What Causes Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts in the kidneys. They can actually deposit in any part of the urinary tract and can be a cause of urinary retention. Bacteria can also begin to grow around the areas of deposit leading to urinary tract infections. [1]

They are formed when the urine becomes concentrated with crystal-forming substances like calcium, oxalate, or uric acid.

Kidney stones may not cause any issues until they attempt to move from the area where they were formed resulting in a block of urine flow through the ureter, causing spasm and severe pain. [2]

Common Symptoms

Kidney stones can cause the following symptoms;

  • Sharp, severe pain in the side, the back, and below the ribs.
  • Pain while urinating.
  • Burning sensation while urinating.
  • Pain radiating to the groin and lower abdomen.
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
  • A frequent urge to urinate that is more than the usual.
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.

Pain is the most significant symptom experienced with kidney stones and it might shift to a different location or increase in intensity depending on the location and movement of the kidney stone.

There are about four major types of kidney stones; most times, the cause of a kidney stone can be determined once we know the type of kidney stone it is.

  • Calcium Stones: They may occur in form of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate.
  • Struvite Stones: They are known to grow large quickly and usually form as a result of a urinary tract infection.
  • Uric Acid Stones: These are usually seen in people with gout. It can also form in people who eat a high protein diet or people with some metabolic disorders.
  • Cystine Stones: Cystine stones are rare. They are found in people who suffer from a hereditary disorder called Cystinuria.