About 1 in 10 men and 1 in 20 women in the United States experience kidney stones at some point in their lives. Kidney stones are hardened deposits of minerals and salts, but they can vary widely in size, location, and even mineral makeup.
No matter what type of kidney stones you have, Dr. Eric K. Seaman at New Jersey Urology can help. Kidney stones can be intensely painful. But the good news is that we offer a range of treatments to eliminate them, from oral medication to extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).
Take a moment to learn more about the most common types of kidney stones and what causes them.
Calcium is a mineral that contributes to some of the most common kidney stones, including calcium oxalate stones and calcium phosphate stones. While having high calcium levels in your urine contributes to the formation of these stones, getting enough calcium through your diet can actually help prevent them.
Calcium oxalate stones can form when your urine is low in citrate and high in calcium, along with high levels of oxalate or uric acid. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in foods, and it’s also made in your liver.
Decreasing the amount of oxalate-rich foods in your diet can reduce your risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones. If you get calcium oxalate stones regularly, Dr. Seaman may recommend limiting foods like spinach, potatoes, chocolate, and nuts.
Calcium phosphate kidney stones are also triggered by high calcium levels, but these stones are more common in people with metabolic conditions. Renal tubular acidosis and certain medications may make these kidney stones more likely.
Problems within your urinary system could also trigger calcium phosphate stones. Calcium phosphate stones and calcium oxalate stones can occur together.
Struvite kidney stones can develop along with a urinary tract infection or kidney infection. This type of stone is more common in women than men. Struvite stones can grow very quickly, but you may not have any symptoms at first.
Getting treatment is critical because a struvite stone can get so large that it fills your entire kidney. It may also cause a severe urinary tract infection or lead to loss of kidney function.
Uric acid stones tend to occur in men more frequently than women. They form with high uric acid content in urine, which can be caused by diets high in animal protein or not drinking enough water.
Animal proteins like meat and fish have high purine contents, a substance that increases the urine’s acidity level. You’re more likely to develop them if you have a family history of uric acid stones. In addition, having gout, having diabetes, or undergoing chemotherapy may make this type of kidney stone more likely.
Cystine stones are the rarest type of kidney stone. Cystine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the kidneys, but it can leak into the urine if you have a genetic disorder called cystinuria. When high levels of cystine enter the urine, it can cause stones to form in your kidneys, bladder, and/or ureters.
If you have kidney stones, don’t delay. Find the treatment that’s right for you by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Seaman. Call our office in Millburn, New Jersey, at 973-259-6695 or book an appointment online.