Types of Kidney Stones

kidney-stone-piecesThere are four types of kidney stones. Each type has different causes and may be treated differently. Here is a description of the four types of kidney stones:

Calcium containing stones are the most common type of kidney stone. Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and muscles, and excess calcium goes to the kidneys. Most of the time, the kidneys flush out the extra calcium in the urine. People who have calcium stones keep the calcium in their kidneys. The calcium then joins with other waste products, most commonly oxalate, to form a stone.

A struvite stone may result from an infection in the urinary system. These stones contain the mineral magnesium and the waste product ammonia.

Uric acid stones may form when the urine contains too much acid. If you get uric acid stones, you may need to cut back on the amount of meat you eat.

Cystine stones are rare, and are caused by a genetic disease. Cystine is one of the building blocks that make up muscles, nerves, and other parts of the body, but cystine can build up in the urine to form a stone.

Your doctor will want to determine what kind of kidney stones you have in order to determine the appropriate treatment and how to avoid the development of future kidney stones. Your doctor may order tests, such as urinalysis, blood work and x-rays, to help determine the nature of your stones and what caused them.

One of the most important tests will be an analysis of the stones themselves. When you are passing a kidney stone, it is a good idea to strain your urine to capture a stone as it passes. Kidney stones may be as small as grains of sand, so use a very fine strainer to catch them. Take the stones to your doctor to be analyzed.

Once your doctor has determined the type of kidney stones you have, he or she can create an effective treatment plan and advise you how to avoid getting kidney stones again.