What are the different types of kidney stones? Kidney stones are quite common and can occur at any age, even in infants. They may run in the family or can occur spontaneously, although most types of kidney stones take weeks or even months to slowly build up. Symptoms of kidney stones may include; pain in the lower back or abdomen, restlessness, nausea, blood in urine, cloudy/smelly urine, frequent urination, painful urination and sometimes even a fever. Some types of kidney stones present no symptoms or discomfort at all. The exact cause of kidney stones all depends on the types of kidney stones, and there are four main types of kidney stones.
Calcium kidney stones are the most common and make up 80 percent out of all types kidney stones. These stones form when calcium combines with other substances such as oxalate, phosphate or carbonate which are all present in the body. Most often its oxalate and calcium combined that form a kidney stone. The prevention of these stones is the increase fluids by drinking more water and cutting the intake of oxalate in your diet. Oxalate is typically found in food groups such as nuts, seeds and grains but is also very high in spinach. There is 750 mg of oxalate in a 100 gram serving of spinach.
Cystine stones can form in people who have cystinuria which is a genetic condition caused by having too many amino acids in someones urine. People suffering from cystinuria cannot dissolve the cystine and then it builds up and forms crystals or stones in the kidneys, bladder or urinary tract. Cystine stones can be dissolved with medication or if the stones are too large and are causing an obstruction then they will have to be admitted to the hospital for pain management and to have the stones surgically removed. In a person who doesn’t have this condition, the cystine normally dissolves back into the blood stream.
Struvite stones are types of kidney stones that can be abnormally large and block waste from leaving the kidneys or the bladder. Struvite which precipitates alkaline in urine form stones or cyrstals and are normally caused by infections and are most often found in woman. Approximately 10-15 percent ofall types of kidney stones are struvite stones. Struvite is occasionally found in canned seafood and has the appearance of small glass slivers. These stones are also common in cats and dogs as well as humans.
Uric acid stones make up about 5-10 percent of all kidney stones and are more common in males. Uric acid is a waste product of the body but instead of being expelled it hardens due to infections, gout or even chemotherapy. Uric acid stones are a common cause of radiolucent kidney stones in children and are caused by a significant amount of urate in the renal pelvis.
If a kidney stone affects the kidneys directly its referred to as nephrolithiasis, if a stone is in the ureter it is called ureterolithiasis, and if the stone has made its way to the bladder it is called cystolithiasis. Stone sizes range anywhere from 1mm to over a centimetre. If the kidney stone is smaller than 5mm it should pass normally 90 percent of the time. But if a stone is anywhere over 1cm it has less than a 10 percent chance of passing without surgical intervention.