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Urinary Stones (Kidney Stones)

Urinary Stones (Kidney Stones) - What it is

urinary stones conditions and treatments

The function of the kidneys is to filter waste chemical compounds from the body into the urine. Under certain conditions, the chemicals in the urine may form crystals, which combine to form urinary stones.

Urinary stones may block the flow of urine and cause severe pain, infection and affect the function of the kidney. Urinary stones are usually found either in the kidney, the ureters (tubes that direct urine from the kidneys to the bladder) or in the bladder and the urethra.

What is a Kidney Stone?

Kidney stones (also known as urolithiasis or renal calculi) are solid deposits that occur within the urinary system. They occur when urine becomes too concentrated with minerals, which then precipitates into multiple small mineral crystals that can eventually accumulate to form stones. These stones can lead to complications especially if they cause obstruction within the urinary tract. This might then lead to severe back pain, blood in the urine, or even severe urinary tract infections.

Types of Kidney Stones

There are several types of kidney stones, but the four most predominant include:
Calcium stones: 
  • The most common, accounting for >80% of all stones. 
  • Most are in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is found naturally in many foods, and foods with high oxalate content include peanuts, beans, leafy vegetables and chocolate. 
  • Another major group are calcium phosphate stones, which are usually associated with metabolic diseases, including hyperparathyroidism and renal tubular acidosis.
Uric acid stones: 
Accounts for ~10% of stones. These form when there are high concentrations of uric acid within the urine, which is commonly associated with gout, and can also occur when the urine is too acidic, or with a diet high in purines (red meat, organs, and seafood).

Struvite stones: 
These stones usually occur as a result of urinary tract infections with bacteria that break up urea, resulting in an alkaline urine that leads to precipitation of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate, the stone’s constituent salts.

Cysteine stones: 
Less common, and occurs in patients with cystinuria, a genetic condition that causes the kidney to excrete excessive amounts of certain amino acids that eventually crystallise into stones.

Urinary Stones (Kidney Stones) - Preparing for surgery

Urinary Stones (Kidney Stones) - Post-surgery care

Urinary Stones (Kidney Stones) - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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