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Kidney Stones

What is a Kidney Stone?

A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine (calcium, oxalate, phosphate) and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney. Usually, the chemicals in urine prevents the kidney stones from forming. However, sometimes the chemicals are faulty and kidney stones are produces.

Small kidney stones will pass out of the body through the urinary tract without being noticed. Larger kidney stones will not pass through the urinary tract and need to be treated by your doctor.

***Gallstones and kidney stones are not related. They are formed in different areas of the body.

What causes Kidney Stones?

The exact cause of kidney stones is unknown. However, 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 metabolic disorders such as hyperparathyroidism may also cause kidney stones.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

The first symptom of a kidney stone is extreme pain. The pain begins suddenly when the stone moves in the urinary tract. When the stone moves into the urinary tract, it causes irritation or blockage. The pain is a sharp, cramping pain in the back and side in the area of the kidney or in the lower abdomen. Sometimes nausea and vomiting occur. Pain may spread to the groin.

Who Gets Kidney Stones?

White Americans are more likely to develop kidney stones than African Americans. Kidney stones are typically found in people between the ages of 20 and 40. Once a person gets one stone, others are likely to develop.

Kidney Stone Statistics

Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. An estimated 10 percent of people in the United States will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives. Men are affected more often than women.


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