A condition often resulting in as extreme agony as human being will suffer is kidney stones or renal calculus. These are concretions or accumulations of certain of the mineral elements present in excess in food or improperly eliminated.
Renal colic is an excreting pain appearing far back in the abdomen or in the small of the back and down the groin to the genital region. Associated with its development are fever, nausea and vomiting, cold sweats and difficulty of urination; unconsciousness may result from repeated agonizing spasms of pain. The pain results from the rough surfaces of the stone distending and irritating the ureter while passing down the canal of the ureter.
When the stone completes its passage the severe pains disappear, but there linger mild degrees of pain or discomfort and perhaps some degree of blood in the urine. Since these stones often do not develop singly, there may be recurring attacks of the renal colic. If the stone is of considerable size the amount of blood lost through the urine may be considerable.
Treatment- It is far easier to prevent the formation and recurrence of stones than it is to relieve renal colic once it develops. Often this is one of the few legitimate reasons for using morphine or other drugs of this character, for the relief of the excruciating pain, particularly in nervous and high-strung individuals. Naturally, if the drug can be avoided, the patient will fell better after the stone has been expelled than where such drugs are used. Hot packs to the abdomen often produce relief sufficient to enable the person to endure the remaining passage of the stone. Hot packs or packs kept hot by an electrical heating pad or hot water bottles or sand-bags, completely encircling the trunk for a width of a foot or more, may have far better results than local packs because of the more complete relaxation.
Distilled water or rain water should be taken in considerable amounts, and usually it should be decidedly hot. Whether or not such large amounts of fluid are taken during the colic, these should be taken at its termination, in order to help clear out any gravel or small stones that may linger in the pelvis of the kidney. In any case water freely taken will dilute the urine and make it less irritating to the irritated or inflamed surface of the ureter.
As important as relief may be during the colic, of greater importance are the living habits before and afterward in order to prevent the initial development or the recurrence of the stones. The very fact that stones develop shows that either there has been over-eating or wrong eating, insufficient water drinking, or defective elimination, or failure properly to utilize minerals and dispose of any degree, a milk diet should be followed when possible. This will cause a considerable frequency of urination of weakly concentrated urine while at the same time providing elements that will permit rebuilding and repair of the damaged kidney structure and ureter. If this diet is not followed, considerable milk should taken in a diet consisting otherwise practically wholly be vegetables and fruit for considerable time at least.
A small amount of whole grain cereals may be used, but there should be very little protein aside from milk and that contained in the cereals, and no starches except that in the foods mentioned. Salt should be avoided, together with other spices and condiments. No more food should be taken than is actually required to maintain the body in its various functions and to maintain weight, strength and energy. Considerable water should be taken regularly everyday. If one is overweight, it is advisable to reduce to more nearly normal. If one is underweight, care should be taken that weight is gained slowly.
The skin should be aided in natural functions, as the skin and kidneys work together. The daily cold or cool bath followed by good friction is advisable where the vitality and nervous energy permit, otherwise a tepid bath with friction. Sun and air-baths are valuable also. One should secure moderate physical exercise after recovering completely from the passage of the stones. To exercise too vigorously will tend to concentrate the urine, which is undesired. One should use constitutional exercises rather than muscle-building or strength-building exercises. There should be adequate relaxation and sleep.
There is little reason for a person developing ant infection resulting from the passage of kidney stones but unless the general toxemia is reduced infection is possible. This may ascend to the kidneys and produce serious trouble, or it may affect the bladder and result almost as seriously. If one follows the suggestions given above there will be no disastrous or harmful immediate effects following the passage of the stones, and the general health will not need to suffer.
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