Category Archives: Ailments: K-L


Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx caused by an infection, or by over-use of the voice, or by irritation.

What to look for

  • hoarseness and loss of voice.

  • pain when speaking.

  • raw feeling in the throat.

  • a constant need to clear the throat.

  • flu or a cold

The first indication that you have laryngitis is that you lose your voice.


Anything that makes your vocal cords swell can result in laryngitis. Viruses and bacteria are frequently responsible.Allergies and exposure to certain harsh chemicals or toxins can also cause the vocal cords to swell. As well as overuse. Tumours or growths can also cause this, however it is only in rare case.

Traditional Treatment

Viral laryngitis usually goes away by itself in a few days without any treatment except rest for the voice.

However, if your physician diagnoses a bacterial infection has set in, you’ll most likely be given antibiotics. Be sure to complete the entire course.

For most allergies, doctors usually prescribe antihistamines, which reduce swelling and inflammation.

No medication is necessary if your laryngitis is caused by simple overuse; in that case, the best solution is to rest your voice.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Your immune system will be the object of treatment with alternative practices, in order to prevent this condition occurring again. They will also attempt to relieve the discomfort you feel.

Herbal Therapies – To help restore the voice, try gargling with a tea made from red sage, bayberry or white oak bark.Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) also helps the immune system To help restore the voice, try gargling with a tea made from red sage, bayberry or white oak bark. Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) also helps the immune system

Aromatherapy – Try using the essential oil of thyme to relieve the symptoms. Use in vaporiser, inhalation or in a carrier oil via massage. (see our section on Aromatherapy for more information). Try using the essential oil of thymeto relieve the symptoms. Use in vaporiser, inhalation or in a carrier oil via massage. (see our section on Aromatherapy for more information).

Dietary Considerations

Drinking plenty of filtered water, eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables, and reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates may help speed your recovery from laryngitis. To boost your immune system, supplement your diet with vitamin Cgarlic tablets and Echinacea.

Personal Care

  • Do not speak at all – rest your voice totally.

  • Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or tea mixed with a little honey or lemon.

  • Inhale steam from a pot of boiling water.


Try not to overuse your voice – give it lots of rest. Do not smoke or locate yourself next to smokers.

When to seek further professional advice

  • laryngitis lasts more than a week

  • you develop laryngitis after being exposed to environmental toxins

  • a child’s hoarseness turns into a sharp, barking cough


Lice are parasites that live by infesting humans and sucking their blood. There are several types of lice.

What to look for

  • head lice: intense itching on the scalp, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.

  • body lice: unexplained scratch marks on the body, hives, eczema, and red pimples.

  • pubic lice: continual itching around the pubic area.

Lice are not usually dangerous but they do cause considerable annoyance and irritation. They are also very contagious and should be treated to avoid spreading the parasite.

Head lice (nits) are highly contagious and frequently affect school children because they can easily jump form child to child. The lice are about the size of a sesame seed and can be easily seen. However, their eggs are not so easily seen.

Pubic lice (crab lice) are crab like insects which cling to the pubic hair and transmitted by close personal or sexual contact.

Body lice are nearly identical in appearance to head lice but are more difficult to find. They occur less often than head lice and need to feed regularly. They thrive in condition in which the person does not change clothes very often. When not feeding, they tend to hide in clothing and bedding.


Contrary to common belief, lice are not related to poor hygiene, except occasionally in the case of body lice. Lice will transfer from host to host and especially thrive in densely populated areas.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will attempt to remove the lice – this can take time as they can also be in clothes and bed linen.

There are treatments available in pharmacies that will get rid of head lice. They are usually in the form of a shampoo.

In the meantime, it is advisable that people infected with lice stay away from others to avoid spreading the lice. Continually wash and sterilise all bed linen, clothing and towels and face washers.

To treat body lice, wash the entire body with soap and water. If this is not effective, you may have to use an insecticidal preparation, which usually kills all the lice. As above, wash all clothing and bed linen, towels and face washers.

Pubic lice is treatable by over-the-counter preparations and the same applies as above. Also you should let any partners know about the lice so they can take all the necessary treatments and precautions.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Several alternative treatments may make it easier to get rid of lice.

Aromatherapy – For treatment of head lice, wash the hair and rinse slowly with 6 drops each of essential oils ofrosemary and red thyme mixed in a litre of warm water. You may substitute this combination with 12 drops of essential oil of lavender. For treatment of head lice, wash the hair and rinse slowly with 6 drops each of essential oils of rosemary and red thyme mixed in a litre of warm water. You may substitute this combination with 12 drops of essential oil of lavender.

Dry the hair naturally, then comb with a fine-toothed comb. For prevention, soak your comb in water with 10 drops of essential oil of red thyme, and comb hair thoroughly.


It is vital to try to prevent major outbreaks of this condition, especially head lice. Notify your school authorities if you suspect your child has head lice.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are unable to get rid of lice or if scratching has led to infection


Liver Cancer

What to look for…

Like most cancers, liver cancer usually has no initial symptoms, but may eventually cause:

  • pain, swelling, or tenderness in the upper right section of the abdomen.

  • jaundice.

  • body itching.

  • swollen legs.

In the advanced stage, symptoms may also include fever, appetite and weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, general weakness, and loss of libido.

The liver’s job is to filter the circulating blood. It converts nutrients and drugs absorbed in the digestive tract into chemicals that the body can use straight away. Another job it has is to remove toxins and other chemical waste products from the blood and gets them ready for excretion. All the blood in the body must pass through the liver, therefore, it is very accessible to cancer cells travelling in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, the liver cannot cleanse itself of cancer.

Very rarely does cancer start in the liver, normally liver cancer is secondary, (meaning the tumour originated elsewhere in the body).


When primary liver cancer does occur, it tends to result from livers damaged by congenital defects or diseases such as hepatitis B and C, and cirrhosis. In fact, most people told they have primary liver cancer already have cirrhosis.

There are some carcinogens which are linked with primary liver cancer, these are some cholesterol-lowering drugs, herbicides, and other chemicals such as vinyl chloride and arsenic.

If you believe you are in a high risk group, it is wise to speak with your doctor who may perform a liver test on you.

Traditional Treatments

Liver cancer is not easy to treat or to cure. Primary liver cancer is not usually detected early, when it is most treatable and secondary liver cancer has already spread so it is also difficult to treat. Most therapy centres on improving the patient’s quality and length of life.

If the tumour is caught early enough, surgery may be possible and this is the patient’s best chance of being cured. Unfortunately, when most cancers are diagnosed it is almost too late, either the cancer has spread too much or the liver is too badly diseased to be saved.

Radiation or chemotherapy can often be used to reduce the size of the tumours to a size which is able to be operated on. Patients in remission must be monitored closely in case of a recurrence.

(See Cancer for more information on treatments.)

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies that may help relieve some of the pain include massage, relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture.


  • Get immunised against hepatitis B.

  • Only drink alcohol in moderation.

  • Before taking iron supplements, check with a doctor to make sure you really need them as overdosing on these has been linked to liver cancer.

  • Do not use anabolic steroids unless medically necessary.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop symptoms that suggest liver cancer


Lung Cancer

What to look for…

As with most cancers, lung cancer normally has no symptoms until it has spread significantly to other parts of the body.

  • the ‘smoker’s cough’.

  • blood in mucus.

  • recurring bronchitis or pneumonia.

  • shortness of breath, wheezing, persistent chest pain.

  • hoarseness.

  • swelling of the neck and face.

  • pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand.

  • if cancer has spread to other parts of the body – fatigue, weakness, loss of weight, fever, very bad headaches, and pain.

This disease is extremely common and is also one of the most preventable kinds of cancer. Nearly all cases of lung cancer have had their cause firmly linked with smoking.

Lung tumours almost always start in the bronchi, the airways of the lungs. And as such is called a primary cancer.


There are reputed to be certain causes of this cancer. They are –

  • your genetic pattern.

  • smoking has been proven to cause lung cancer

  • passive smoking can also cause lung cancer, giving non-smokers who are with smokers a somewhat higher lung cancer risk than others.

  • workers who are exposed to asbestos, silica, mineral dusts, coal dust, arsenic, or the radioactive gas radon on a daily basis are much more likely than the average person to develop lung cancer.

  • diet may also influence lung cancer risk.

Traditional Treatments

If surgery is an option, the patient has an excellent chance of surviving.

The challenge comes in detecting lung cancer early enough to make surgery possible. (You can see our Cancer section for more specific information on treatments).

There are a few factors to consider before performing surgery. The doctor must look at the type of lung cancer and how far it has spread and also on the patient’s overall health. As well as that other diseases and conditions may prevent surgery from being performed such as heart problems.

Complementary Therapies

Once conventional treatment is under way, you may try alternative therapies to alleviate the pain, fear, and discomfort of cancer.

  • support-group therapy

  • improved nutrition and diet

  • massage, yoga and meditation.

Dietary Considerations

Some nutritional studies suggest that certain vitamins and minerals offer protection against lung cancer. Various antioxidants, including vitamins C and E as well as beta carotene (vitamin A) and some other carotenoids, are believed to protect the lungs from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and other carcinogens.


The best way to prevent lung cancer is not to smoke.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you develop any of the symptoms mentioned above



What to look for

  • profound fatigue

  • muscle or joint aches

  • skin rash.

  • sun sensitivity.

  • weight loss.

  •  nose, mouth, or throat ulcers.

  • enlarged lymph nodes.

  • poor circulation in fingers and toes.

  • bald patches.

  • discoloured urine, or frequent or blocked urination.

Lupus is a disease of the immune system in which the body fights part of itself instead of concentrating on the invaders only. Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), causes a skin rash that is particularly sensitive to sunlight. The other kind, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is more serious.

It affects the skin and other vital organs, often causing a raised, scaly butterfly-shaped rash across the bridge of the nose and cheeks that can leave scars if it goes untreated. This type of lupus may also damage the connective tissue in the joints, muscles, and skin, as well as the membranes surrounding the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain.

This disorder can afflict people on and off and for different periods of time. It’s intensity can range from annoying to debilitating.


The causes for lupus are unknown. All that researchers know for sure is that the disease is associated with abnormalities of the immune system.

Environmental elements, ranging from viral and bacterial infections to severe emotional stress or overexposure to sunlight may help trigger the disease.

You will need to contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis and tests.

Traditional Treatment

Your doctor will no doubt suggest you take a Pain Killer for any pain associated with the joints and a medication for the rashes.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

There are a number of alternative solutions for relieving the symptoms of this disorder.

Dietary Considerations – Researchers suggest to avoid any foods that may cause food allergies (see entry on allergies). Researchers suggest to avoid any foods that may cause food allergies (see entry on allergies).

Try cutting down on red meat and dairy products, and increasing consumption of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids. Alfalfa may aggravate the symptoms so avoid this food.

The following supplements may benefit lupus patients:-

Vitamins B5C, and E; and preparations of slippery elm (Ulmus fulva). Beta carotene (see vitamin A) may help as well. Receive professional advice for suggested dosages.

Personal Care

Avoid sun exposure by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have several of the symptoms listed in the description section

  • you have a family history of lupus



What to look for…

Hodgkin’s disease, one type of lymphoma, may cause no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • swollen lymph nodes.

  • fever, chills, night sweats, loss of weight and appetite, persistent fatigue, and general weakness.

The symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in addition to those listed above, include:

  • swelling or fullness in the abdomen from an enlarged spleen.

  • enlarged lymph nodes in the groin.

  • tiredness

  • changes in bowel habits or bleeding from the rectum

  • nasal congestion, sore throat, or difficulty swallowing

The lymph system is responsible for defending the body against infection and is part of the immune system.

This disease affects the lymph cells or lymphocytes ( a type of white blood cell which fights infections). The lymphocytes are found in the blood and bone marrow and come together in the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, groins, chest and abdomen. These lymph nodes are responsible for filtering the fluid and initiating the body’s immune response.

Occasionally in certain individuals the lymphocytes can become cancerous and start multiplying out of control. This causes the nodes to enlarge and swell. Some types of lymphoma begin as a malignant tumour in a lymph node and spread through to other lymphatic tissue and possibly to organs outside the lymphatic system.

Left unchecked, the cancerous cells multiply and eventually replace the healthy lymphocytes, suppressing the immune system.

The term lymphoma refers to a varied group of diseases that range from slow-growing chronic disorders to rapidly evolving, acute conditions. There are generally two classifications of lymphoma – Hodgkin’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas which include all other types besides Hodgkin’s disease.

Hodgkin’s disease tends to spread from one cluster of lymph nodes to the next. It usually starts in lymph nodes in the neck or just under the collarbone; spreads into the other nodes later as the disease progresses.

There has been a very good success rate in curing Hodgkin’s disease, especially if it is treated early. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are typically more difficult to cure and can normally be controlled for a period of time.


The cause of Hodgkin’s disease is unknown. There may be a genetic link. Some researchers have indicated a virus may be the cause.

Doctors do not know how to detect lymphoma before it starts causing symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin usually indicate its presence.

Doctors can perform blood or urine tests to determine if the disease is present. And if cancer is found, further testing can determine how widespread it is.

Traditional Treatment

Radiation and chemotherapy are the treatments that are usually used for this type of cancer and have proven to be very successful in eradicating and stopping the disease from spreading.

Since success depends on high doses of toxic drugs and radiation, treatment frequently results in unpleasant side effects and can cause residual complications such as infertility.

People who are now in remission should have regular check ups with their doctor.

Complementary Therapies

The standard treatment for lymphoma – radiation and drugs can do damage to the immune system. There are benefits in also seeing a naturopath who can advise on alternative relief as well as techniques to build up the immune system again.

Rest, relaxation, and good nutrition are the basis of good health.

Personal Care

The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, and vulnerability to infection. Your doctor can prescribe medication to address some of these problems. But you can do a number of things to relieve symptoms…

  • Eat light meals.

  • Avoid dairy products and sweet, fried, or fatty foods.

  • Drink plenty of liquids before and after meals.

  • If the smell of cooked food makes you feel nauseated, try eating cold foods.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.

  • Rest whenever you feel the need, but otherwise keep yourself busy with activities that will help take your mind off the immediate discomfort.


Nobody knows enough about lymphoma to be able to suggest what to do to prevent it. However, by staying as healthy as possible may reduce your risk for cancer in general. Standard advice includes eating a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight in check, trying to reduce stress, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. All these measures contribute to healthy immune function.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you detect any symptoms associated with lymphoma


Kidney Stones

These are deposits that form in the kidney or bladder when substances which are normally dissolved in the urine turn into solids.

What to look for

  • sharp pain.

  • nausea and vomiting.

  • profuse sweating.

  • blood in urine.

If there is an infection present as well…

  • fever.

  • frequent urge to urinate.

  • painful urination.

  • cloudy urine which can be odorous.

Kidney stones are created when certain substances in urine (including calcium and uric acid) crystallise clump together. Small stones, rather like gravel, are able to pass out of the body in the urine and often go completely unnoticed with no symptoms. But larger stones irritate and stretch the ureter as they move toward the bladder, causing agonising pain and blocking the flow of urine. Sometimes a stone can be very large, in which case it remains lodged in the kidney, creating a more serious condition.

If you’ve had a kidney stone once, you are likely to get one again. For this reason it is vital that you attempt to prevent it through various means.


Acquiring kidney stones can be hereditary, it can also occur in people who are also suffering from gout, urinary tract infections (cystitis) and certain bowel diseases. Not drinking enough water can also cause it.

If you use antacids consistently you may be prone to kidney stones. Dietary deficiencies in vitamin B6 andmagnesium, and excessive amounts of vitamin D also may be factors in the formation of stones.

Doctors will normally perform a urine/blood test on you to confirm the presence of a stone and to determine the possible cause.

Traditional Treatment

Always seek the advice of your doctor if you have the above symptoms and he or she will advise you on the best course of action. In most cases, however, bed rest and a mild medication or pain killer will help. But your doctor will need to perform a test to confirm the composition of the stone and this will indicate the best type of treatment.

If complications develop, such as an infection or total blockage the stone must be surgically removed.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

These remedies can help in relieving the pain of kidney stones.

Chinese Herbs – Practitioners of Chinese medicine sometimes prescribe star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) to help relieve pain and promote urination. Practitioners of Chinese medicine sometimes prescribe star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) to help relieve pain and promote urination.

Dietary Considerations

  • Take daily supplements of vitamin B6vitamin A and C, kelp, lecithin, silica and magnesium

  • Avoid anchovies, sardines, organ meats, chocolates, celery, grapes, green capsicum, beans, tea, strawberries, brewer’s yeast.

  • Eat a low-protein diet.

  • Avoid antacids.

  • Reduce salt

  • Avoid vitamin D supplements

  • Drink plenty of filtered water every day.

  • Avoid foods containing calcium oxalate, as too much of this can cause the stones to worsen (chocolate, celery, grapes, beans, strawberries, spinach, asparagus, black tea). Ask your doctor about limited yourcalcium intake at this time.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you think you have kidney stones;

  • you are experiencing any pain or difficulty with urination

  • you notice blood in your urine


Kidney Infections

Occurs when bacteria or other infectious organisms enter the kidneys and cause infection.

What to look for

  • continuous pain that usually begins in the back above the waist and spreads down into the groin.

  • rapidly rising fever

  • frequent urge to urinate, even though the bladder is empty.

  • cloudy or bloody urine.

  • severe nausea or vomiting.

Kidney infections cause the kidney to swell and become inflamed.

This ailment can be extremely dangerous and should always be treated. If they are left untreated, they can lead to permanent kidney damage or blood poisoning.


Kidney infections are usually caused by the bacteria that reside in the large intestine. In a number of cases the infection starts in the bladder and spreads to the kidney.

The use of catheters can also increase the risk of kidney infections.

Your doctor may perform a urine/blood test on you to determine if you have an infection as well as the cause.

Traditional Treatment

If you suspect that you have a kidney infection, do not hesitate to seek immediate medical treatment; as delay in clearing the body of infection can lead to serious complications.

Usually antibiotics and bed rest are often all that is required to bring an acute kidney infection under control within 48 hours. Your physician will also ask you to drink large quantities of water to help flush out the bacteria from your urinary tract.

Only in rare cases are people hospitalised, usually to ensure that they get enough fluids and antibiotics.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Because kidney infections are so serious, most naturopaths will insist that you seek conventional medical care. If you decide to use alternative treatments in addition to conventional ones make sure you communicate to your doctor which supplements and herbs you are thinking of starting.

Dietary Considerations

Until you are cured of the infection, avoid foods that might irritate the urinary tract and put undue stress on the kidneys. Food to avoid are alcohol, coffee, salt, black tea, chocolate, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, vinegar, artificial sweeteners, and sugar are all considered potential irritants. (See also Bladder infections/Cystitis.)


Because most kidney infections start in the bladder, prevention begins with keeping bacteria out of the entire urinary tract.

  • Clean yourself thoroughly after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria to the opening of the urethra.

  • Urinate as soon as possible when you feel the urge and empty your bladder completely.

  • Do not wear synthetic underwear that traps heat in the crutch area.

  • Drink plenty of liquids.

  • Drink cranberry juice everyday. Research suggests that cranberries have properties that help fight off urinary tract infections. (See Bladder Infections.) you may even wish to take cranberry tablets.


  • Empty your bladder after intercourse to flush any bacteria

  • If you use a diaphragm, make sure that it fits properly and only leave it in for the required time – no longer.

  • Avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, and vaginal deodorants.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you have symptoms that lead you to think you have a kidney infection,

  • you notice blood in your urine


Kidney Disease

Kidney disease a the inability of the kidneys to perform their normal functions.

What to look for

  • frequent thirst and urge to urinate.

  • the passing of very small amounts of urine.

  • swelling of the hands and feet, and puffiness around the eyes.

  • unpleasant taste in the mouth and urine like odour to the breath.

  • persistent fatigue or shortness of breath.

  • loss of appetite.

  • increasingly higher blood pressure.

  • pale skin.

  • excessively dry, persistently itchy skin.

  • in children: increased fatigue and sleepiness; decrease in appetite; and eventually, poor growth.

The kidneys perform a vital function for the human body. They cleanse the blood, maintain the correct balance of various body chemicals, and help regulate blood pressure.

When the kidneys become diseased or damaged, they can suddenly or gradually lose their ability to perform these vital functions. Waste products and excess fluid then build up inside the body, causing a variety of symptoms. It is essential that kidneys in this state are treated.


The causes of chronic kidney disease (the slow, gradual impairment of the organs) are usually the result of another disease such as diabetesHigh blood pressure or Atherosclerosis, or Lupus may also trigger kidney disease by causing the kidneys to become inflamed.

Some chronic kidney diseases are inherited. Others are congenital, meaning something the person was born with that makes the victim susceptible to kidney diseases.

If you habitually take medications or drugs (including illegal drugs) you may also contract this disease. Researchers also suspect that excessive amounts of vitamin D and protein may harm the kidneys. But in many chronic cases, the precise cause remains unknown.

Acute kidney disease (kidney disease that develops suddenly) can occur immediately following the onset of any medical condition that suddenly and dramatically reduces the flow of blood to the kidneys. Examples are a heart attack, a traumatic injury, a serious infection, or a toxic reaction to a drug.

Inhaling or swallowing certain toxins, including methyl, or wood, alcohol; carbon tetrachloride; antifreeze; and poisonous mushrooms, can also cause the kidneys to suddenly malfunction. Marathon runners and other endurance athletes who do not drink enough liquids while competing in long-distance athletic events may suffer acute kidney failure due to a sudden breakdown of muscle tissue, which releases a chemical called myoglobin that can damage the kidneys.

You will need to undergo a blood and urine test and/or other tests at your doctors surgery.

Traditional Treatment

It is imperative that you seek conventional medical advice with kidney complaints as they can be fatal. Alternative therapies should only be used as supplement to your traditional treatment.

Medications can sometimes help slow the progress of chronic kidney disease also certain diets may halt the disease. But if these measures fail, and the kidneys may worsen to the point where they are totally dysfunctional. There are then only two treatments: dialysis, in which artificial devices clean the blood of waste products, or a kidney transplant.

If you are diagnosed with one of the more serious forms of kidney disease, your doctor may prescribe several medications.

Your doctor may also prescribe an iron and a calcium supplement if those levels have fallen in your blood.

Always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications as these can have a worsening affect on your kidneys.

Restrictive diets which avoid protein can often have very positive affects on the kidneys however, this approach is still very controversial in medical circles.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Kidney disease is a serious disease therefore you should bear in mind that alternative therapies are only a supplement to your traditional treatment. You should also talk over with your doctor before starting any other supplements or medication as these can have a profound affect on your kidneys.

Chinese Herbs – Traditional Chinese health practitioners use several herbs in the treatment of kidney disorders. However, because many herbs can be harmful to the kidneys, you should always consult your physician before taking the advice of an herbalist or ingesting any herbal remedies. Traditional Chinese health practitioners use several herbs in the treatment of kidney disorders. However, because many herbs can be harmful to the kidneys, you should always consult your physician before taking the advice of an herbalist or ingesting any herbal remedies.

Homoeopathy – Homoeopathic remedies are generally safe for the treatment of chronic kidney conditions. Homoeopathic remedies are generally safe for the treatment of chronic kidney conditions.

Dietary Considerations

A special restricted diet can decrease the workload on diseased kidneys, keep body fluids and chemicals in balance, and avoid a build up of waste products in the body. These diets are individualised for each patient but they are usually centred around the reduction of protein, potassiumphosphorus and sodium. It is very important to drink lots of filtered water. Foods which should be avoided are cocoa, tea, rhubarb, beets, parsley.

Calcium supplements are frequently recommended in order to counteract the bone weakening that frequently accompanies kidney disease.

Chemicals That Can Damage The Kidneys

Several of the chemicals found in common household products have been linked to both acute and chronic kidney disease. By becoming aware and reading the labels on all products in the home you can also avoid exposure to these.

Cadmium – (used in production of ) pesticides, rubber tyres, plastics, paints, and other products. Because of its industrial uses, it is now widely found in water and food supplies. (used in production of ) pesticides, rubber tyres, plastics, paints, and other products. Because of its industrial uses, it is now widely found in water and food supplies.

Carbon tetrachloride

Chloroform – This chemical can be found in drinking water as a by-product of chlorination and found in the air as the result of automobile and industrial pollution. Chloroform is also still used as an ingredient in some cough syrups, toothpaste, liniments, glues, pesticides, and other consumer products. To avoid: This chemical can be found in drinking water as a by-product of chlorination and found in the air as the result of automobile and industrial pollution. Chloroform is also still used as an ingredient in some cough syrups, toothpaste, liniments, glues, pesticides, and other consumer products. To avoid:

Ethylene glycol

Oxalic acid -found in some heavy-duty household cleaning products. Several freckle-fading and skin-bleaching cosmetics contain this chemical. -found in some heavy-duty household cleaning products. Several freckle-fading and skin-bleaching cosmetics contain this chemical.

Tetrachloroethylene – dry cleaning fluid dry cleaning fluid

When to seek further professional advice

  • you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in the description section


Kidney Cancer

What to look for…

  • reddish or cloudy urine.

  • dull pain in the abdomen, back, or side.

  • a mass or lump in the lower back that feels smooth and firm but does not necessarily hurt.

  • intermittent fever, vomiting, appetite and weight loss.

The kidneys are a pair of organs positioned above the waist on either side of the spine. The outer portion of each kidney cleanses the blood and produce urine. Benign cysts often develop in this area; much less often, a malignant tumour forms.

Renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of adult kidney cancer, starts in a kidney’s outer portion. Transitional cell carcinoma, originates in the interior of the kidney, where urine collects. Cancer cells may eventually spread to other organs.


Kidney cancer is strongly linked with a number of other health problems.

  • congenital defects of the kidney or bladder

  • frequent urinary tract infections

  • kidney disease requiring long-term dialysis

  • von Hippel-Lindau disease.

  • smokers more likely to develop kidney cancer

  • exposure to industrial agents

  • diets high in fat and protein

  • obesity.

If your doctor detects a mass in the abdominal or kidney region or using a stethoscope hears an unusual noise over the renal artery, he will check for kidney cancer.

Traditional Treatments

If it is caught early, a kidney tumour will be removed surgically. The surgeon tries to remove only the cancerous area but may have to take out the entire kidney along with surrounding fat, lymph nodes, and possibly the adrenal gland.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can reduce tumour size but are not consistently effective in preventing the spread of kidney cancer.

Unfortunately, neither radiation nor chemotherapy is particularly successful in treating advanced kidney cancer.

New therapies are being tested constantly in the hope of improving cure rates for this and other cancers.

When patients reach remission stage, they must be checked regularly for recurrence or complications.

(See Cancer for more information about therapies.)


Stop smoking immediately. Maintain your ideal weight and limit high-fat foods, and red meat. Always toss out foods that become mouldy or rancid, including nuts, seeds, or rice.

When to seek further professional advice

  • you experience any symptoms of kidney cancer