how to pass kidney stones naturally

Natural Remedies to Pass Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard, mineral-based masses that form into stones within the kidneys and urinary tract. Unfortunately, kidney stones are extremely common, as one in 10 adults will experience them at least once in their lifetime. Symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, fever, and blood in your urine are the tell-tale signs of kidney stones. Other symptoms include severe pain in your back and side, along with pain that radiates from your lower abdomen to the groin. Although this condition seems serious and painful, kidney stones can usually be passed at home. If you are dealing with kidney stones, here is how you can pass them safely with our top natural remedies. 

The Causes of Kidney Stones

Like many other ailments, a poor diet is the leading cause of kidney stone formation. While genetics and environmental factors can play a role, your diet is the easiest thing you can change. 

Specifically, sodas and sugary drinks are major culprits behind the causes of kidney stones. This reason being sodas are filled with unhealthy chemicals, including high levels of processed bleached sugar, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are harmful to your body and especially harsh for your urinary system.

These drinks cause kidney stones thanks to the high fructose corn syrup which metabolizes into oxalate and increases excretion of uric acid and calcium. This combination encourages kidney stone formation at a higher rate than normal. Plus, the phosphoric acid in soda can create an acidic environment in your kidney tract, leading to more kidney stones. Diets high in sodium are also associated with this condition. The amount of calcium in your urine contributes to kidney stones and should therefore be reduced in your diet. 

Instead, eat a diet for optimal urological health that is full of fresh vegetables and fruits. Avoid processed foods and sugar to avoid kidney stones and maintain a healthy urinary system. Don’t forget to keep hydrated!

Related: Can Wine Prevent Kidney Stones?

How to Pass Kidney Stones at Home

Kidney stones can only exit the body via urine. Stones that are smaller than 5mm can usually pass easily. Larger stones will generally require medical intervention. Depending on the kidney stone’s size and location, the length of time it will take to pass varies. Thankfully, there are many natural home remedies for passing kidney stones at home effectively. 

Natural Remedies to Pass Kidney Stones

  • Drink plenty of water. Kidney stones need to be flushed out of the body so be sure to drink lots of water to keep them moving along. Minimize coffee, alcohol, tea, and soda while passing a kidney stone as these can cause dehydration and make the pain worse. Remember: hydration is key for both passing and preventing!
  • Drink a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil. The lemon juice contains citrate that will help break up the stones, and the olive oil will help to flush the stones out of your body. Mix ¼ cup of both and then follow with water. Only drink fresh lemon juice and pure olive oil as additives like sugar or flavorings can worsen problems. Drink this mixture every hour to cease kidney pain
  • Try raw apple cider vinegar. You can mix this with a few ounces of water to make it more palatable. This will also help break up the stones and can help prevent future kidney stone formation.
  • Eat diuretic foods. Celery, brussels sprouts, cucumber, watermelon, and asparagus are great foods to help with passing kidney stones.

Treatment Options for Passing Kidney Stones

Keep in mind, these natural remedies to pass kidney stones can only help with smaller stones. If you are having difficulty passing a stone, it may be too large to do so naturally and you will need your doctor’s help. These are some of the kidney stone treatments your doctor may try:

Shock Wave Therapy

This form of therapy consists of shock waves to help break up the kidney stone into smaller pieces, which will then allow them to pass more easily out of the body. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is used with stones larger than 5mm but no larger than 2cm, and with stones that are inside of the kidney, meaning they have not traveled down the ureter to exit the body. This treatment is also used when the stone is blocking urine flow and causing extreme pain. The procedure lasts about an hour and may require general anesthesia. This outpatient procedure cannot be used for obese or pregnant patients as there are risks for kidney injury with this treatment.

Medication or Surgery

Medication may help you if you have a small kidney stone that you are trying to pass naturally. Alpha-blockers are a common medication for kidney stones. These work by relaxing the muscles in your urinary tract, and therefore helping the stone to pass less painfully. 

Surgery will be required if you have a very large kidney stone that cannot be passed out of the body. To avoid the need for surgery, use our tips to minimize your risk for kidney stones and help break up any mineral deposits that may form in your kidneys over time. 

We are Here to Help

At Urology Specialists of the Carolinas, we are always here to help, and our goal is to help you prevent common urological concerns such as painful kidney stones. 

To prevent kidney stones from forming, do your best to live healthy and take care of your urinary health. Simple tips can be implemented to ensure your urinary health is in tip-top shape. Learn how to take care of your urinary system and download our Nutrition and Lifestyle Guide for expert guidance from our very own Urology Specialists. Download your free copy of the guide below!

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This content was originally published in 2015 and refreshed in 2020.