When thinking about kidney stones, we need to differentiate between acute and chronic disease.
Acute state is when the stone has formed and it is causing pain trying to come out. This is very uncomfortable and the patient is often in a lot of pain. The stone has irregular surface, often spiky, like a little porcupine. It is no wonder, that as this thing is trying to come out via a narrow ureter, it scratches it and causes bleeding and pain. The ureter is irritated and goes into spasm, which causes even more pain, crampy in character, called colic. Patients often describe this pain as the worst pain they’ve ever had. Wikipedia has a good article on kidney stones, covering most of the important aspects of this condition from conventional perspective.
The important thing to realize is that as the ureter cramps up, it prevents the stone from coming out easily, thereby prolonging the suffering. Furthermore, as the patient is experiencing more and more crampy pain, they become anxious, predisposing them to even more cramping and even more pain. It is a classic catch 22.
Conventional treatment consists of reducing pain by taking strong pain killers (usually narcotics) and drinking a lot of water to create pressure behind the stone and push it out. If the stone is really stuck and won’t come out for a couple of days, a urologist has a tool which can be introduced through the urethra via a catheter, advanced into the urether, then used to grab the stone and bring it out. This procedure is expensive. It is also quite painful, so must be done under anesthesia.
Homeopathic treatment of acute ureteral colic is directed at the ureter to reduce cramping, so the stone can come out easier and faster. Finding the right remedy is sometimes quite easy, but sometimes difficult. In some cases, more than one attempt at finding the remedy must be made. Once the correct remedy is found, we expect fairly quick improvement. Within a few hours the pain should start subsiding and the stone comes out. That’s why, managing a case like this may require 2-3 visits or phone calls per day (after an initial visit taking ½-1 hour, sometimes longer), so time is not wasted on wrong remedies and the correct remedy is found ASAP. The conventional treatment may be continued while homeopathic remedies are taken. However, I usually ask to limit the intake of pain killers, so some symptoms are still remaining, otherwise I have no way of judging the effect of the remedy and time may be wasted.
Chronic urolithiasis has to do with one of the following conditions:
• The patient may have a large stone too big for passage through the narrow ureter.
• The patient may have a tendency to make stones and pass them frequently.
In the case of a big stone, the problem is frequent infections of the urinary tract, because the stone is like a foreign body, and whenever there is a foreign body anywhere in the body, bacteria likes to cling to it and multiply. This sets up the right conditions for reoccurring urinary tract infections resistant to antibiotic treatment. Conventional approach to this situation is somehow removing this stone, and when this is impossible for some reason, using chronic antibiotics to prevent infections. Chronic antibiotic use is almost always a bad idea if something else can be done. Therefore, removing the stone should be the first option. This used to require surgery in the past, but now urologists prefer to break down the stone and let the small pieces come out naturally. They accomplish this either with lithotripsy (blasting them with ultrasound from outside the body), or through a catheter equipped with a device to break stones, such as ultrasound or laser, introduced through the urethra. I am not aware of any good alternative modality which could reduce large stones. Homeopathy is not effective in breaking down or dissolving large stones. However, homeopathy may be very useful as a complementary modality in helping the patient’s body deal with the trauma of all these procedures, as well as reducing cramping of the ureter, as discussed above, so the stone fragments may come out easier. The most striking effect of good homeopathic treatment in situations when people pass stones, either naturally or after a procedure, is that the amount of pain killers used is significantly less than in those cases where homeopathy is not used. In many cases the remedy takes care of the pain and pain killers are not needed at all. The duration of illness is also shortened significantly in most cases treated homeopathically
When frequent passing of stones is the problem, the conventional doctor will look at the patient’s diet and suggest some modifications, as discussed in the Wikipedia article. Sometimes drugs can be used to reduce stone formation. A homeopath will look at the situation from a different perspective. We need to figure out a homeopathic remedy which will “debug the person’s software” and enable the body to function in such a way, that the tendency to stone formation is reduced, independent of any dietary interventions. Of course, when stones do come out, the acute approach described above is used to help the patient along. Homeopathic treatment is usually quite effective in chronic stone-makers. One needs to remember however, that as with all chronic conditions, the homeopathic treatment is directed at the person with the condition, not the condition itself. Therefore, the stones will be viewed as just one of the patient’s symptoms, to be addressed in their totality. The improvement will be expected in all the areas of the person’s health as well, not just the main presenting complaint.