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Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, or Renal calculi, are solid concretions (crystal aggregations) of dissolved minerals in urine; calculi typically form inside the kidneys or ureters. The terms nephrolithiasis and urolithiasis refer to the presence of calculi in the kidneys and urinary tract, respectively. Renal calculi can vary in size from as small as grains of sand to as large as grapefruit. Kidney stones typically leave the body by passage in the urine stream, and many stones are formed and passed without causing symptoms. If stones grow to sufficient size before passage — on the order of at least 2-3 millimeters — they can cause obstruction of the ureter. The resulting spasm of muscle, trying to move the stone, can cause severe episodic pain, most commonly felt in the flank, lower abdomen and groin (a condition called renal colic). Renal colic can be associated with nausea and vomiting due to the embyrological association of the kidneys and the intestinal tract. Hematuria is commonly present due to damage to the wall of the urethra as well as dysuria (when passing stones). Recurrence rates are estimated at about 10% per year.

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