Kidney stone facts
- A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract.
- Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for kidney stones.
- One in every 20 people develop kidney stones at some point in their life.
- Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine.
- Dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation.
- Symptoms of a kidney stone include flank pain (the pain can be quite severe) and blood in the urine (hematuria).
- People with certain medical conditions, such as gout, and those who take certain medications or supplements are at risk for kidney stones.
- Diet and hereditary factors are also related to stone formation.
- Diagnosis of kidney stones is best accomplished using anultrasound, intravenous pyleography (IVP), or a CT scan.
- Most kidney stones will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own with time.
- Treatment includes pain-control medications and, in some cases, medications to facilitate the passage of urine.
- If needed, lithotripsy or surgical techniques may be used for stones which do not pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own.
What is a kidney stone?
A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine (hematuria) and often severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Kidney stones are sometimes called renal calculi.
The condition of having kidney stones is termed nephrolithiasis. Having stones at any location in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and the term ureterolithiasis is used to refer to stones located in the ureters.
Who is at risk for kidney stones?
Anyone may develop a kidney stone, but people with certain diseases and conditions (see below) or those who are taking certain medications are more susceptible to their development. Urinary tract stones are more common in men than in women. Most urinary stones develop in people 20 to 49 years of age, and those who are prone to multiple attacks of kidney stones usually develop their first stones during the second or third decade of life. People who have already had more than one kidney stone are prone to developing further stones.