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Ask Dr. Gott 10/28
Cherry solution prevents kidney stones
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I'm writing to thank you for your suggestion to use cherries or cherry extract to relieve gout and also to tell you about cherries and kidney stones.
    My husband had seven kidney stones caused by gout crystals. He was given allopurinol to help control them, but it only caused him severe pain across the bottom of his chest and top of his stomach. I was afraid his pancreas was being harmed. (We have a friend who lost his gallbladder, most likely because of his use of allopurinol.)
    After seeing your article, I put my husband on two cherry extract pills a day. I figured if it helped gout, it would help kidney stones caused by gout crystals. I guess I was right, because my husband has not had another kidney stone, and it's been five years!
    DEAR READER: It does appear that you were correct in suggesting your husband use cherry-extract pills to treat his kidney stones. It makes sense that if cherries can alleviate the discomfort of gout, they should also reduce symptoms of kidney stones caused by gout crystals. I am printing your letter for other readers' interest. Cherries can be eaten every day (10 to 15 fresh, dried or canned), or cherry extract (pills or liquid) can be substituted for people who don't like cherries or find it hard to get them at certain times of the year.
    I would also like to address your statements about allopurinol. Some people, such as your husband, are sensitive to the medication. Side effects can include allergy, nausea, diarrhea, rash, abdominal pain and much more. One of the more rare side effects is hemorrhagic pancreatitis. I doubt that your husband was experiencing pain from his pancreas. As for your friend who lost his gallbladder, I also doubt this was due to allopurinol use. Gallbladder disease can cause symptoms similar to side effects of the drug. Chances are that these conditions simply coincided with their allopurinol use, since most side effects from this medication occur in less than 1 percent of users.
    That being said, both your husband and friend should have immediately stopped the medication and contacted their doctors if their symptoms were severe. The doctors could have given their respective patients exams, testing and changes in dosage or medication. There is no need to suffer debilitating side effects from medication taken for relatively trivial conditions. Gout is not deadly; it is simply annoying and painful. Kidney stones do carry some risks, but, in most cases, they are also harmless and will eventually (and painfully) pass on their own. If your husband had seven kidney stones at once, perhaps he should have tried other options, such as lithotripsy, which uses sound waves to break up the stones, making them easier to pass.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Dr. Gott's Compelling Home Remedies."
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