Have you ever felt severe pain in your stomach or on one side of your back? You may be experiencing kidney stones, which are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. Kidney stones start small and often do not cause any issues at first. However, some stones may grow larger in size and cause great kidney stone pain.
But what exactly are kidney stones and how do they develop? Let’s dive into everything you need to know about kidney stones.
What is a Kidney Stone?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, “a kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemicals in the urine.” There are four main types of kidney stones, including:
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones. Calcium stones are made of oxalate, a substance found in beans, berries, dark green vegetables, coffee, etc. Having too much oxalate or too little urine can cause the oxalate to form into hard stone.
Uric Acid Stones
In some instances, kidney stones are made out of uric acid, which is a waste product found in the blood. Uric acid is created from the breakdown of substances called purines. Certain foods that are high in purines can increase the level of uric acid. These foods include:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Certain fish and shellfish, including sardines, herring, mussels, scallops and more
- Certain meats, such as bacon, veal, venison, and turkey
Struvite stones are caused by infections in the upper urinary tract. These types of kidney stones can be serious since they are often large stones and occur with an infection.
Cystine stones are the least common type of kidney stones. They are caused by a rare disorder called “cystinuria,” which is a disorder that causes a natural substance, cystine, to leak into the urine. Too much cystine in the urine can cause kidney stones to form.
Why Do Kidney Stones Form?
There are several reasons why a kidney stone may form. The most common and major risk factor for kidney stones is constant low urine volume. Low urine volume often is the result of dehydration. Other causes of kidney stones include:
- Kidney infections
- Family history
- Certain medical conditions
- Certain supplements and medications
Kidney stones can start as a dull ache but can quickly escalate to severe cramping or sharp, wincing pain. At Summit Medical Clinic, we provide consultation and ongoing care for the prevention and treatment of kidney-related diseases. If you are experiencing pain due to kidney stones, schedule an appointment by calling (719) 630-1006 or visiting our website.