Health Blogs

Kidney Stones – What causes them?

Kidney stone is one of the common and oldest problems of the urinary tract. About 35 in every 100 people get a stone at some point in their life. The incidences of renal stones among Indian population are rising due to change in dietary habits, changes in lifestyle.

Race, gender and ethnicity play a role in who may get kidney stones. Men get kidney stones more often than women. However, recent studies show that women getting renal stones are rising. Children getting kidney stones has also become more common in recent years.

People tend to get stones in their mid life. During midlife, family and work commitments are at their highest which make the treatment for kidney stone costly. The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of kidney stone, as well as lost time from work because of stones, cost huge amount of money per year.

Imaging tests to diagnose stones and endourology procedure to treat stones are improving. Changing your diet and using medication can be good ways to prevent stones from forming.

Causes of Kidney Stones

What are the symptoms of Kidney Stones?

  • A sharp, cramping pain in back and side, often moving to lower abdomen. The pain often starts suddenly and comes in waves.
  • A feeling of intense need to urinate
  • Urine that is dark or red due to blood
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Men may feel pain at the tip of their penis

What are kidney stone made of?

How you treat them and stop new stones from forming depends on what type of stone you have

  • Calcium stones (80% of stones)
  • Uric acid stones (5-10% of stones)
  • Infection stones (10% of stones)
  • Cystine stones (<1% of stones)

What causes kidney stones?

  • Low urine volume
    • Increasing fluid intake to about 3 liters may reduce your risk of stones
  • Diet
    • High protein intake increases stone risks
    • High salt intake increases stone risks
  • Lowering the calcium in your diet rarely stops stones from forming. Various studies have shown that restricting dietary calcium can be bad for bone health and may increase kidney stones risk but calcium intake should not be too high.
  • Bowel conditions – Certain bowel conditions that cause diarrhea (such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis) or surgeries (gastric bypass) can increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate kidney stone.
  • Obesity – Obesity is a risk factor for stones
  • Medical conditions –
    • Dysfunction of parathyroid gland.
    • Renal tubular acidosis cystinuria
    • Primary hyperoxaluria
  • Medication – Some medication and calcium and vitamin c supplement may increase your risk of forming stones

Family History – The chance of having kidney stones is much higher if you have a family history of stones, such as parent or sibling.