A kidney stone is a hard mineral deposit that forms inside the kidney. They may affect any part of the urinary tract. They can cause blood in the urine (pink, red or brown urine), and result in severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin, which often comes and goes in waves.
The Kidneys and Urinary System
The kidneys are responsible for regulating your body’s fluids and mineral (salt) levels. Their main function is to clean waste from the blood and remove it via the urine.
What Are Kidney Stones Made Out Of?
Kidney stones come in all shapes and sizes. How they are treated and prevented will depend on what type of kidney stones that you have.
The different types of kidney stones include:
- Calcium stones – most common, made of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate
- Uric acid stones – can be associated with gout and loss of fluid
- Struvite stones – form in response to infection, such as a UTI
- Cystine stones – associated with a hereditary disorder called cystinuria
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones often don’t cause any symptoms and can be undiagnosed for many years, especially when they are small. Most kidney stones will pass the urinary tract on their own within 48 hours with ample fluid intake.
Common Symptoms of Kidney Stones
- Sharp cramping pains in the back and the side that moves to the lower abdomen and groin
- An intense feeling of needing to urinate
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain or burning during urination
- Cloudy or smelly urine
What Causes Kidney Stones
There is often no definite, single cause, but many factors may increase your risk of developing kidney stones. They include:
- Dehydration – not drinking enough water, living in a hot climate
- Family or personal history
- Certain diets — diets high in protein, sodium (salt) and sugar
- Obesity – high BMI (body mass index), large waist size and weight gain
- Some medical conditions – renal tubular acidosis, cysteinuria, hyperparahyroidism, some urinary tract infections