Kidney stones are crystals of different sizes and shapes that develop in the kidneys and are often extremely painful. The stones may block urine flow and can, in severe instances, result in renal failure. The most common type of kidney stone forms when calcium and oxalate clump together in concentrated urine. A less common type, composed of uric acid, is more common in men than in women. Often, the stones are small enough to pass unnoticed through the ureter, the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. Occasionally, larger stones can become lodged and require treatment.
Kidney stones often present as a persistent ache on one side of the lower back. The pain can radiate around the side of the pelvis and down toward the groin. The lodged stone can block urine, which puts pressure on the ureter walls. Potentially extreme discomfort can last from minutes to several days and may require treatment.
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