Kidney stones are usually formed following a build-up of certain chemicals in the body.
This build-upmay be any of the following:
Certain medical conditions can lead to an unusually high level of these substances in your urine.
You're alsomore likely to develop kidney stones if you don't drink enough fluids.
Some people are particularly likely to keepon developing kidney stones, including people who:
There's evidence to suggest that certain medications may increase your risk of developing recurrent kidney stones. These include:
Kidney stones can develop for a number of reasons. The causes of the four main types of kidney stone are outlined below.
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone and form if there's too much calcium in the urine, which can be due to:
Calcium stones are usually either large and smooth or spiky and rough.
Struvite stones are often caused by infections, and they most commonly occur after a urinary tract infection that's lasted a long time.
Struvite stones are more common in women than men.
Uric acid stones can form if there's a large amount of acid in your urine. They may be caused by:
Cystine stones are the rarest type of kidney stone. They're caused by an inherited condition called cystinuria, which affects the amount of acid that is passed in your urine.
Symptoms of kidney stones include localized pain depending on the positioning of the stone, pain during urination, cloudy urine, odd-smelling urine, etc.
Methods to diagnose kidney stones are: abdominal ultra sound, blood tests to check for excess uric acid or calcium, CT-scan or X-ray, pyelography.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually used to treat and alleviate the pain, and in cases of severe pain, tramadol may be used. In the case of infection, antibiotics may be used.
Kidney stones can develop in one or both kidneys and most often affect people aged 30 to 60. They're quite common, with around three in 20 men and up to two in 20 women developing them at some stage of their lives.
Read about the symptoms of kidney stones, which usually only occur if a stone gets stuck in your kidney, if it starts to travel down the ureter, or if it causes an infection.
Find out what causes kidney stones. They're usually the result of a build-up of a substance such as calcium, ammonia or uric acid in the body.
Find out how kidney stones are diagnosed. Imaging tests, such as a computerised tomography (CT) scan, can be used to help confirm the diagnosis or locate a kidney stone.
Find out how kidney stones are treated. The treatment you'll need will depend on the size and type of kidney stone you have.
The best way of preventing kidney stones is to make sure you drink plenty of water each day to avoid becoming dehydrated.