Kidney Stones: Types, Causes, and Symptoms [Video]

  • Kidney stones are hardened mineral deposits that accumulate in the kidneys.
  • There are different types, causes, and symptoms of kidney stones.
  • Several risk factors can increase your chances of getting kidney stones, and having kidney stones can bring about many complications.

Kidney stones appear when there is a high level of minerals and salt in the urine. It can vary in size and those who have it experience different severity of symptoms.

Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are classified into four main types.

  • Calcium stones are either calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. They are the most usual type of kidney stones, accounting for 80% of all cases.
  • Uric acid stones form due to the excessive level of acid in the urine.
  • Struvite stones arise from too much alkaline in the urine.
  • Cystine stones are kidney stones containing cystine.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

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Pain is usually the first clue that you may have kidney stones.

Pain and pressure in the side and lower back

Kidney stones can cause blockage in the ureter, causing the urine to go back up in the kidney. This blockage can cause pain and pressure on the side and lower back. Sharp and stabbing pain felt can also lead to nausea and vomiting.

Discomfort and pain when urinating

When you have kidney stones, you will experience pain and discomfort during urination. You may also have the urge to urinate often, and your urine may have a foul smell or an unusual or bloody color. These are also symptoms of having a urinary tract infection, so a test is also needed to confirm if it is UTI or kidney stones.

Pain or discomfort in the stomach

Kidney stones can also affect the gastrointestinal tract. You may feel pain or discomfort in your stomach, which may lead to nausea and vomiting.

Risk factors

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Everyone can have kidney stones, and several factors increase your chances of developing kidney stones. The American Urological Association lists having low urine levels as among the most critical risk factor. If you are not adequately hydrated, the salt becomes concentrated and forms into stones.

The other risk factors include:

  • Male gender
  • Non-Hispanic descent
  • Family history
  • Animal protein-high diet
  • Excessive intake of vitamin C and calcium
  • Being on diuretics and antacids
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • Parathyroid gland abnormality
  • Gout
  • Malpositioned or misshapen kidneys
  • Cystic kidney diseases

Complications of Kidney Stones

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Small kidney stones may be excreted from the urinary tract and out of the body naturally. However, large kidney stones stuck in the urinary tract and left untreated can lead to many complications, such as:

  • Infections
  • Narrower or blocked ureter
  • Accumulation of urine
  • Other kidney diseases

Diagnosing Kidney Stones

If you experience pain in the back, abdomen, or when urinating, it is advisable to consult a physician. Also, if you experience UTI-associated symptoms, it is better to visit your doctor to rule out if it is kidney stones or UTI. A urinalysis may be performed to test for infections or the presence of blood in the urine. Doctors may also run tests like imaging tests, ultrasound, or CT scan to determine the kidney stones’ size and location.

Source: Medical News Today

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