ago. We are hoping that this can get her some relief as the Doctors (GP and Specialists) have said that they have run out of options.

I also agree with you,

*Thank you Peter for posting and sharing interesting and helpful info.

MSG Grumpy

Peter said...

@MSG Grumpy: I hope the C.O.P. works for your lady. Please let us know how it goes. You can also contact the manufacturer directly, if you'd like to ask them any questions. Just look up "Kidney C.O.P." and you'll find their Web site.

John said...

Not related to stones but if you or a loved one suffers from psoriasis or eczema
(my wife did for many years) take 2 to 4 fish oil with Omega3 capsules a day. She
started it over 10 years ago and it stopped the itchy rash for good several days
after she started.

Ygolonac said...

First time I was diagnosed* with kidney stones, the ER doc came by: "So, what are you in for today?"

"I have a kidney stone on the right side."

Doc looks at films. "No, you have stones on both sides... and your bladder is full of gravel."

Dilaudid got me through to arranging a ride to the pharm for antibiotics and Percs, and was still helping when the stone decided to *slowly* move on from the kidney later that evening.

A few days later, urologist calls me in - seems I'm supposed to give up chocolate, tea, some specific vegetables and.. I could swear it was "heart of lamb", which I had to hit Google to find out it was another plant. ("What, I do *look* like Ozzy?")

* specifically diagnosed because I would rarely get that horrible painful ordeal, but occasionally urination would provide moderate pain and a *TINK* noise off the porcelain. Never could figure it out...

Saving off this post for later research - I'd rather drop some money and have fewer-to-none, if I have any choice in the matter.

Peter said...

UPDATE: I posted an update about these medications in January 2020:

Briefly, I'm taking 2x C.O.P.S. capsules every morning, and I've stopped the Chanca Piedra. That dosage seems to be working well for me.