Kidney Stones

Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I once had a kidney stone and it was so painful, I'd like to know if there is a way to prevent another one occurring.

A. Kidney stones usually occur in people over 30, dehydration being a common cause. Most commonly, kidney stones are composed of calcium and oxalic acid. Avoid spinach and rhubarb; these are rich in oxalic acid. There are also calcium phosphate or calcium urate kidney stones. It is believed that metabolism malfunctions contribute to kidney stones. If you're able to collect the stone passed, it would be helpful to have it analysed.

Magnesium, vitamin E and selenium or glucosamine and chondroitin reduce oxalic acid in the urine and the likelihood of calcium oxalate stones. Taking supplements of any of these can prevent kidney stones. Magnesium combined with 100mg vitamin B6 a day may help eliminate kidney stones in 89 percent of sufferers, and may banish them entirely in 79 percent. Orange, grapefruit or cranberry juice are reputed to prevent kidney stones, and lemon juice may reduce pain and help get rid of them. Barley water can also help reduce the pain.

Herbal medicine such as stoneroot, cornsilk, golden rod, horsetail and gravel root can prevent and treat kidney stones by helping to break them down. See www.nzamh.org.nz to find a practitioner.

Lower your intake of glucose, sucrose and caffeine; these increase urinary calcium excretion and may contribute to kidney stones.