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KIDNEY STONE. (Renal Calculus. Nephro-Leithiasis)

Categories: 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 neve
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.