A kidney stone is a hard, crystalline mineral material formed within the kidney or urinary tract. Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for kidney stones.
Symptoms of a kidney stone include flank pain (the pain can be quite severe) and blood in the urine (hematuria).
Kidney stones form when there is a decrease in urine volume and/or an excess of stone-forming substances in the urine.
Dehydration is a major risk factor for kidney stone formation.
People with certain medical conditions, such as gout, and those who take certain medications or supplements are at risk for kidney stones.
Diet and hereditary factors are also related to stone formation.
Diagnosis of kidney stones is best accomplished using an ultrasound, IVP, or a CT scan.
Most kidney stones will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own with time.
Treatment includes pain-control medications and, in some cases, medications to facilitate the passage of urine.
If needed, lithotripsy or surgical techniques may be used for stones which do not pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own.