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Your Kidney Stone - A Real Pain!

Updated on October 26, 2009

There are very few things that your body can do to you which can compare to the generation of sheer agony by a kidney stone passing. Not only has it caused adults to cry, but some have literally passed out! If there is any way that you can avoid getting and then passing a kidney stone, it is strongly advisable that you do so!

Kidney stones are just that: pebble-like masses which are formed in the kidneys. Normally, the kidneys collect waste and excess products from the blood and discard it from the body. Usually the waste is totally liquid and flushed out in urine, but sometimes it forms into stones. It is possibly because there is not enough liquid in which the waste can be dissolved, or it may be that there is a surplus of waste products. It may also be that the waste and excess is chemically inclined to bond into stones. They can stay in the kidney or, if they are small enough the body may try to expel them. Some are very tiny, like small, sharp gravel or grains of sand, but are extremely painful when they are passed out of the body.

Kidney stones exist in various shapes, sizes and compositions. Each type of stone has its own particular origins, dietary relationships, ramifications and complicating factors. Kidney stones form in four different types: Calcium containing; uric acid; struvite; and cystine.

Calcium containing stones are further split up into apatite and oxalate varieties. Apatite is the same type of calcium that forms the bones in your body, while oxalate is a waste by-product of your body's metabolism. Through a variety of causes, some dietary and others borne from physical disorders, excessive amounts of oxalate and calcium can concentrate in your urine and form crystals of calcium oxalate, which soon develop into full fledged kidney stones.

Uric acid stones are produced by your metabolism as it processes purines which are a component of various animal proteins, as well as some seeds and plants. Uric acid stones are the ones which are more likely to begin to occur in older people, while the calcium containing stones are generally developed earlier in life.

Struvite stones contain magnesium and ammonium along with the basic calcium and are the most problematic of the four types to treat as they are kidney stones which have become infected. Sufferers with struvite stones can succumb to various kidney infections and renal obstructions which can cause infected urine to back up into the bloodstream.

Cystine stones are caused by a rather rare genetic disorder which makes your kidneys accumulate an excessive amount of an amino acid called cystine in your urine. Although this type of stone is primarily found in younger people, it can develop at any age.
It is not known definitively why some people's bodies have tendencies to make kidney stones and others don't, but it does tend to be more prevalent in some families, indicating genetic factors. Various types of stones have also been linked to the excessive consumption of specific types of foods.

Continued In: Your Kidney Stone - Extremely Widespread Prevalence

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    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      I've been very fortunate in that I've only passed one relatively small stone, and if someone gave me a choice between doing that again or spending a few hours on Torquemada's rack, I'd go merrily marching off to the Inquisition. :)

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      My husband has had kidney stones. He said it was worst than me having a baby. I'm not so sure about that since he is unable to give birth. But I do know kidney stones are a real pain.