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What causes kidney stones to develop?

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Quick Answer

Kidney stones form when the concentration of minerals, salts, and other substances found in urine increases due to a decrease in water, explains WebMD. Not drinking enough water is the most common cause of kidney stones.

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What causes kidney stones to develop?
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Full Answer

Most kidney stones are formed from calcium deposits and can occur in patients who suffer from disorders that cause calcium levels to be high, notes WebMD. Kidney stones may also form due to an increase of uric acid in the blood stream, a condition normally associated with gout. Another type of kidney stone, known as struvite stones, often occur due to an infection. These types of stones can be dangerous because they often grow larger than other stones and are accompanied with an illness, such as a urinary tract infection. An uncommon type of stone, called cystine stones is caused by a genetic condition where the urine has a high concentration of cystines.

Treatment for kidney stones is typically non-invasive, explains Mayo Clinic. Most small stones can be passed through the urinary tract by drinking 2 to 3 quarts of water and using over-the-counter pain relievers to manage any discomfort. A physician may also prescribe stronger pain medications along with medication to help the stone pass. Other larger stones may need specialized treatments to break up the stone or remove it through surgery.

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