Kidney Stones

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Other names: Renal stones, Renal calculi, Renal lithiasis, Nephrolitiasis


Kidney stones are one of the most common diseases of the urinary tract, which affect millions of people. Some don’t even know they have it.

Kidney stones are small hard substances that develop from mineral salts and other waste products in the urine. Normally, these substances that make up kidney stones are dissolved in the urine. There are also other chemicals in the urine that inhibit or prevent the formation of stones, however, it does not work for everyone. When urine becomes too concentrated with salts and other substances, they form crystals. These crystals can stick together to form a kidney stone.

Often, kidney stones do not cause any symptoms. However, when these stones travel through the narrow passages of the urinary tract, they can cause excruciating pain. The pain is usually felt at the back and side, which may spread to the lower abdomen and groin.

Though one of the most common and most painful disorder of the urinary tract, it does not cause permanent damage since it can be easily managed. Most kidney stones pass out of the body and may not need any special treatment. However, it is still important to determine the cause and type of stone you have. This will help your doctor determine the optimal treatment program and possible dietary changes to prevent recurrent formation.

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This Page Last Revised: January 2009

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