A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in a kidney when substances that are normally found in the urine become highly concentrated. A stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract. Kidney stones vary in size. A small stone may pass on its own, causing little or no pain. A larger stone may get stuck along the urinary tract and can block the flow of urine, causing severe pain or bleeding.
Anyone can get a kidney stone, but some people are more likely to get one.
Men are affected more often than women. Overweight and obese people are more likely to get a kidney stone than people of normal weight. Kidney stones vary in size and shape. 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 and are usually yellow or brown.
Why do i have Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can form when substances in the urine—such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus—become highly concentrated.
- Too much sodium
- Too much animal protein
- Low water intake
Avoid stone-forming foods like beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, and most nuts as they are rich in oxalate which can contribute to kidney stones. If you suffer from stones, your doctor may advise you to avoid these foods or to consume them in smaller amounts.
4 major types of kidney stones
- Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone and occur in two major forms: calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. Calcium oxalate stones are more common. Calcium oxalate stone formation may be caused by high calcium and high oxalate excretion. Calcium phosphate stones are caused by the combination of high urine calcium and alkaline urine, meaning the urine has a high pH.
- Uric acid stones form when the urine is persistently acidic. A diet rich in purines—substances found in animal protein such as meats, fish, and shellfish—may increase uric acid in urine. If uric acid becomes concentrated in the urine, it can settle and form a stone by itself or along with calcium.
- Struvite stones result from kidney infections. Eliminating infected stones from the urinary tract and staying infection-free can prevent more struvite stones.
- Cystine stones result from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak through the kidneys and into the urine, forming crystals that tend to accumulate into stones.
What are the Symptoms & Disgnosis?
- Pain while urinating.
- See blood in the urine.
- Feeling a sharp pain in the back or lower abdomen where the pain may last for a short or long time.
- Experiencing nausea and vomiting with the pain.
However, people who have small stones that pass easily through the urinary tract may not have symptoms at all.
Your health care provider may perform urine, blood, and imaging tests, such as an x ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan to complete the diagnosis.
- Urinalysis. Urinalysis is testing of a urine sample. Urinalysis can show whether the person has an infection or the urine contains substances that form stones.
- Blood test. The blood test can show biochemical problems that can lead to kidney stones.
- Abdominal x ray. The x rays can show the location of stones in the kidney or urinary tract.
- CT scans. CT scans can show stone locations and conditions that may have caused the stone to form.
How can i prevent it?
Drinking enough fluids each day is the best way to help prevent most types of kidney stones.
People can help prevent kidney stones by making changes in their fluid intake. Depending on the type of kidney stone a person has, changes in the amounts of sodium, animal protein, calcium, and oxalate consumed can also help. Your health care provider may prescribe certain medications to help prevent kidney stones based on the type of stone formed or conditions that make a person more prone to form stones.