A kidney stone is a solid mass made up of tiny crystals. One or more stones can be in the kidney or ureter at the same time.

Kidney stones are common. Some types run in families. They often occur in premature infants.

There are different types of kidney stones. The cause of the problem depends on the type of stone.

Stones can form when urine contains too much of certain substances that form crystals. These crystals can develop into stones over weeks or months. 

  • Calcium stones are most common. They are most likely to occur in men between ages 20 to 30. Calcium can combine with other substances to form the stone.
  • Oxalate is the most common of these. Oxalate is present in certain foods such as spinach. It is also found in vitamin C supplements. Diseases of the small intestine increase your risk of these stones. 

Calcium stones can also form from combining with phosphate or carbonate. 

Other types of stones include:

  • Cystine stones can form in people who have cystinuria. This disorder runs in families. It affects both men and women.
  • Struvite stones are mostly found in women who have a urinary tract infection. These stones can grow very large and can block the kidney, ureter, or bladder.
  • Uric acid stones are more common in men than in women. They can occur with gout or chemotherapy.
  • Other substances such as certain medicines also can form stones. 

The following may be signs of kidney stones:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Odd smelling urine 
  • Pain in your back or side
  • An uncomfortable or burning feeling when you urinate
  • Vomiting

Small kidney stones often pass out of the body through urine. If the kidney stone causes pain as it travels through the ureter (tube that runs from a kidney to the bladder), painkillers like ibuprofen or diclofenac can provide relief. Larger kidney stones usually need to be treated. Depending on how large the kidney stones are and where they’re located, they can be destroyed or removed using procedures done at LECC.

Prevention

  • Drink a lot of water daily 
  • Avoid soft drinks
  • Eat less animal protein such as meat
  • Maintain a low-salt diet 
  • Don’t eat too much calcium-rich foods. Enough is what most need