What are some causes of kidney stones?


Quick Answer

Kidney stones occur when urine has a high level of crystal-forming substances that is more than the fluid in urine can dilute out or when urine lacks substances to prevent crystals from sticking together, according to Mayo Clinic. There are multiple types of kidney stones, each forming under different circumstances.

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Full Answer

Mayo Clinic lists four main types of kidney stones, though other rarer types may occur. Most kidney stones are calcium stones that are formed after a high intake of calcium oxalate, a naturally occurring substance found in high levels in some fruits and vegetables and in nuts and chocolate. Other factors such as high vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery or metabolic disorders can also increase calcium oxalate levels in urine, increasing the chance for kidney stones.

Struvite stones form after an infection, and though they often show no initial symptoms, they grow quickly and become rather large, Mayo Clinic explains. Uric acid stones form from drinking insufficient fluids, from having a high-protein diet or as a complication of gout.

Cystine stones form from a hereditary disorder, causing the kidneys to excrete too many amino acids, advises Mayo Clinic. Factors such as family history, constant dehydration, obesity and certain diets can increase the risk for kidney stones. While some smaller stones can be treated just by lifestyle changes, others may require surgery.

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