Kidney Stones 101

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kidney stones

About 1 in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives. Men are more likely to suffer this condition than women — men have a 19 percent lifetime risk and women face a 9 percent lifetime risk of developing kidney stones.

The stones are deposits of solid material that form in the kidney from substances in the urine. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pearl. Most pass without notice when you pee, but sometimes bigger stones get stuck. When that happens, you know — because it hurts. A lot.

Signs of a kidney stone that needs treatment include:

  • Extreme pain in the back or side, below the ribs
  • Pain that comes in waves
  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Burning sensation or pain while urinating

Kidney stones may be caused by drinking too little water, obesity, too much or too little exercise, or eating food with too much salt or sugar, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Having kidney stones tends to run in families.

Treatment varies depending on the size and location of the stone and may include drinking a lot of water, medication or a noninvasive or surgical procedure.

If you feel you may have kidney stones, see your doctor. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, click here to find one near you.

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