Kidney Stones Causes
- Heredity: Some people are more susceptible to forming kidney stones, and
heredity certainly plays a role. The majority of kidney stones are made of
calcium, and hypercalciuria (high levels of calcium in the urine), is a
risk factor. The predisposition to high levels of calcium in the urine may
be passed on from generation to generation. Some rare hereditary diseases
also predisposecystine (an amino acid), oxalate, (a type of salt), and
uric acid (as in gout).
Some people to form kidney stones. Examples include people with renal tubular acidosis and people with problems metabolizing a variety of chemicals including
- Geographical location: There is also a geographic predisposition in some people who form kidney stones. There are regional "stone belts," with people living in the Southern United States, having an increased risk. This is likely because of the hot climate, since these people can get dehydrated, and their urine becomes more concentrated, allowing chemicals to come in closer contact and begin forming the nidus of a stone.
- Diet: Diet may or may not be an issue. If a person is susceptible to forming stones, then foods high in calcium may increase the risk, however if a person isn't susceptible to forming stones, nothing in the diet will change that risk.
- OTC products: People taking diuretics (or "water pills") and those who consume excess calcium-containing antacids can increase the amount of calcium in their urine and increase their risk of forming stones. Patients with HIV who take the medication indinavir (Crixivan) can form indinavir stones.
Kidney Stones Symptoms
- Renal colic (renal is the medical term for things related to the kidney) has a classic presentation when a kidney stone is being passed.
- The pain is intense and comes on suddenly.
- It is usually located in the flank or the side of the mid back and radiates to the groin. Those affected cannot find a comfortable position, and many writhe in pain.
- This is opposed to non-colicky type pain, like appendicitis or pancreatitis, where movement causes increased pain and affected persons hold very still.
- Sweating, nausea and vomiting are common.
- Blood may be visible in the urine because the stone has irritated the ureter. Blood in the urine, however, does not always mean a person has a kidney stone. There may be other reasons for the blood, including kidney and bladder infections, trauma, or tumors. Urinalysis with a microscope may detect blood even if it is not appreciated by the naked eye. Sometimes, if the stone causes complete obstruction, there may be no blood in the urine because it cannot get past the stone.