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Picture of Kidney Stone

Kidney Stone Illustration

Kidney stones are hard crystalline substances that may form in the kidneys. They may be composed of oxalate, xanthine, urate, calcium, phosphate, or cystine. The propensity to form kidney stones may be hereditary. Dehydration, a history of gout, and the use of medications that cause a buildup of uric acid are risk factors for kidney stones.

Symptoms of kidney stones may include fever, flank pain, groin pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and blood in the urine. Kidney stone symptoms come on suddenly and the pain may be severe.

The vast majority of kidney stones are passed by the body without any intervention. Larger stones (5 millimeters and larger) are less likely to be expelled without assistance. Large kidney stones may be removed by a procedure that uses sound waves to break them into small pieces (lithotripsy) or surgically.

Image Source: MedicineNet, Inc.

Text Reference: "Kidney Stones." National Kidney Foundation.