Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of mineral, calcium and acid salts. Normally, the substances that make up kidney stones are diluted in the urine. However, when urine is concentrated, minerals may crystallize, stick together and solidify, resulting in a kidney stone.

Risk Factors for Kidney Stones

Men are more likely than women to develop kidney stones, and they typically develop in individuals between the ages of 20 and 70. A family history of kidney stones may be a factor, and if you’ve already had one, you’re more likely to develop another.

Other risk factors for kidney stones include:

  • not drinking enough fluids
  • eating a high-protein, high-sodium and low-calcium diet
  • lack of physical activity
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • gastric bypass surgery
  • inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Symptoms begin to show when a kidney stone moves into the ureter, the tube connecting the kidney and the bladder. Symptoms include:

  • pain in the side and back, below the ribs and radiating to the lower abdomen and groin
  • bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • painful urination
  • nausea and vomiting
  • a persistent urge to urinate
  • fever and chills if an infection is present

Kidney Stones Diagnosis

Kidney stones that don’t cause symptoms may show up on X-rays.

Learn about treatment for kidney stones