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Old 10-17-2005, 05:49 PM   #1
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Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

Please help me understand what is going on. I went to the hospital about 3 months ago with severe pain, I was crawling on the emergency room floor yelling. Come to find out that I had at least 3 stones, one of which was passing. My body nearly went into shock, I was shaking, sweating, ready to throw-up, and no matter what I did the pain would not go away! I am scard of having this experience EVER again! I followed-up with a specialist and he found that my urine had low levels of citric acid, the scale showed a range about 350-1200 and mine level read 212. He said that he likes to see the level up around 700-750, so I my levels are really low. He wanted me to do another urine test, this time a 48 hour urine test. I guess the lab neglected to do the uric acid test that my doctor requested (something was not working in their lab or something), so again I had to stay home and pee in a container all weekend long!

Well, for the past two weeks I noticed that my urine had a very strong smell. I drank more water, thinking that I need to hydrate more, but the smell was still strong. I didn't think it was an infection because it didn't burn to urinate. I was getting very light-headed, had a fever and my head hurt, so I called my doctor and he told me to go to the hospital to get some tests. I went, they took an X-ray, ct scan, and drew blood. This has only been 3 months from the last time I had a ct scan and there is another stone in my left kidney! Also, I they found that I have a kidney infection as well.

Why are stones forming all of a sudden? Why so quickly? I read about low levels of citric acid and I DO NOT FIT THE description of someone who has low levels. I read that elderly people as well as heavy meat eaters have low levels of citric acid. I am 32 years old and a vegetarian! I have not changed my diet, but all of a sudden I am forming stones, how can this be?

 
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Old 10-18-2005, 02:07 AM   #2
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

Does anyone know about citric acid levels and why I would be forming another stone in just 3 months? I don't know what to do and am scared. Please help me understand, this is all new to me and is happening so fast! The pain that I went through was the worst pain EVER! I just passed at least 3 stones 3 months ago and there is another one in my other kidney that has formed since then.

 
Old 10-18-2005, 03:22 AM   #3
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

Hi Play, I'm so sorry for what you are going through. Please read my inital thread titled "newbie here....but extremely familiar with kidney stones. I will try to answer any questions for you as I can. First, the citric acid levels. All kidney stone formers have a low urinary citrate level. With this low level, urinary crystrals start sticking together and forming stones. The higher the citrate level, the harder it is for these crystals to start sticking together. Studies and research have shown that if the circumstances are just right (low citrate levels, concentrated urine) a stone can start to develop within minutes!! There has been a ton of research done on this.

To bring your citrate levels up to a normal range can be accomplished by doing one of two things. First, you can drink fresh concentrated lemon juice (use the juice of real lemons, not from a concentrate) mixed with either water or club soda and some type of sweetner. LOTS of lemon juice. Or secondly, you can get a prescription from your doctor called Urocit-K. It is potassium citrate (I was involved in the research process of this drug, I was only 10 years old). This drug will do the same thing as the fresh lemon juice concoction.

When your urine is acidic, the crystals have a difficult time sticking together to form stones. However, when your urine is alkaline, the crystals stick together very easily. It's been proven in research that if the parameters are all right (low citrate levels, concentated urine, etc.) stones can form at an outstanding rate! Literally, in seconds crystals will begin to stick together and the growing process begins. I have had over 200+ kidney stones in the last 25 years. I'm only 34, so this all began when I was just 9 years old. I have had every surgery available and I'm in pain management due to how this kidney is just plained screwed (metabolically and surgically). I'm about to have that kidney removed in the next couple of months. I must take powerful narcotics 24 hours a day in order to function and do basic, everyday things that most people take for granted.

Anyway, feel free to ask me anything you want and I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge and experience has a stone patient.

Take care

Last edited by friendly_one; 10-18-2005 at 03:32 AM.

 
Old 10-18-2005, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

Thank you so much for the tips. Iím sorry that you are going through so much with your health. I saw my mom go through a bunch of kidney problems when I was a kid, she had 5 surgeries due to kidney stones. She was 8 months pregnant when they found one of her huge kidney stones. This was about 20 years ago, so they had to cut her open to remove the stones (I guess they still do that in some cases now). She was on experimental drugs and they were going to remove one of her kidneys because it stopped functioning. They were able to save it and the last surgery they did was cut her neck open (something to do with the parathyroid gland) and luckily that seemed to stop her problems. She was in the hospital for a month straight in really bad shape, so this stuff scares me! They tested me for what my mom had problems with and they said that my parathyroid gland is normal. I pray that you start having relief with your pain and problems; I know what I went though was horrible and what you must be going through is that much more painful! I just hate to see and hear about people in so much pain.

What puzzles me is that something like this started of a sudden. I actually love lemonade and drink it a lot, I prefer is over pop. However, I will step up my intake; Iíll go out and buy lemons after work tonight. Iíll sweeten my homemade concoction with Stevia, since itís natural and much better for you than NutraSweet. I donít put caffeine in my body, I actually have very healthy eating habits, so this really seems like it comes down to some defect with how I metabolize substances. Itís frustrating because everything I read about who gets kidney stones seems to be the exact opposite of what I am! I go to the specialist later today, so Iíll have questions for him. Thanks for listening and letís hope for the best in your case since you definitely are the ďkidney stone queenĒ. Keep the board posted with your status. Good luck and God bless!

 
Old 10-18-2005, 03:18 PM   #5
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

I urge you to get a prescription for urocit-k. You can't drink enough lemonade, and you have a potassium problem too. Citrates make the urine alkaline, not acidic. This inhibits stone growth. For more info, google "hypocitraturia".

My name isn't onekidney for nothing

 
Old 10-18-2005, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

sorry....I got it backwards acid and alkaline. How do you know if there is potassium problem??? Are you looking at recent labs done? (I'm not trying to be a smart a**). For some people, lemonade is all they need. Notice I said for some. They also need to be followed closely by their doc. One particular patient comes to mind. He did follow up tests (24 hr. urines, complete and comprehensive blood work ups, etc. for the next year after he started drinking lemonade). His labs were all normal. So, for him, he and his doc decided he didn't need the urocit.

Well, I've been on Urocit - K (I was involved in the original research for Urocit K back in the early 80's when I was a kid), every diuretic available, and tons of other meds. Nothing has helped me control my stone disease. I've even had 3 1/2 parathyroid glands removed becuase I have primary hyperparathyroidsm. I'm still forming stones. So, I'm having that one screwed up kidney removed in the next few months. Yes, I have stones in the other kidney, but it doesn't hurt all the time and have only had a handful of surgeries on that one. All the other surgeries on screwed up kidney (TONS of pain, scar tissue).

I'm sorry you had your kidney removed. It sounds like you did not have a choice and were reluctant to do so. In my position, I absolutely CANNOT WAIT to have this diseased ridden, never ending pain (even on daily potent pain meds...Fentanyl), scarred up and f***** up, destroying my life and sanity, pathetic excuse for a kidney removed!!!

Anyway, all you can do is try the Urocit and see if it works, but also, keep drinking the lemonade. There's no harm in doing that. Take Care.

Last edited by friendly_one; 10-19-2005 at 09:25 AM.

 
Old 10-19-2005, 04:33 PM   #7
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

Thank you both for caring enough to reply and help clear-up my concerns. I am starting on the Urocit - K, the doctor gave me the perscription yesterday. I went out and bought a bunch of lemons. I just don't understand why I have low citric acid levels and why it happened all of a sudden? It can't be my diet!

The doctor did another test on my parathyroid (I had a test 2.5 years ago when they thought I passed a stone), but the lab screwed-up and lost the results, the lab also said that they could not get a uric acid reading from my urine both times they tested my 24 hour urine collection. Does this have anything to do with the citric acid or ph in the urine? Right now, my doctor does not know my uric acid level because of this. He told me to stay on the medication for about 3 months and I have a follow-up early December. All of this is new to me, so sorry I keep asking questions.

 
Old 10-22-2005, 03:07 PM   #8
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Re: Kidney stones & low citric acid levels

Thanks, K-stone. I am very much better off without the kidney that became a stone.
My citrate level was 267 at 24 hr. analysis. Potassium regulates how sodium is used by the body. this does not work for you, K-stone because of your hyperparathyroidism..that puts you in a different category of stone-former.

Play Hard: It doesnt have to be your diet. It can be from idiopathic rta (google this) Some people just excrete low levels of citrate. Taking urocit k changes your urine ph to a more alkaline state. This has been proven to limit stone formation. Inhibiting new stones is very important for me for obvious reasons. You simply cant drink enough lemonade!!

 
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