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What Are Kidney Stones?


These are some of the larger passed fragments of a 1-cm kidney stone that was blasted using lithotripsy.

Kidney stones, usually comprised of a compound called calcium oxalate, are the result of a build-up of dissolved minerals on the inner lining of the kidneys. These deposits can grow to the size of a golf ball while maintaining a sharp, crystalline structure.

Most stones present with extremely painful loin to groin pain, which is caused by the high pressures created inside the obstructed kidney as the stone passed down the ureter (the tube between the kidney and bladder) towards the bladder. There is usually blood in the urine due to ‘abrasion’ of the lining or the ureter.

Several factors may contribute to the development of kidney stones, such as dehydration, a diet high in protein or oxalates (found in tea, beer and chocolate).

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