Different Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form in your kidneys. They’re a common urologic problem and in the United States, with 11% of men and 6% of women experiencing kidney stones at least once in their lives.

Kidney stones vary in shape, size, and makeup, but they often have one thing in common: They’re extremely painful. Treatment and prevention might depend on the type of kidney stones you have, so now’s the time to learn more about the different types and why they form.

No matter what type of kidney stones you have, our team at Advanced Urology, with offices in Los Angeles, San Pedro, Culver City, and Redondo Beach, California, can help you find relief. We treat existing kidney stones with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy and surgery, and we offer medication to help prevent them in the future.

Calcium kidney stones

Calcium is an essential mineral. Calcium kidney stones, including calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones, are some of the most common types. High calcium content in your urine could increase your risk of calcium kidney stones, but consuming a diet that’s high in calcium may actually help prevent them from forming.

Calcium oxalate kidney stones

Oxalate is a molecule that’s produced by your liver and is naturally found in many foods. Calcium oxalate kidney stones can form if your urine has high calcium, high oxalate, high uric acid, and low citrate levels.

If you have a history of getting calcium oxalate stones, eating a diet that’s low in oxalate-rich foods could reduce your risk of future stones. Our team may recommend avoiding foods like potatoes, spinach, nuts, and chocolate.

Calcium phosphate kidney stones

Calcium phosphate stones are most common in people with metabolic conditions. Renal tubular acidosis, certain medications, and urinary system problems may also make these kidney stones more likely.

Since both calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones are linked to high calcium levels, these two types of kidney stones can occur together.

Struvite kidney stones

Struvite kidney stones often accompany infection. If you have a kidney infection or a urinary tract infection (UTI), you could be at risk for a struvite stone. 

While they may not trigger symptoms at first, struvite stones can grow very quickly. It’s important to seek treatment for this type of kidney stone because they can get so big that they fill your kidney, cause severe UTI, or lead to loss of kidney function.

Uric acid kidney stones

Uric acid kidney stones can form when uric acid levels in your urine are too high. A family history of uric acid stones and certain medical conditions, like diabetes, gout, or chemotherapy treatment, could increase your risk of these stones.

Uric acid stones can also be caused by diets high in animal proteins and not drinking enough water. Meat, fish, and other animal proteins are high in purine, a substance that elevates uric acid.

Cystine kidney stones

Cystine is an amino acid that’s found in kidneys. If you have a genetic disorder called cystinuria, cystine can leak into your urine and cause cystine kidney stones. This is the rarest type of kidney stone, and stones may form in your kidneys, bladder, or ureters.

Whether you have a kidney stone now or you want to prevent them from forming in the future, find comprehensive care at Advanced Urology. Schedule a consultation online, call us, or send our team a message to get started.

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