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Renal Calculi (Kidney Stones)

Renal calculi (kidney stones) can form anywhere in the urinary tract, but they most commonly form in the renal pelvis or calices. Calculi form when substances that normally are dissolved in the urine (such as calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, uric acid, cystine, and magnesium ammonium phosate). Renal calculi can vary in size and may be solitary or or can multiple.


Annually, about 1 in 1000 people in the United States need hospitalization from kidney stones. They're more commonly found in men than in women.


3 Common types of renal calculi

  • Calcium calculi
  • Uric acid calculi
  • Magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite) calculi


What causes kidney stones to form?

The exact cause of kidney stones (renal calculi) is not known, but certain factors may speed the process.

  • Dehydration: a decrease in water excreation.
  • Infection: scarred tissue may be a place for calculus to form or develop. Also infected calculi (magnesium ammonium phosphate or staghorn calculi) can develop if bacteria serve as the nucleus in calculus formation.
  • Change in Urine pH: consistent flow of acidic or alkaline urine may provide a more positive calculus formation.
  • Obstruction: urinary stasis allows calculi constituents to collect and stick, creating calculi.
  • Immobilization: Immobility from the spinal cord injuries or other disorders allow calcium to be released into the circulation and eventually, to be filtered into the kidneys.
  • Metabolic factors: hyperparathyroidism, renal tubular acidosis, elevated uric acid (usally with gout), defective metabolism of oxalate, a genetically caused in metabolism of cystine, or excessive intake of vitamin D (calcium supplement) might predispose a person to renal calculi.


 Some common signs and symptoms:

  • Abdominal distention
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hematuria (visible blood in the urine)
  • Severe pain that travels from the side of the back (twelfth rib to the vertebral column), to the flank, to the upper quadrant of the abdomen on the affected side to the inferior and central area (suprapubic region).


Note: The information above is just is only for informational purposes only and is only a general reference guide. If you have an emergency call 911 directly or speak with your doctor immediately.






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