Kidney Stone Causes

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Doctor's View on Kidney Stone Causes

Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Kidney stones develop either when there is too little urine volume or when the concentration of certain substances (known stone-forming substances) increases in the urine. Calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate are the two most common kinds of kidney stones. Kidney stones are more common in men than in women. About 12% of men and 7% of women in the US will get stones of the urinary tract at some point in life.


Dehydration, either from inadequate fluid intake or excessive sweating (such as exercising in hot weather) is a major cause of kidney stones, since this reduces the volume of urine.


Certain dietary factors are linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. People who consume high levels of animal protein, sugar, and salt are at increased risk. Taking excessive amounts of vitamin D supplements can be associated with kidney stones. Consuming too little calcium can alter the balance of calcium and oxalate in the body and may lead to the development of oxalate stones.

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