Conditions InDepth: Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are one of the most common and painful kidney disorders. About 10% of people will develop a kidney stone at some point in their lives. For many, stones become a chronic problem. People who get one stone are more likely to develop others.The kidneys, each about the size of a fist, are located in the lower back. They are connected to the bladder by narrow tubes called ureters. The kidneys act as filters for the bloodstream. They catch needed substances and return them to circulation. They also dispose of unneeded substances in urine. Urine collects in the bladder and then passes through another narrow tube called the urethra and before exiting the body.Kidney stones are formed when minerals and other substances accumulate in the kidneys. They become so concentrated that they crystallize into solid particles. Under normal circumstances, urine contains chemicals that keep this from happening. This action can fail under certain conditions. If the resulting crystallized particles remain small, they can pass through the urinary system without problems. Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the kidney or further down the urinary tract.
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Coe FL, Evan A, Worcester, E. Kidney stone disease. J Clin Invest. 2005;115:2598-2608.
Kidney stones in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults/. Updated January 28, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.
Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.
- Reviewer: Adrienne Carmack, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 04/29/2014
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