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Defined as hard and small mineral deposits that develop inside your kidney, kidney stones are made up of acid salts and minerals. The causes of this disease are not well-defined, although risk factors include drinking very little amounts of water and having a diet rich in sodium, protein and oxalate (chocolate and green leafy foods for example). However, knowing the type of kidney stone you suffer from can help ascertain the cause.
Here are the common types of kidney stones.
- Struvite stones: This type of kidney stone is usually a response to certain kind of infection, such as a urinary tract infection for example. Characterised by rapid growth and a large size, struvite stones can develop without any warning signs.
- Calcium stones: These are the most common type and are caused by a diet rich in oxalate. Risk factors for calcium stones include a diet consisting of plenty of nuts, chocolates and certain fruits and vegetables; metabolic disorders, high doses of vitamin d and intestinal bypass surgery, all of which can increase the amounts of calcium or oxalate in your urine, indicating the development of kidney stones.
- Cystine stones: Those individuals with a hereditary disorder that causes their kidneys to produce certain amino acids (cystinuria to be precise) in excess are most likely to get cystine stones.
- Uric acid stones: These are common in those whose diets are lacking in water or those who suffer from the excess fluid loss. People with a high protein diet and those who suffer from gout are also at risk. Genetic factors play a major role as well in increasing your risk of getting uric acid stones.
Apart from these, there are other rarer types of kidney stones that can also arise depending on a combination of an individual's lifestyle and genetic make-up.
However, to determine whether you're suffering from any of the aforementioned types of kidney stones, you must first know its common symptoms, which are:
- Excruciating pain in your sides, and back, especially below your ribs
- Feelings of pain in the groin and the lower parts of your abdomen
- Intense and fluctuating pain that comes and goes in waves
- Pain while urinating
- Urine that is red, brown or pink in colour
- Urine that's cloudy or has a foul odour
- Vomiting and nausea
- Constant urge to urinate
- Increased frequency of urination
- Urinating in small amounts
- Chills and fever in case of an infection. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Nephrologist.
As we all are aware that waste products in the blood are passed through urine. This filtering process is done by the kidneys as it separates the waste products including minerals and salts, which have to be passed out through urine. Many times, these minerals and salts get stuck in your urinary tract and over a long period, this forms kidney stones. They can vary in size from a ping pong ball to the size of a sugar crystal. They are not noticed till the time they cause a blockage. Sometimes, they cause immense pain if they start breaking or are pushed into the ureters (narrow ducts which lead to the bladder).
Symptoms of kidney stones:
1. Immense pain in the groin, belly and back.
2. Pain while urinating and urination occurring frequently.
3. Blood found in the urine (haematuria).
4. Vomiting and nausea.
5. Feeling extremely restless and not being able to lie still.
Kidney stones can also cause a kidney infection. Signs of kidney infection include:
Kidney stones can also cause infection in the kidneys as they block the passage of urine to the bladder by blocking the ureters. This leads to build up of the waste product which can result in an infection. Some of the symptoms of kidney infections could be:
1. Feeling chilly and shivering on your skin.
3. A feeling of fatigue or weakness.
4. Immense diarrhea
5. Bad smelling and cloudy urine.
Types of Kidney stones:
1. Struvite stones: It contains ammonia and magnesium. It is usually quite large and horn- shaped.
2. Uric acid stones: Brown, smooth and softer than other kinds of kidney stones.
3. Cystine stones: They are yellow and don’t look like stones. They usually resemble crystal.
4. Calcium stones: It is composed of calcium.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones can occur due to several factors. It usually forms when urine generally contains crystal substances like uric acid, calcium and oxalate. Your urine might not be able to dilute these substances resulting in the perfect environment for the formation of kidney stones. In case you are showing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should visit you doctor immediately before the problem can worsen.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult the doctor and ask a free question.