Kidney Stones

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones form within the urine collecting system of the kidney (calyces and renal pelvis).  If they pass into the ureter (tube connecting the kidney to the bladder) then can block the outflow of the kidney and cause a back of urine (hydronephrosis). This obstruction and pressure usually cause pain. The stones may pass from the ureter into the bladder where they are usually passed in the urine.

Kidney stones are very common and the lifetime risk of developing a kidney stone is up to 10%. Men are more commonly affected than women.

There are several kinds of kidney stones:

What causes kidney stones to form?

Kidney stones usually form in concentrated urine (darker colour) because there is an excess of certain chemical elements/minerals in the urine compared to the volume of urine. The urine becomes supersaturated (overloaded) with these compounds that can form stones, and they bind together to create solid crystals, which grow into stones.

Thus, the most common cause is dehydration.

Other conditions which can predispose to formation of kidney stones include:

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

How are kidney stones diagnosed?

How are kidney stones treated?

This depends on:

How are stones in the kidney treated?

How are stones in the ureter treated?

These usually produce severe pain (renal colic) and more urgent treatment may be required.

The best pain regimen for this type of pain includes (in order of preference):

How can I prevent kidney stones in the future?