Kidneys are a very important organ of the body. They filter impurities from the blood and eliminate wastes in the form of urine. Urine is eliminated through ureters, which is a narrow tube that drains toxic waste from the kidney on to the bladder. As the urine fills up in the bladder, one feels the urge to urinate. The urine gets emptied through urethra, which is a wider tube compared to ureter. Kidneys also regulate the electrolyte levels in the body for proper functioning of the body organs.
Kidney stones are a common disorder that normally affects middle aged people. Kidney stones are more common in men than in women.
What are kidney stones?
Stones form in the kidney, because of crystallization of some minerals or chemicals like calcium or uric acid which do not get discharged in the urine. Gradually the deposits grow larger and become a cause of concern. If the stones are larger than 2-3mm in size, they can get blocked in ureter. This blocks the urine flow and causes serious problems. When the stone is not small enough to pass through the ureter, it blocks the tube. In the absence of proper discharge of waste, it causes complications and pain in the area.
If the stones form in urinary tract, it is called urolithiasis, if the stones form in the kidneys, it is called nephrolithiasis and if the stones form in ureter, it is called ureterolithiasis.
Types of kidney stones
There are four types of kidney stones:
Calcium oxalate kidney stones: They are usually formed by the waste deposits of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate that doesn’t get dissolved. They have a coating of altered blood and have hard , rough and spiky appearance.
Uric acid kidney stones: They are formed due to high uric acid content in the urine. Excessive intake of foods rich in animal protein may cause the high uric acid content the urine. The urine may be constantly acidic and this leads to uric acid stones. They are brown in color and have a laminated appearance.
Phosphate stones: They mingle with oxalate and they are soft and chalky in appearance.
Struvite stones: They occur due to infections in the kidney.
Causes and Symptoms of Kidney Stones
|Symptoms of Kidney Stones|
|Causes of Kidney Stones|
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