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How do I Dissolve Kidney Stones?

By Caitlin Kenney
Updated May 17, 2024
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About one out of ten people will develop kidney stones in their life, which can be dissolved using medicinal or herbal remedies. Medications can control the level of acidity or alkalinity in your urine which can help dissolve certain kinds of stones. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotipsy (ESWL), percutaneous nephrolithotomy or ureteroscopic stone removal have also proven to be successful medical treatments. Taking phosphoric acid is a natural way to break down the calcium build up as well as drinking herbal teas, and lots of water.

It is widely agreed that prevention is the best medicine. For people with a history of kidney stones, doctors usually recommend passing at least 2.5 quarts (2.3 liters) of urine a day. To do this, a patient will need to drink about 14 cups (3.3 liters) of fluids every day — and even more if the patient lives in a hot, dry climate. Lemon also helps to prevent the formation of stones by increasing the levels of citrate in the urine. Many doctors recommend that patients have a glass of lemonade, made with real lemons, once a day.

Most kidney stones are calcium stones. Calcium stones cannot be dissolved by changing your diet or taking medicines. A small percent of kidney stones are made of uric acid, a waste product that normally leaves the body in urine. Uric acid stones can sometimes be dissolved with medicine. To dissolve kidney stones like these, your doctor might prescribe allopurinol and an alkalinizing agent.

Acids are often prescribed because they can naturally dissolve kidney stones which are calcium-based. The liver does not play a role in acid-based regulation and so it is easily passed on to the kidneys. Phosphoric acid can be found in most soft drinks and it has been claimed that drinking a glass of soda along with pureed green vegetables can help dissolve and flush out kidney stones. Phosphoric acid is a mineral (inorganic) acid and pH adjuster, used in the manufacture of fertilizers, detergents and pharmaceuticals and as an additive in cola drinks. This may not seem like something a patient would want to put in his body, but used in a small dosage, the acid may help to dissolve kidney stones.

Some more appealing natural remedies include herbal teas that use herbs such as hydrangea root, wild yam root, cramp bark, Joe-pye weed, yarrow leaf, plantain leaf and corn silk. Dandelion and corn silk are effective diuretics to help naturally pass the stones once they have been dissolved. Goldenrod, an herb found commonly in the wild, may also be effective in an infusion. Teas should steep in a covered pot for 20 minutes and it is recommended that 3-4 cups are consumed daily.

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