How Do Kidney Stones Form?

Kidney stones can develop in your body and cause no symptoms – until a stone moves through your kidney or passes into the ureter connecting the kidney and bladder. 

What are kidney stones and what are they made of? Well, they most commonly build up when your urine becomes far too concentrated. In this case, salts, minerals, and other substances – such as oxalate, calcium, and uric acid – in your urine will start to crystalize and stick together in large clumps. This can also occur if your urine is missing the substances the prevent this clumping.

The stones may stay within your kidney for awhile and you may not even notice that they exist until they start to travel from your kidney to your bladder via your ureter.

There are a variety of factors that may increase your risk of developing kidney stones. For example, if a family member, especially a direct relative like a parent or sibling, has had kidney stones, you may be more likely to develop them yourself. 

Staying properly hydrated and eating a balanced, nutritious diet are important to reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. If you are not drinking enough water each day, your urine can become more heavily concentrated, creating a perfect environment for stones to develop. If your diet is high in protein and salt, that could mean more crystal-forming substances remain in the kidneys than can be diluted. 

At some point after kidney stones form, they start making their way through the kidney, ureter, bladder, and ultimately are expelled with urine. Sometimes they are small enough to cause no symptoms at all. Other times, you may start to feel them as they travel through the narrow ureter, which is when the pain can start to ramp up. Symptoms range from severe pain at your sides, near your kidneys and lower back. The pain can also radiate to your groin and lower abdomen areas. The movement of a stone can also affect your urination patterns, causing either frequent urination or the sense of needing to urinate frequently.  You may even feel nausea or other flu-like symptoms.

Your doctor will most likely advise you to drink plenty of fluids and to wait for the stones to pass with your urine. Seek medical attention immediately if you believe a stone may have become lodged in a particular area as this may require surgery.

If you experience fever, chills, or discover blood in your urine while passing a kidney stone, speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. To learn more about kidney stones and get the medical attention you need, call Urology Specialists of

Milford at (508) 473-6333 or request an appointment online.

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