Generally there are 4 types of kidney stones that can form either in your kidney parenchyma, ureters or the bladder. Each type of the stones are caused by specific reasons and come in different sizes, shapes and consistency which are important to be identified through various investigations to treat them appropriately.
Kidney stones basically manifest as loin pain either right sided or left sided associated with sandy urine and other urinary tract symptoms such as blood in urine, difficulty during urination and much more. Stones blocked at the ureters are usually presented with loin to groin pain which is colicky in nature and associated with vomiting and nausea. Bladder stones are presented as lower urinary tract symptoms such as hesitancy, terminal dribbling and more. They can be treated medically and surgically depending on multiple factors such as size, shape, consistency and patient fitness towards surgical methods.
Why is it important to know the types of kidney stones? It is vital to know the type so it is possible to minimize the risk factors causing them and they are also treated differently. Continue reading to know more about kidney stones and their types.
1. Calcium stones
Calcium stones are generally the most common types of stones formed in the kidney. Examples of them include calcium oxalate stones and calcium phosphate stones. These stones are easy to be identified in the kidney, ureter, and bladder radiograph as most of them are radiopaque stones which means they are visible under radiation.
Risk factors for formation of calcium stones are severe and prolonged dehydration, massive ingestion of calcium or vitamin D supplements, and previous history of prolonged immobilization. High oxalate levels and hyperparathyroidism also increases the chance to form more calcium kidney stones.
2. Uric acid stones
Uric acid stones are also fairly common among the population. These stones can be mainly caused by an increase in consumption of food rich in uric acid such as anchovies, seafood, and green vegetables like spinach. Apart from that, it can be also caused by gouty arthritis where your serum uric acid levels spike up sky high leading to its predisposition as stones in the kidney.
Uric acid stones are difficult to be diagnosed and identified because most of them are radiolucent stones which means they can’t be visible under a plain kidney, ureter, and bladder radiograph. Other tests like intravenous urogram or kidney ultrasound are commonly used in clinical practice to diagnose uric acid stones. Find doctor and your pure uric acid stones can be easily removed medically through medical expulsive therapy and chemolysis.
3. Struvite stones
Struvite stones are comparatively rare compared to the other 3 types of stones. They are commonly associated with urinary tract infection involving organisms such as Proteus and Klebsiella. Struvite stones are usually large stones forming a staghorn pattern in the kidney parenchyma. Due to its large size, struvite stones are oftenly the hardest stones to be removed and can cause multiple complications if left untreated. Such complications are like urinary tract infection due to inability to empty the kidney, backflow of urine causing hydronephrosis and hydroureters.
4. Cystine stones
Cystine stones are more common in the young age group due to its risk factor. It is common in patients with an inherited defect in amino acid transport, manifesting as recurrent cystine stones among young patients. This inherited defect is named as cystinuria where a natural substance called the cystine leaks in your urine, forming casts called cystine stones. Similar complications can be observed in patients with cystine stones, such as hydronephrosis and chronic kidney failure if it is left untreated for a prolonged duration.