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Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys and travel through the urinary tract to exit the body. Passing a kidney stone can be very painful, but there are options for managing kidney stone development and pain at home.

Most kidney stones are treatable with pain medications, fluid therapy, or other medical intervention. There are also steps people can take to reduce their risk of developing kidney stones.

Not all of these remedies require a prescription or even medication. However, if kidney stones become too painful, it is best to seek medical attention.

This article discusses various methods for preventing or managing kidney stones at home.

Learn more about kidney stones here.

Before trying any home remedies for kidney stones, it is essential to consult with a doctor, especially when someone has an underlying medical condition or takes medications regularly.

Although many of these remedies may help relieve the symptoms or reduce the risk of future recurrences, kidney stones can cause intense pain. Therefore, it might be best to use home remedies alongside more traditional treatments.

Some people may even need surgery to extract or break up the stones and intravenous pain medication.

The sections below discuss some home remedies for easing the symptoms of kidney stones.

Learn more about home remedies for kidney stones here.

Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to treat and prevent kidney stones, as dehydration is one of the leading causes.

Most health authorities recommend drinking 6–8 glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration.

Lemons contain citrate, which helps break down calcium deposits and slow the growth of kidney stones.

A 2019 cross-sectional study found that sugar-free lemon juice was an effective remedy for kidney stones. In addition, lemon juice contains citrate, which reduces the amount of calcium in the urine leading to a lower risk of kidney stones.

It is essential to read labels carefully when purchasing juice products. For example, many lemon juice products contain small amounts of pure lemon extract and high amounts of sweeteners, increasing the risk of kidney stones.

Buying pure extract or purchasing fresh lemons and squeezing them at home are the easiest ways to get undiluted lemon juice. Good alternatives include watermelon and orange juice, which contain high levels of citric acid.

A range of lemon juice products is available for purchase online.

Apple cider vinegar also has citric acid content that may help dissolve calcium deposits.

A 2019 study of over 9,000 people found that those who consumed dietary vinegar had a significantly lower risk of kidney stones.

However, more research will be necessary to confirm the benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for kidney stones.

Apple cider vinegar and its supplements are available to purchase online.

A 2019 study showed that out of 146 people with recurring kidney stones, 43.8% had obesity or overweight.

Although this does not suggest causality, the research indicates there may be a link between weight and kidney stones. In addition, the study authors believe that metabolic conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure may contribute to kidney stone formation.

Managing body weight and adopting a nutritious, balanced diet are essential steps for preventing and treating kidney stones.

Carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks can increase a person’s risk of developing kidney stones.

Research from 2020 suggests that drinking caffeine can increase the risk of stones. In addition, drinks and sodas that contain natural or artificial sugars can also lead to kidney stones.

Also, foods high in sugar, salt, and fat increase the risk of kidney deposits and intensify the symptoms.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, for people with calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common kind, eating foods that contain calcium can help them meet their daily calcium requirement and manage their risk of kidney stones.

The National Institutes of Health noted that taking calcium supplements can increase the risk of kidney stones, as they may provide more than the recommended daily intake. Obtaining calcium from food sources, however, can help reduce the risk.

People can get calcium from:

Wheatgrass is the younger grass of wheat used in juices or powders for humans and animals to eat. It contains nutrients and antioxidants that benefit health.

According to a 2017 study, wheatgrass extract inhibited crystal growth by 88% during the initial formation.

Their research results indicate that drinking wheatgrass juice can help prevent kidney stones.

The root of the dandelion plant assists the kidneys in increasing urine output, eliminating waste, and helping digestion. In addition, the herb consists of vitamins and minerals that may benefit the body.

A 2018 study showed that dandelion effectively prevents kidney stone formation.

If a person is allergic to specific plants, they may also be allergic to dandelions and should proceed with caution before using them.

Celery is a vegetable that contains potassium and antioxidants that work to prevent the buildup of minerals in the kidney, lowering the risk for stone development. Furthermore, it holds a high water content to assist with waste and toxin removal via the kidneys.

To process into a juice, take three to four washed celery stalks and cut them into pieces. Next, put the pieces in the blender with some water and consume immediately after blended.

Learn more about how to prevent kidney stones here.

According to a 2016 review, 10% of the United States population received a diagnosis of kidney stones in 2016.

Additionally, males are more likely to develop kidney stones than females.

Health disparities

Some estimates suggest that African American and Hispanic American people are less likely to report kidney stones. A 2021 review of the health disparities associated with kidney stone diseasefound underreporting of kidney stones was due to disparities in diagnostic imaging and socioeconomic status.

Learn more about racism in healthcare here.

Medication and health conditions

Some medical conditions, including kidney disease and Crohn’s disease, can cause kidney stones or increase the likelihood of developing them.

Particular medications can also increase the risk of kidney stone formation, including:

Diet

Obesity and diet are also primary risk factors for kidney stones. Around 11.2% of people with obesity develop kidney stones.

Diets high in dehydrating foods and compounds, such as sugar, salt, and alcohol, may also contribute to the development of kidney stones.

Specific foods, though otherwise nutritious, are also naturally rich in oxalate. According to the National Kidney Foundation, people with a high risk of developing kidney stones may therefore wish to avoid the following foods:

  • nuts
  • buckwheat flour
  • rhubarb
  • okra
  • beets
  • sesame seeds
  • chocolate soy milk
  • miso
  • Swiss chard
  • tahini

Learn about the kidney stone diet here.

A person should seek immediate medical attention if they experience severe pain in the lower abdomen or genitals. It is possible to treat kidney stones using fluid therapy and pain medications.

However, stones can get stuck in the urinary tract or damage the urinary tissues. This obstruction usually requires immediate surgery or another medical procedure to break up the stone.

A doctor should assess the following symptoms:

People can use some home remedies for smaller kidney stones. However, it may be necessary to seek more conventional treatments and use these home remedies as supporting therapies for larger kidney stones.