Passing a kidney stone is one of the most painful health experiences a person can go through in their lifetime.
There are many pills, powders, and potions sold each year to patients who will do anything to avoid that hell ever again. These “remedies” promise patients that they will break up present stones and/or prevent new stones from forming.
Every day I receive emails from my website or posts on my closed Facebook group asking me about pills to break up stones or prevent them. And every day, I disappoint and upset my patients by saying “changing lifestyle” is the most crucial part of decreasing their new stone risk. I make no new friends with this statement.
It is totally understandable why you might be tempted to buy these products. You will do anything to avoid that pain and suffering again. You do not want to go through another surgery, stent placement, sepsis, time missed from work and family, or the financial burden of new stones. Not to mention the anxiety you experience from the possibility of making a new stone.
As a patient myself (cancer, not stones), I understand that you want to do everything possible to avoid being sick. You want an easy way out. This makes total sense. But I am not a fan, and I will tell you why.
Let me put this simply, there are not enough conclusive clinical trials to back these claims up. No matter what pill you might want to pop, you cannot prevent stones without changing your lifestyle. There is no getting around this fact. I know you are rolling your eyes right now. You are thinking I am a party pooper and being “over the top.” I hear that all the time too!
The reason I am not a fan of these “solutions” is not only are they not proven to work for all patients, but many patients forgo their physician-recommended treatment plan thinking these natural remedies are going to take care of everything. They won’t.
I have worked with thousands of patients over nearly 20 years. Many of them came to me after trying these alternative “treatments.” That last sentence tells you everything you need to know. They came to me AFTER trying those “treatments” because they still produced new stones.
Patients who want to take these alternative treatments will say that I should not discount these products just because they are natural. My response is always the same, “there is nothing more natural than diet and fluid changes.” No one believes in natural remedy more than me, and this is why I continue to dedicate my nursing career to educating patients on the dietary changes necessary to prevent kidney stones.
If you look at the labels on many of these supplements, they will advise you to change your dietary habits as well. What is the benefit then? Also, if you do buy these supplements and change your eating habits, then how do you know the supplements worked in lowering your stone risk? Is it not possible that your new lifestyle changes worked?
I (and other medical professionals) have been asked by many of these companies to partner with them. The partnership would mean that I suggest to my patient population (which is large and very loyal to me) to take these supplements. Because you trust me (and that means everything to me), you would buy the product, and I would get a monetary portion from each bottle you purchased.
Many think I am nuts to say no to these very lucrative offerings. But I cannot, in good conscience, tell you to buy these products. Let me explain why.
• The first reason is I want to educate you on how to eat healthy to not only lower your stone risk but to decrease your risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity.
• The second reason is I don’t believe pills, potions, and products, in general, are natural. Healthy eating and drinking habits are the most natural ways to decrease your kidney stone risk.
• The third reason is that you all need to complete a urine collection to see if these pills would be a benefit to you. Some of you may benefit from them, but the only way to find out is to do a 24-hour urine collection.
So there you have it. I know that changing your diet and drinking habits is a hard thing to do. But wouldn’t you finally like to learn how to eat healthy, once and for all?
Ditch the pills and potions. If something comes on the market that will help you “stoners,” I will be the first one shouting from the rafters. In the meantime, get educated and take control of your health. It’s the most natural way of preventing new stones and achieving overall general health.