Kidney stone: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

by | Jun 26, 2019 |

A kidney stone is a very common disease in which solid mass or pebble-like piece which develops when the excretion of minerals and salts or stone-forming substances such as calcium, oxalate, cysteine, phosphate, and urate are increased in the urine. These substances become highly concentrated due to the decreased volume of urine in the body. The stones are usually found in the kidney, but can also develop in the ureters, urethra, and bladder. The size of the stone can be small like a grain of sand or large like a pearl or golf ball. A small stone easily passes through urine without causing pain, while large stone blocks the flow of urine and cause severe pain or bleeding. Sometimes, pain comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity as the stone moves through the urinary tract.

Symptoms of kidney stone

Kidney stone does not cause any problem until it moves down into the ureter, where it gets stuck and shows various symptoms, which include:

  • Change in color of urine (pink, red or brown)
  • Pain, burning sensation, and bleeding while urinating
  • Decreased amount of urine
  • Severe pain in the lower abdomen, side, and back
  • Bad smell in the urine
  • Frequent urination

Causes of kidney stone

The leading cause of kidney stone is dehydration or the lack of water in the body. When there is a less amount of fluids in the urine to dilute waste substances like calcium, phosphate, and oxalate, then the urine becomes more acidic, and it forms a hard stone. People with medical conditions, such as gout are at risk for stones. Diet and hereditary factors can also increase the risk of stone formation.


The possible complications of a kidney stone include chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, urinary tract infection (UTI), hematuria (blood in the urine), sepsis, and blockage in UTI.

Diagnosis of kidney stone

There are various methods used to diagnose stone, which include:

  • Urinalysis: Doctor tests the urine sample of a patient to check whether it has blood in it or the presence of stone-forming substances that can form a stone. Also, check white blood cells and the growth of bacteria in the urine for UTI infections.
  • Blood tests: The blood sample shows the number of minerals or substances present in the blood that can cause stone
  • Imaging scans: X-rays and CT scan are used to diagnose radiolucent stones (cysteine or uric acid stone).
  • Intravenous urogram (IVU): The injection of radio-opaque dye is injected in the arm that shows the presence of stone in an X-rays.
  • Ultrasound of kidneys: This is used to check the presence of stone by watching internal structures of the body with high- frequency sound waves.


Below are a few ways which help to prevent kidney stone:

  • Drink more water to excrete out the waste substances through urine
  • Eat more citric acid and calcium oxalate foods such as potatoes, soybeans, spinach
  • Reduced the consumption of salt and caffeine
  • Avoid drinks that contain fructose


Depending upon the size, the treatment of kidney stone includes:

For small stone

  • Medications: Drugs like Ibuprofen and acetaminophen helps to relief from pain while passing a small stone. Alpha blockers help to pass stone by relaxing the ureter muscles.

For large stone

  • Medications: Drugs like Flomax and Uroxatral help to pass the kidney stone in the ureter.
  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy: This procedure is used to break a kidney stone by passing the shock waves through the body.
  • Ureteroscopy: A small wire with the camera is inserted into the urethra to remove a stone
  • Surgery: Percutaneous nephrolithotomy used to remove stone through a small incision in the back.
  • Parathyroid gland surgery is used to stop the formation of kidney stone by removing the growth of glands.

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