Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) form inside the kidney when urine becomes concentrated allowing the salts and minerals to bind together to form a stone. The stones develop in the kidney but can move into the bladder. In most cases, kidney stones are quite easy to pass. Passing a kidney stone through the urethra is painful but rarely causes permanent damage. If stones get stuck in the urinary tract, however, you may require surgery. The likelihood of developing kidney stones increases for people who have had them in the past. Dehydration, especially in warmer weather, also increases risk, as does obesity and previous surgery for bowel diseases or gastric bypass.
There are four primary types of kidney stones. Calcium stones occur due to an increase of oxalate and calcium in your urine. Diets high in nuts, chocolate, and fruits and vegetables can result in excess oxalate, as can migraine and anti-seizure medicines. Cystine stones occur when the kidneys produce too much of the animo acid cystinuria. Uric acid stones are common in people who don't drink enough fluids and eat high-protein diets, as well as those with gout. Struvite stones grow in size very quickly, with little warning.
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