Kidney Stones
(Renal Stones)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Kidney stone facts

  • A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract.
  • Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for kidney stones.
  • Symptoms of a kidney stone include flank pain (which can be quite severe) and blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine.
  • Dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation.
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as gout, and those who take certain medications or supplements are at risk for kidney stones.
  • Dietary and hereditary factors are also related to stone formation.
  • Diagnosis of kidney stones is best accomplished using an ultrasound, IVP, or a CT scan.
  • Most kidney stones will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own with time.
  • Treatment includes pain-control medications and, in some cases, medications to facilitate the passage of urine.
  • If needed, lithotripsy or surgical techniques may be used for stones which do not pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own.

What is a kidney stone?

A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine (hematuria) and often severe pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Kidney stones are sometimes called renal calculi.

The condition of having kidney stones is termed nephrolithiasis. Having stones at any location in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and the term ureterolithiasis is used to refer to stones located in the ureters.

Pictures of Kidney and Kidney Stone
Pictures of kidney and kidney stone
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Kidney Stones - Causes Question: Did your doctor indicate what he or she thought caused your kidney stones?
Kidney Stones - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms and signs of your kidney stone?
Kidney Stones - Treatment Question: How were your kidney stones treated?
Kidney Stones - Prevention Question: What prevention measures do you use to avoid getting a kidney stone?

6 Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small, crystalline masses that develop within the kidneys and travel out of the body via the urethra. Passing kidney stones can be very painful. Some kidney stones pass without intervention; others require medical treatment.

Picture of Kidney Stones