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Types of Kidney Stones That Can Affect You

Story at-a-glance

  • Identifying the type of kidney stone is helpful in discovering the cause of the condition, and knowing the best diet and treatments for recovery
  • Know the different types of kidney stones that you should watch out for so you can prevent them

Identifying the type of kidney stone is helpful in discovering the cause of the condition, and knowing the best diet and treatments for recovery.1 Here are the four types of kidney stones that you should watch out for.

Calcium Stones

These kidney stones, which are made from calcium and oxalate,2 are the most common, responsible for 80 percent of kidney stones.3 Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance in nuts, chocolate and fruits and vegetables, although the liver produces this, too.

High oxalate concentration in urine is a precursor for calcium stone development. People can have elevated oxalate levels because of dietary factors, high vitamin D doses, metabolic disorders and having undergone intestinal bypass surgery. 4

These calcium stones can also be composed of substances like calcium and phosphate, calcium and maleate or a combination of calcium, oxalate and phosphate.5,6

Uric Acid Stones

Uric acid kidney stones form when the urine is too acidic.7 Uric acid is a chemical that’s created when the body breaks down foods that contain an organic compound called purine.8 Examples of purine-rich foods include shellfish, fish and other meats.9

Uric acid stones account for almost 10 percent of kidney stones.10 People who don’t drink enough fluids, lose too much fluid, eat a protein- and purine-rich diet, are diagnosed with gout or undergo chemotherapy11 have an increased risk for uric acid stones.

Men are more prone to develop uric acid stones compared to women12 and, for some people, certain genetic factors may predispose them to these stones.13

Struvite Stones

Struvite stones develop in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract or kidney infection,14 wherein bacteria prompts ammonia build-up in the urine.15 Struvite stones are made of magnesium ammonium phosphate, and cause 30 percent of all kidney stones worldwide.16

Close examination might be required for struvite stones, since they tend to quickly grow and become large, occur with few indicators or little warning and may even block the kidney, ureter or bladder.17

Cystine Stones

A rare type of kidney stone, cystine stones occur among men and women with cystinuria,18 a hereditary condition wherein the kidneys excrete too much of certain amino acids. These stones are composed of cystine, a naturally occurring chemical in the body.19

Cystine stones have the tendency to grow rapidly and recur, and may even lead to kidney failure if not treated swiftly.20 These stones account for 1 percent of adult kidney stone cases and 8 percent of kidney stone cases in children.21

MORE ABOUT KIDNEY STONES

Kidney Stones: Introduction

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stones Types

Kidney Stones Causes

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Kidney Stones Prevention

Kidney Stones Duration

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Surgery

Kidney Stones Diet

Kidney Stones FAQ

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Sources and References

  • 1, 4 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Kidney Stones Causes,” Mayo Clinic, February 26, 2015
  • 2 Pendick, “5 Steps for Preventing Kidney Stones,” Harvard Health Publications, August 23, 2016
  • 3, 10, 16, 20, 21 Simon and Zieve, “Kidney Stones,” University of Maryland Medical Center, August 27, 2012
  • 5, 11, 12, 14, 18 The Healthline Editorial Team and Kim, “Types of Kidney Stones,” Healthline, September 26, 2015
  • 6 “Know Your Stones...Protect Your Kidneys (cont.),” MedicineNet
  • 7 “Types of Kidney Stones,” American Kidney Fund
  • 8, 9, 13, 15, 19 Gabbey, Nall and Kim, “Uric Acid and the Uric Acid Blood Test,” Healthline, October 19, 2015
  • 17 Sobol, Zieve, Ogilvie and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team, “Kidney Stones,” MedlinePlus, August 31, 2015
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