Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

In general, kidney stones are solid masses formed by crystals within the kidney or the ureter, the muscular tube that pushes urine from the kidney into the bladder. Kidney stones are a relatively common ailment that can cause intense pain or discomfort.

Most kidney stones form from excess amounts of certain chemicals within the kidneys. It usually takes a few weeks to several months for a stone to fully form. Types of kidney stones include:

  • Calcium stones - these are the most common type of kidney stone, typically occurring in men between the ages of 20 and 30. Calcium can combine with a number of commonly ingested chemicals to form a stone.
  • Cystine stones - these stones form when people have the genetic condition called cystinuria. The condition affects amino acids within the kidneys leading to stone formation.
    Struvite stones - these stones are common in women with urinary tract infections. They have the tendency to outgrow other types of stones and can lead to urinary blockages.
  • Uric stones - these stones form when uric acid in the blood enters the kidney and crystallizes. Uric acid levels tend to be high in patients with gout, or patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Other stones - these stones form from other substances, including the HIV medications acyclovir and indinavir, as well as triamterene, a diuretic.

The main symptom of a kidney stone is sudden severe pain that often disappears just as quickly as it began. This pain may be focused in the back or the stomach area, before moving to the groin or the testicles.

Other symptoms of kidney stones can include:

  • Bloody or abnormally colored urine
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

The risk factors for kidney stones include:

  • Family history of kidney stones
  • Not drinking enough fluid – stones are more likely to occur in people who produce less than 1 liter(or a bit more than a quart) or urine per day
  • Being an adult male
  • Having a diet high in protein, sodium and/or sugar
  • Obesity, or having undergone gastric bypass surgery
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea

Learn more about kidney stone treatment at Temple.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).