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 Kidney Stone Facts You Need to Know

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are hard pebbles that form inside your kidneys. Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs that filter the waste chemicals out of your blood and produce urine. Urine travels through your urinary tract to leave your body. The urine goes out of your kidneys, through your ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder; pronounced YUR-et-ers), and into your bladder. The bladder stores urine until it leaves your body when you urinate.

Kidney stones form when tiny mineral crystals in your urine stick together. Kidney stones can range in size and shape. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball, although stones that big are rare.

Image conskidstonefu1

If a kidney stone is small enough, it can move or “pass” through your urinary tract and out of your body on its own. If the stone is too large, however, it could get stuck in your kidney or ureter.

This summary only talks about calcium stones (the most common type of kidney stones).

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Symptoms of kidney stones can include:

  • Sharp pain in your lower belly (below your belly button), back, side, or groin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in your urine
  • The feeling of sand or small particles passing through when you urinate
  • Pain when you urinate

Who is at risk for getting calcium stones?

Several factors can increase your chance of getting calcium stones, including:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not getting enough calcium in your diet
    • Eating or drinking calcium-rich foods does not increase your chance of getting calcium stones. In fact, a diet too low in calcium can actually increase the risk of getting calcium stones.
  • Eating a lot of foods high in oxalate (for example, spinach, rhubarb, nuts, or wheat bran)
  • Consuming a lot of foods or drinks high in fructose (for example, soft drinks, fruits, ketchup and other condiments, and many canned or packaged foods)
  • Having family members who have had kidney stones
  • Having had kidney stones before

How common are kidney stones?

  • Out of every 100 men, around 13 will get kidney stones in their lifetime.
  • Out of every 100 women, around 7 will get kidney stones in their lifetime.
  • About 8 out of 10 people with kidney stones have calcium stones. Kidney Stone Home Remedy

Credit NIH