Our kidneys play a vital role in regulating our body’s fluid levels and removing waste and toxins from our blood. Due to their function, kidneys are susceptible to many types of disease and infection. In the duty of protecting our bodies from toxins, kidneys themselves may become damaged, leading to common problems like urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, and kidney disease.
Did you know:
- Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States, and the majority of people don’t even know they have it.
- 1 in 5 women will have a UTI in their lifetime, and millions of women suffer recurring UTIs. Younger men have a low rate of UTIs, but men over 50 have a higher susceptibility.
- Between both genders, 1 in 10 people will develop kidney stones in their lifetime.
Those are some eye-opening facts that make us wonder if the lack of communication about kidney problems may lead to their prevalence. In this article I’ll be discussing the three most common kidney problems and their natural treatments.
Urinary Tract Infections
Women suffer more commonly from UTIs than men, but anyone can get them. They’re caused when bacteria infect the urethra and make their way to the bladder. From there the infection may spread to the ureter, then the kidneys. Once it has left the bladder and moved to the kidneys the infection is called pyelonephritis and is a serious medical condition.
Treating a UTI is a two-point plan which should be employed as soon as you detect symptoms.
Your urinary tract system is very well designed to eliminate intruders, so the first step is to help your body do its job by providing it with plenty of fluids. Water is good, but you can do better by adding diuretics like ginger to make a delicious, anti-inflammatory tea. Diuretics assist your body in producing urine, which will in turn flush out the harmful microbes in your urinary tract system. Drink at least 3 full glasses of diuretic-infused water (like ginger tea) a day until symptoms disappear.
Once your fluids are under control, you can help by eating nutritious foods and herbs that boost your immunity. Horseradish and garlic are strongly anti-microbial, while citruses are high in vitamin C and alter your urinary tract’s pH to be less habitable to infections. You need zinc to absorb vitamin C, so also consider foods like yogurt and grilled chicken. This combination of nutrition and diuretic is a one-two punch to light or mild UTIs.
Kidney stones come in a variety, but the most common are calcium stones which grow naturally over time. Risk factors include a family history, certain diets, obesity, and dehydration. If you’ve had kidney stones in the past, you have a increased chance to develop more.
I’ve said for a long time that apple cider vinegar is a miracle solution, and it can even help with kidney stones. If you’re trying to rid small stones yourself, mixing 2 tablespoons of ACV with a glass of water 3 times throughout the day will not only break stones down but increase your overall urinary tract health. If you can stomach it, add a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to the concoction for maximum potential.
Kidney bean and their broth are widely regarded for their treatment in kidney stones. Much like ACV, the broth helps break the stones into smaller particles to be passed naturally, while the beans help maintain urinary tract health. Cook the beans in plain boiling water until they’re soft enough to eat, straining twice to get the broth. Avoid unhealthy additives like salt to alter taste.
A person experiencing poor kidney health for longer than 3 months is considered to have chronic kidney disease or CKD. It is a dangerous disease because the symptoms may go unnoticed until irreparable damage has already occurred. Click here to see a list of symptoms and if you should see your doctor about potential kidney disease.
Acupuncture has had promising results in both improving the quality of life for patients with CKD by relieving pain, while also improving immunity. It has the ability to increase your urine and can even delay dialysis. When used alongside a healthy diet and medication, acupuncture can help ease and eliminate some symptoms of CKD.
You may be surprised cranberries didn’t get a mention for UTIs, but the truth is cranberries do a much better job maintaining and nourishing kidneys when used over the long term and aren’t very beneficial as a one time treatment. If you suffer CKD, regular ingestion of cranberries or concentrated cranberry juice gives your body the nutrition it needs to fight the symptoms. Full of vitamin C for immunity, cranberries also boast healthy amounts of potassium, phosphorous and sodium to support kidney function. Additionally, cranberries are anti-inflammatory and help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
If you or someone you love is suffering from kidney problems, choose natural solutions before heading to extremes. You’d be surprised how well your body is designed to heal itself when given the proper tools.