Kidney Stones
(Renal Stones)

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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 (the pain 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.
  • Diet 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 12/16/2014

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Kidney Stone Treatment

Most kidney stones eventually pass from the kidney through the ureter and bladder and finally through the urethra on their own. However, treatment is often required for pain control from kidney stones as they pass. The consumption of ample fluids helps facilitate the passage of kidney stones, but even with plentiful fluid intake, most people require some type of medications for pain control.

Picture of Kidney Stones