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Struvite Kidney Stone

Struvite Kidney Stone

Kidneys cannot make struvite. Bacteria make it. Not all bacteria, either. It takes bacteria that normally thrive in the soil, and they do it for ancient and compelling reasons. These bacteria produce the kidney stone named Struvite after Heinrich Christian Gottfried von Struve (de) (1772–1851).

Because urine is filled with urea, soil bacteria that get into the urinary tract can break it down to ammonia and create struvite from the magnesium and phosphate urine always contains. You might wonder how soil bacteria get into the urinary system. Because we eat them, with foods that are not cooked, and they become part of the intestinal bacterial population from an early age. In us and around us, they find a way into the urinary system, especially in women whose shorter urethra makes entry easier. No matter how skillfully used, any instrument put into the bladder can carry our personal soil bacteria with it.

Because they live among molds and fungi, soil bacteria easily mount resistances to antibiotics, so antibiotics given for a urinary tract infection will tend to kill sensitive bacteria and select out those that can resist them. Soil bacteria can produce struvite stones de novo, or infect calcium stones to produce a mixed stone. Either way, struvite stones are infected by their very nature. They can become huge. Their bacteria can injure the kidneys, even enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis.


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