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Welcome to NMC Urocare

Stones – Overview

Kidney stones, one of the most painful of the urologic disorders, are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. It is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney out of substances in the urine.

Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pearl. Some stones are even as big as golf balls. Stones may be smooth or jagged. They are usually yellow or brown.
Doctors have found four major types of kidney stones

  • The most common type of stone contains calcium. Calcium is a normal part of a healthy diet. Calcium that is not used by the bones and muscles goes to the kidneys. In most people, the kidneys flush out the extra calcium with the rest of the urine. People who have calcium stones keep the calcium in their kidneys. The calcium that stays behind joins with other waste products to form a stone. The most common combination is called calcium oxalate.
  • A struvite stone may form after an infection in the urinary system. These stones contain the mineral magnesium and the waste product ammonia.
  • A uric acid stone may form when the urine contains too much acid. If you tend to form uric acid stones, you may need to cut back on the amount of meat you eat.
  • Cystine stones are rare. Cystine is one of the building blocks that make up muscles, nerves, and other parts of the body. Cystine can build up in the urine to form a stone. The disease that causes cystine stones runs in families.

Causes

Stones occur more frequently in men. The prevalence of kidney stones rises dramatically as men enter their 40s and continues to rise into their 70s. For women, the prevalence of kidney stones peaks in their 50s. Once a person gets more than one stone, other stones are likely to develop. Doctors do not always know what causes a stone to form. While certain foods may promote stone formation in people who are susceptible, scientists do not believe that eating any specific food causes stones to form in people who are not susceptible. A person with a family history of kidney stones may be more likely to develop stones. Urinary tract infections, kidney disorders such as cystic kidney diseases, and certain metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism are also linked to stone formation.

You are more likely to get a kidney stone if

  • You are Caucasian
  • You are male
  • You are 40 or older
  • You have had a kidney stone before

Most kidney stones pass out of the body without any intervention by a physician. Stones that cause lasting symptoms or other complications may be treated by various techniques, most of which do not involve major surgery.