Kidney stones are the result of a buildup of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys.
They usually consist of calcium oxalate but may be composed of several other compounds.

Kidney stones can grow to the size of a golf ball while maintaining a sharp, crystalline structure.

The stones may be small and pass unnoticed through the urinary tract, but they can also cause extreme pain as they leave the body.

Causes

The leading cause of kidney stones is a lack of water in the body.

Stones are more commonly found in individuals who drink less than the recommended eight to ten glasses of water a day.

When there is not enough water to dilute the uric acid, a component of urine, the urine becomes more acidic.

An excessively acidic environment in urine can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Symptoms

  • severe pain in the groin and/or side
  • blood in urine
  • vomiting and nausea
  • white blood cells or pus in the urine
  • reduced amount of urine excreted
  • burning sensation during urination
  • persistent urge to urinate
  • fever and chills if there is an infection

Kidney stones that remain inside the body can also lead to many complications,
including blockage of the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder,
which obstructs the path that urine uses to leave the body.

Treatment
An individual may be rehydrated via an intravenous (IV) tube, and anti-inflammatory medication may also be administered.

Narcotics are often used in an effort to make the pain of passing the stone tolerable.
Antiemetic medication can be used in people experiencing nausea and vomiting.

In some cases, a urologist can perform a shock wave therapy called lithotripsy.
This is a treatment that breaks the kidney stone into smaller pieces and allows it to pass.

People with large stones located in regions that do not allow for lithotripsy may receive surgical procedures,
such as removal of the stone via an incision in the back or by inserting a thin tube into the urethra.