Kidney stones are a painful and common problem with the urinary tract. Most kidney stones are small enough to pass through and out of the body on their own. The problem is so common, however, that more than half a million people visit a hospital emergency room each year because of them, and almost 3 million more visit the doctor.
While there are four types of kidney stones---calcium; struvite or infection; uric acid; and cystine stones---80% are the calcium variety and are easily dissolved.
Drinking lemon water, lemon juice or home made lemonade is an excellent way to dissolve calcium-based kidney stones. The acidic nature of lemon juice helps stones dissolve naturally within 12 to 15 hours.
Some home remedies say to add olive oil to the lemon and water mixture, because it is believed to help move the stone along through your urinary tract more easily. Many people get sick to their stomach when adding olive oil, however, and it hasn't proven to work any better than lemon juice alone.
To help prevent the development of additional kidney stones in the future, consider drinking a small glass of lemon water each day.
A variety of other drinks are used as a home remedy to dissolve kidney stones. Two of the most popular are cola and apple cider vinegar.
Cola is thought to work well for dissolving calcium stones because it's high in phosphoric acid, but it's currently uncertain as to whether too much cola can actually contribute to the development of kidney stones.
Apple cider vinegar is another acidic liquid popular for dissolving stones. The vinegar is mixed with warm water or tea and then swallowed.
While water won't actually dissolve kidney stones, it will help flush them out of your body more quickly. Drink at least 2 to 3 quarts of water each day until the stones have passed.
By drinking more water regularly, you'll also help prevent new stones from developing, as dehydration is a primary cause of kidney stones.
Note that standard home-remedy drinks for dissolving kidney stones will only work for calcium-based stones. If you have one of the other three less common types of kidney stones, the above solutions won't work.
Also remember that home remedies are not usually approved or acknowledged by the FDA.