Kidney Stones: Types, Causes, Risk Factor

everything about kidney stone

Kidney stones are mineral and salt deposits that grow inside your kidneys. You may not even be aware that you have a kidney stone depending on its size. The process, which might take up to three weeks, may be assisted by drinking water.

A kidney stone can get trapped in the ureter and cause bleeding, blocking urine from leaving your body. You may need surgery if you’re unable to pass the stone on its own.

 If you experience severe pain, the symptoms often lead to a diagnosis of a kidney stone if you can’t pass urine or it is accompanied by blood. Stones either pass, via your kidneys with common treatments like passing a tube and using medicines or, in some cases, require surgery to remove the stone.

How common are kidney stones?

Kidney stones occur in children, too, and are more likely to happen in children with asthma than children who don’t have asthma. The survey found that kidney stones in the young adult group were four times more common.

What’s the urinary tract? How does it work?

The urinary tract is essential to your body, and it functions as both a waste and fluid disposer for the body. It’s composed of the kidney, two ureters, the bladder, and the urethra.

Kidney: Your kidneys are bean-shaped and located on either side of your spine, below your rib cage. They filter your blood and produce one to two quarts of urine every day.

Ureters: As kidneys produce urine, the liquid travels through the tube-shaped ureter. There is one ureter per kidney. Kidney stones can pass through the ureters or get stuck in them. 

Bladder: The bladder is an organ located between the hip bones that stores 1.5 to 2 cups of urine.

Urethra: Your urethra is a tube that passes urine, and where you urinate. It’s the last stop of the urinary tract before exit. This process is called urination.

kidney stones
kidney stones

Kidney Stone Formation

People pick up kidney stones for years without knowing they’re there. If these stones remain in place within your kidney, you won’t feel anything. Pain from a kidney stone typically starts when it moves into the ureter and other nearby organs. Sometimes, a kidney stone can form merely months after being formed. Discuss your risk factors with your doctor. To see how quickly you develop stones, they may perform a 24-hour urine test.


Kidney stones often have no definite, single cause and may cause by several factors that increase your risk. Kidney stones form when the urine contains more crystal-forming substances, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, than the fluid, can dilute. At the same time, there may be a lack of substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.

Types Of Kidney Stones

Knowing the type of kidney stone you have helps determine the cause, and may give clues on how to reduce your risk of getting more kidney stones in the future. If possible, try to save your kidney stone if you pass one so that it can examine at your doctor’s office. It’s important to know the types of kidney stones:

Calcium stones: This type of stones are the most common type of kidney stones. It consists of mostly calcium oxalate, which is produced in your body or consumed in food. Some fruits and vegetables contain higher levels of this substance and certain foods such as nuts and chocolate.

In addition to dietary factors, such as high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery, and metabolic disorders, some bodily conditions may cause a rise in the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine.

Calcium stones may be of two types: calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate. This is more common in metabolic conditions, such as renal tubular acidosis, or as a side effect of certain medications that can use to treat migraines and seizures.

Struvite stones. These stones form in response to a urinary tract infection and can barely be noticeable, especially when there are few symptoms.

Uric acid stones are a type of stone that can form in the kidneys. They’re commonly seen in people who have chronic diarrhea or are largely absorbed by their gut and also those with a high protein diet, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of uric acid stones.

Cystine stone: People with a hereditary disorder called cystinuria can form stones in their kidneys that cause them to excrete too much specific amino acid.

Risk Factor

Factors that enhance your risk of obtaining kidney stones include:

  • Not only does having family members with kidney stones increase your risk of getting kidney stones, but if you have never had a kidney stone then you can now be at a higher risk too.
  • You can build a risk for kidney stones with dehydration caused by not drinking enough water. People who live in warmer, drier climates and sweat profusely are at higher risk than others.
  • Certain diets. High-sodium diets, which contain a lot of salt and sugar, will increase your risk of kidney stones. Protein also affects how quickly calcium builds up in the kidneys, which can lead to kidney stones.
  • Obesity, large waist size, and weight gain have been linked to an increased risk of kidney stones.
  • Digestive diseases and surgery can cause changes in the digestive process that affect your absorption of calcium and water, increasing the amounts of stone-forming substances in your urine.
  • Kidney stones are a condition that can arise due to different kidney problems. Such as renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, or repeated urinary tract infections.
  • Certain dietary supplements and medications, such as vitamin C and calcium-based antacids, can increase your risk of kidney stones.

How are kidney stones diagnosed?

Many people who experience a kidney stone will also experience thunderclap pain. This occurs when the kidney stone detaches from the place can form, the renal papilla, and falls into the urinary collecting system. When this happens, the stone can block or prevent the drainage of urine from the kidney, a condition called renal colic. The pain may begin in the lower back and may move to the side or groin, among other symptoms.

The main steps involved in diagnosing a kidney stone are interviewing the patient, physical examination, history, and medical tests. The patient will discuss any current symptoms, past episodes of renal colic, medical conditions, and medications. The doctor will inspect for signs of a kidney stone such as flank pain, lower abdomen, or groin pain.

A urinalysis will perform to look for blood or infection in the urine. A blood sample will also collect so that kidney function and blood counts can measure.

Many tests are necessary, but it is hard to definitively detect a kidney stone as they can only be found by X-rays. In some cases, a single X-ray called a “KUB” may be effective enough. If your doctor wants more information, you may have to have an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or computed tomography (CT) scans.

Stones often go unnoticed and can cause issues as a result. Common symptoms include painless stones that can discover on your x-rays when looking for other things. Some stones may cause urinary tract infections or blood in urine, although some do not.

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