Kidney Stones - Topic Overview
Kidney stones are made of
salts and minerals in the urine that stick together to form small "pebbles."
They can be as small as grains of sand or as large as golf balls. They may stay
kidneys or travel out of your body through the
urinary tract . The urinary tract is the system that makes urine and carries it
out of your body. It is made up of the kidneys, the tubes that connect the
kidneys to the bladder (the
ureters), the bladder, and the tube that leads from
the bladder out of the body (the
When a stone travels through a ureter , it usually causes pain and other
Kidney stones form when
a change occurs in the normal balance of water, salts, minerals, and other
things found in urine. The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking
enough water. Try to drink enough water, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water (about 8 to 10
glasses a day). Some people are more likely to get kidney stones
because of a medical condition, such as gout.
may also be an inherited disease. If other people in your family have had
kidney stones, you may have them too.
Kidney stones often cause
no pain while they are in the kidneys. But they can cause sudden, severe pain
as they travel from the kidneys to the bladder.
Call a doctor
right away if you think you have kidney stones. Watch for severe pain in your
side, belly, or groin or for urine that looks pink or red. You may also feel
sick to your stomach (nausea) and may vomit.
You may first
find out that you have kidney stones when you see your doctor or go to an
emergency room with pain in your belly or side. Your doctor will ask you
questions about your pain and lifestyle. He or she will examine you and may do
imaging tests such as
a CT scan or an ultrasound to look at your kidneys and urinary tract.