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KIDNEY STONE. (Renal Calculus. Nephro-Leithiasis)

Category: Kidney and Bladder

Forming of a stone or
gravel in the kidney or its pelvis may occur in intra uterine, (before the
child is born), in the womb, or at any age. A family tendency, sedentary
life, excesses in eating and drinking and very acid urine predispose. They
vary in size from that of fine sand to that of a bean.

Symptoms. Patients may pass gravel for years without having an attack of
renal (kidney) colic, and a stone may never lodge in the ureter. A person
may pass an enormous number of calculi. Dr. Osler speaks of having had a
patient who had passed several hundred kidney stones (calculi) with
repeated attacks of kidney colic. His collection filled an ounce bottle. A
patient may pass a single stone and may never be troubled again. A stone
remaining in the kidney may cause dull aching pain in the affected kidney,
or the pain may be referred to the other side and sometimes there may be
blood or pus in the urine, with chill and fever due to pyelitis. Kidney
(renal) colic comes on when a stone enters the ureter, if it is at all
large. At attack may set in abruptly, without any apparent reason, or it
may follow a strain in lifting. The pain may be agonizing in character,
which starts in the flank of the affected side, passes down along the
course of the ureter and is felt in the testicle and along the inner side
of the thighs. The testicle is drawn back. The pain may also go through
the abdomen and chest, and be very severe in the back. In severe attacks
nausea and vomiting are present and the patient is collapsed; sweating
breaks out in his face and the pulse is feeble and weak. The pain lasts
from an hour to several days, until the stone reaches the bladder, partial
suppression of the urine during the attack occurs, but a large quantity of
urine is usually passed after it and a feeling of soreness may, be present
for several days. The stone may again cause pain in passing through the
urethra, or it may remain in the bladder as a nucleus for a bladder
calculus (stone). Dr. Osler gives Montaigne's description as follows;
"Thou art seen to sweat with pain, to look pale and red, to tremble, to
vomit well nigh to blood, to suffer strange contortions and convulsions,
by starts to let tears drop from thine eyes, to urine thick, black and
frightful water, or to have it suppressed by some sharp and craggy stone
that cruelly pricks and tears thee."

Treatment. Great relief is experienced in the attacks by the hot baths or
fomentations which sometimes are able to cause the spasm to relax. If the
pain is very severe morphine should be given by the hypodermic method and
inhalations of chloroform given until morphine has had time to act. Local
applications are sometimes grateful,--hot poultices or cloths wrung out of
hot water may be helpful. Cloths wrung out of steaming hop, wormwood, or
smartweed teas, are of benefit sometimes. Change of position often gives
relief; when the stone is large an operation may be needed. The patient
should drink freely of hot lemonade, soda water, barley water. When the
patient is free from the attack, he should live a quiet life and avoid
sudden exertion of all kinds. There should be a free passage of urine
always. The patient should drink daily a large but definite quantity of
mineral, or distilled water which is just as satisfactory. You may take
the citrate or bicarbonate of potash. Mineral springs are good to visit,
such as Saratoga, Hot Springs, Arkansas, etc. Abstain from alcohol and eat
moderately. Live an open-air life with plenty of exercise and regular
hours. The skin should be kept active; a cold friction bath in the morning
is good, if one is strong; but if he is weak and debilitated the evening
warm bath should be substituted. The patient should dress warmly, avoid
rapid alterations in temperature, and be careful not to allow the skin to
become suddenly chilled.

Diet. Most persons over forty eat too much. One should take plenty of
time to eat, and not too much meat should be eaten.

"Queen of the Meadow."--The Indians used this medicine quite frequently in
the treatment of kidney and bladder troubles. A lady, whom I know well,
told me that she had a cousin who was affected with the kidney stone
colic. At one time, when he was suffering from an attack, an Indian
happened in their home and saw him suffering. He went into the meadow and
dug some of this remedy and made a tea of it. It seemed to do the work,
for while he gave it, the pain was eased and he never had any more
attacks. I give this for what it is worth. The remedy will certainly do no
harm for it is a good diuretic.


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