Kidney Stones 101

Anyone can get a kidney stone, but some people are more likely than others to have them. Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. There are several kinds of kidney stones, with many causes, that can affect your urinary tract from kidneys to bladder.

Factors that may produce kidney stones include:

  • Dehydration; abnormal urinary chemical levels; and urinary tract infections.
  • Medical conditions (e.g., obesity, hyperparathyroidism, and when the kidneys fail to properly acidify the urine).
  • A buildup of calcium oxalate due to diet, metabolic disorders, excess vitamin D or intestinal bypass surgery.
  • A diet high in protein, sugar and/or sodium.

Passing a kidney stone often causes pain in the lower abdomen and groin as it moves through your urinary tract. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience severe pain with fever or bloody urine. Treatment often involves medication and staying hydrated. Surgery is sometimes required if stones become lodged in the urinary tract.

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