Sponge Kidney Disease or medullary sponge kidney refers to a congenital defect affecting the tubules present inside the kidneys. Cysts are formed in the tubules and urine flow from them is hampered. Patients are at increased risk of kidney stones and infections of urinary tract. Symptoms include pain and burning sensation while passing urine; pain in back, lower abdomen or groin; urine appears cloudy, dark and bloody and foul smelling; fever, chills and vomiting.
Diagnosis is done using intravenous pyelogram in people showing repeated urinary tract infections or kidney stones. Treatment involves curing urinary tract infections using antibiotics or removal of stones through lithotripsy and other methods. Fluid intake has to be increased in the person to lower chances of stone formation.
Natural therapies that can be used to relieve symptoms of sponge kidney disease include:
Horsetail tea: It works by correcting bacterial infections of urinary tract and preventing formation of kidney stones which are predominant in people with sponge kidney disease.
Green tea: Being rich in antioxidants green tea inhibits kidney stone formation which is a major problem in these patients. It also protects them from developing other complications like cancer of prostate, liver and colon.
Milk thistle: You can consume its decoction daily as it is a very beneficial herb for people suffering from sponge kidney disease. It works by virtue of its active compounds called Silymarins that strengthen the kidney cells, prevent stone formation and ease other symptoms of the disease.
Rehmannia: A herbal decoction of this herb is used extensively in traditional Chinese medicine to ease the symptoms of the disease.
Basil: Basil leaves juice taken along with honey daily for 6 months works as an effective diuretic, dissolves kidney stones, keeps a check at our uric acid levels as well as cleanses and strengthens the kidney.
Uva ursi or bearberry: It is beneficial in treating chronic urinary infections seen in people with medullary sponge kidney disease by virtue of its anti-bacterial properties. 10 grams of the leaf of this herb needs to be taken daily to get the benefits.
Cranberries and cranberry juice: Presence of optimal amounts of vitamin C, anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus in cranberries and its juice, makes them useful in enhancing kidney functioning, dissolving kidney stones and easing the symptoms of the disease.
Gokshura: In Ayurvedic medicine this herb is used extensively to maintain effective kidney functioning as it helps in proper urination, reduces kidney discomforts and removes stones. One capsule of 60 to 250 mg strength needs to be taken twice a day after meals.
Dietary recommendations: Since people suffering from this disease are prone to urinary tract infections and stone formation they need to drink at least 14 glasses of water a day. Their diet should be low in salt and animal sources of protein. Increased consumption of citric fruits and vegetables is beneficial. Dietary oxalates, cholesterol and caffeine have to be reduced. Foods like spinach, cucumber, alcoholic beverages, radishes, tomatoes, cauliflower, beans etc. that serve as irritants to the kidneys should be avoided.