Roughly 1 million Americans develop kidney stones each year, and they can be extremely painful. However, the best way to deal with them may be to simply let them pass on their own, without additional treatment.

Kidney stones form out of the chemicals present in urine. If they get wedged intoa badplace, or block the urine flow, they can cause excruciating pain in the back or side.

But 90 percent of kidney stones pass on their own in a few days or weeks. Since intervention techniques increase the risk of infections and kidney damage, simply letting them do so is likely the best approach.

USA Today February 21, 2006

Dr. Mercola's Comment:I've written about the effects of kidney stones, and how they arise when you consume health-harming substances like soft drinks, but not much on how to treat them should they occur.

As in most cases, the best approach is the safest and simplest -- letting them pass on their own. One of the most important and non-controversial things you simply must do is drink enough water, especially when you are involved in settings when you can get dehydrated.

When you are sweating profusely your body fluids become more concentrated, especially your urine. This greatly increases the risk that a stone will precipitate in your kidney.

The key is to drink enough water -- NOT soda, as that will cause kidney stones --to cause your urine to be a light yellow. The quantity of water you need will vary depending on your fluid requirements, but simply keepingyour urine lightly colored will go a long way toward preventing kidney stones.

There are several medical procedures and surgical techniques that can be usedto treatkidney stones, but the risks are such that physicians typically shy away from them unless there's no other choice -- a good thing, considering the multitude of problems American patients face due to medical errors.

Of course, even better than letting a kidney stone pass naturally would be if you never had to deal with this often very painful problem in the first place.

The best and most natural ways to prevent kidney stones are some of the easiest, if you're willing to make some lifestyle alterations:

  • Eat a diet based on your body's unique metabolic type
  • Stay away from prescription drugs that promise the moon, but ultimately harm your health
  • Avoid soy and sugar
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