Symptoms/Causes

Often, kidney stones don’t cause any symptoms at all. When they do, your first symptom is usually a sharp, cramping pain in the back and side, or in the lower abdomen. This is caused by a stone’s movement into the urinary tract, where it has blocked the flow of urine.

As the stone progresses through the urinary tract, you can experience

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the groin
  • Blood in the urine
  • The need to urinate more often
  • Burning sensations during urination
  • Possible infection – characterized by accompanying chills and fever

If infection is suspected, contact your doctor IMMEDIATELY.

Causes of kidney stones

Sometimes, the real cause behind a stone may not be known. However, these are the main culprits.

  • Certain foods may promote stone formation in susceptible patients. However, scientists believe that, if you are not susceptible, a specific food causes stones.
  • Family history may determine susceptibility
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney disorders, such as cystic kidney diseases
  • Metabolic disorders, such as hyperparathyroidism, cystinuria and hyperoxaluria. These last two are rare, inherited disorders. Patients with cystinuria void too much of the amino acid cystine, which does not dissolve in urine and leads to stones. Patients with hyperoxaluria produce too much oxalate, a salt, which can also form stones.
  • Hypercalciuria causes stones in more than half of patients and occurs when too much calcium is absorbed from food then passed into the urine. It then binds with oxalate or phosphate in the urinary tract to form stones.
  • Hyperuricosuria, which is a disorder of uric acid metabolism
  • Gout
  • Excess intake of vitamin D
  • Blockage of the urinary tract
  • Certain diuretics, commonly called water pills
  • Calcium-based antacids may increase the risk of forming kidney stones by increasing the amount of calcium in the urine.
  • Chronic inflammation of the bowel
  • Intestinal bypass surgery or ostomy surgery
  • Those who take indinavir, a protease inhibitor given to HIV patients