Understanding Kidney Stones

Healthy Kidneys

Within the kidney, tiny filters remove waste substances from your blood.  You excrete these in urine.  After the "cleanup" job your kidneys perform, your blood returns to circulate through your body. 

Common Kidney Stone Causes

Fluid Loss (dehydration) can concentrate urine, causing stones to form. Certain foods contain large amounts of the chemicals that crystalize into stones. Kidney infections foster stones by slowing urine flow or the changing the acid balace of your urine.

Where Stones Form and Lodge Stones begin in the cup-shaped part of the kidney (calix).  Some stay and grow, like the staghorn.  Others move within the kidney or into the ureter.  There they can lodge, block the flow of urine, and cause pain. 


Identifying Kidney Stones

Your kidney stone's size and shape determine whether it is likely to pass by itself.  Knowing a stone's composition helps your doctor find its cause.  Then he or she can suggest the best treatment.


A stone may be as small as a grain of sand.  Or it may be as large as a golf ball.  Small stones may pass out of the body when you urinate.


Small smooth, round stones may pass easily.  Jagged-edged stones often lodge inside the kidney or ureter.  Staghorn stones can fill the entire kidney. 


Most stones are calcium oxalate, a hard compound.  Stones made of cystine or uric acid, or caused by infection, are less dense.  Stones often contain more than one chemical. 

Many stones cause sudden and severe pain, bloody urine, or fever.  Others cause nausea of frequent, burning urination.  Symptoms and treatment plans vary.  They depend on your stone's size and location.

To find out more information or to arrange a complete diagnostic assessment and discussion of treatment options available to you, call (318) 683-0411 or visit our website at www.regionalurology.com.