A kidney stone, which is also called renal calculus, is a stone-like deposit that is formed due to the crystallization of salts and minerals in urine. This write-up provides information about different types of kidney stones.
Kidneys are bean-shaped organs, located just below the rib cage, towards the back in the upper part of a person’s abdomen. They perform the important function of filtering out the toxins and waste materials from our blood. They also help in controlling the electrolyte levels for effective functioning of the body. The formation of renal calculi is one of the most common urological disorders that can adversely affect the functioning of the kidneys. Renal calculi, which are commonly referred to as kidney stones, form due to the crystallization of salts and minerals in the urine. A large stone can cause excruciating pain, if it gets lodged in the ureter.
These are hard, stone-like deposits that form when the minerals and salts that are present in the urine get crystallized. Urine contains certain inhibitors that prevent the formation of such crystals, problems arise when urine contains large amounts of these minerals. These might also form due to low levels of magnesium, citrates, and pyrophosphates in the urine.
When these stones are small in size, these can be flushed out of the body through the urinary tract, but when these stones become large, these might cause severe pain as they move through the ureter. Those who are affected by medical conditions such as gout, cystinuria, hypercalciuria, hyperoxaluria, renal tubular acidosis, and diabetes are at an increased risk of developing this condition. Inadequate intake of water and consumption of certain food items might also make you vulnerable. The presence of kidney stones often gives rise to symptoms such as abdominal pain, pain during urination, back pain, frequent urge to urinate, or blood in urine.
Types of Renal Calculi
These crystallized deposits are formed due to the presence of minerals and salts such as calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, or struvite in the urine. There are four types of kidney stones. These stones contain calcium, struvite, cystine, and uric acid.
➞ One of the most common types of renal calculi are those formed due to the presence of high levels of calcium in urine. Calcium is essential for healthy bones, but once the bones and muscles use the calcium, the rest of it goes into the kidneys. Though it might be passed out by way of urine, sometimes, the kidneys are unable to flush it out and it may form crystals. Following a diet that is rich in calcium or oxalate, high vitamin D levels, several metabolic disorders, etc., could make one susceptible. Renal calculi containing calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate are common in men.
➞ These stones could occur with kidney or urinary tract infections. Women affected by UTIs are at a risk of developing struvite stones. Such stone-like deposits form due to the presence of magnesium and ammonia.
➞ People with a low urine output, or those affected by gout or inflammatory bowel disease, are likely to have elevated uric acid levels. Such individuals are more likely to develop uric acid stones. These could form in case of people who follow a diet that is rich in animal proteins.
➞ Sometimes, excessive production of cystine in the urine can also give rise to formation of renal calculi. A rare genetic condition called cystinuria is responsible for the formation of such stones.
If the stone is not too big, natural remedies might help, otherwise the stone might have to be removed to alleviate the symptoms. Increasing one’s intake of fluids and following a balanced diet can certainly help prevent the formation kidney stones in future.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.