The four principal kinds of kidney stones

The four principal kinds of kidney stones


Today, one of the most important things for human beings is to have good alimentation habits, due to the great health benefits it has and for preventing some difficulties, like kidney stones or other issues. In previous posts, we have talked about how to avoid all these problems and the best way to treat them. Moreover, we have shown some of the best alternatives to deal with these situations, letting persons with renal problems to have better living conditions and life quality.

In previous posts, we have talked about the kidney stones and what they mean, in addition, we have seen their consequences in human’s health and how to prevent them. However, it is important to know and understand the different kinds of kidney stones affecting people around the world, like the calcium stones, the uric acid stones, the struvite stones and the cystine stones. All these affectations, are causing several issues in human’s health and it is vital to see how they are formed and their implications.

Before specifying these four kinds of kidney stones, it is significant to have clear what a kidney stone is, its implications and why they are formed.

Kidney stones

Also known as renal stones, calculus, or urolithiasis, these are solid formations produced in the kidney, which could be composed of phosphate, calcium, among other elements. They could be originated by various reasons, like food habits, hereditary causes, among other things. Due to these formations, the person who has them could be suffering intense pain in the urinary system (urethra, ureter, bladder) for the stones obstructions.

To deal kidneys problems, there are different alternatives, like expulsive treatments with some medicines, which makes easier the expulsion of this calculus through the urinary tract. Another alternative is the extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, destroying the renal stones with ultrasonic energy. For some cases, surgery is the only alternative to deal with kidney stones, due to their size, location or composition.

Having a clear idea about what the kidney stones are, then we can talk about their type and risks for human’s health.

Calcium kidney stones

These are the renal kidneys formed by calcium and are considered the most common ones. Basically, these are materialized by the extra calcium in human’s body that is not used by our bones or muscles. In other words, this calculus appears when people keeps the calcium that kidney cannot eliminate in it, forming with other components, like phosphate or oxalate, the stones that we have mentioned.

The calcium stones could be formed by distinct reasons. One of the most common causes is the dehydration or low levels of liquid consumption, avoiding that the urinary system eliminates some wasting material. Other regular situations for calculus are the food habits. A diet high in proteins, sugar, sodium or fat, increases the possibility of kidney stones formation, due to the kidney cannot eliminate all those extra components. As we mentioned, other causes for this affectation could be hereditary causes, obesity, dental problems, digestive diseases, cigar or alcohol consumption, among other reasons. The treatments for the elimination of these stones are the one mentioned above, but one of the most important things for avoiding renal problems is a good and balanced diet.

Uric acid kidney stones

This calculus is the second most common kind of renal stones, after the calcium stones, and are formed by uric acid when there is too much acid in the urine. Some of the principal reasons to have these stones are a high red meat eating diet, high animal protein consumption levels, excessive alcohol ingestion, urinary infections, among other causes.

Some of the most used treatments for acid uric stones are high hydration levels, so the urine can be less acid, avoiding the excessive of this and therefore the calculus formation. Another significant treatment is the urinary alkalization with potassium citrate or sodium bicarbonate, which can dilute these stones. Among these two alternatives, for those people who has acid uric problems, a balanced diet is one of the best alternatives for preventing this affectation.

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Cystine kidney stones

These are the less common kidney stones and are those formed due to the high levels of cysteine in the urine. The principal reason for the formation of this calculus is hereditary causes or family health conditions. Usually, these affectations are treated with medicine but are not the most effective way for their elimination or reduction. The most efficient dealing for cystine stones is the surgery, due to the large size that this calculus can have.

Struvite kidney stones

The main reason for their formation is the urinary tract or kidney infections. Usually, this calculus is formed by magnesium, phosphate, and ammonia. This kind of stones are more common in women and they are frequently treated with antibiotics or in other cases with surgery, due to the large size they could get.

Related: 4 Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Kidney Stones by Joe Cosgrove

* Featured Image courtesy of dfaulder at


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