Kidney stone disease

formation of mineral 'stones' in the urinary tract
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Kidney stone disease, also known as nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis, is when a solid piece of material (kidney stones, also known as renal calculi) forms in the kidney or bladder. From there, most travel down the urinary tract.[1] Kidney stones typically form in the kidney and leave the body during urination.[1] A small stone may pass without causing symptoms (90% or more) within 3 months.[1] Kidney and bladder stones have been known to be fatal. A US founding father, Benjamin Franklin, had kidney stones.

Kidney stone disease
Other namesUrolithiasis, kidney stone, renal calculus, nephrolith, kidney stone disease,
A color photograph of a kidney stone, 8 millimetres in length.
A kidney stone, 8 millimeters (0.3 in) in diameter
Medical specialtyUrology, nephrology
SymptomsSevere pain in the lower back or abdomen, blood in the urine, vomiting, nausea[1]
CausesGenetic and environmental factors[1]
Diagnostic methodBased on symptoms, urine testing, medical imaging[1]
Differential diagnosisAbdominal aortic aneurysm, diverticulitis, appendicitis, pyelonephritis[2]
PreventionDrinking fluids such that more than two liters of urine are produced per day
TreatmentPain medication, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithotomy[1]
Frequency22.1 million (2015)
Deaths16,100 (2015)
Usual location of pain caused by kidney stones

If a stone grows to more than 5 millimeters (0.2 in) it can cause blockage of the ureter resulting in severe pain in the lower back or abdomen.[1][3] A kidney stone 1cm or larger cannot pass on its own and requires surgery.

The medical name for kidney stone pain is renal colic. A stone may also result in blood in the urine, vomiting, or painful urination.[1] About 50% of people who get kidney stones will have another within 5 years, especially if they are under the age of 25.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Kidney Stones in Adults". February 2013. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  2. Knoll T, Pearle MS (2012). Clinical Management of Urolithiasis. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 21. ISBN 9783642287329. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017.
  3. Miller, NL; Lingeman, JE (2007). "Management of kidney stones" (PDF). BMJ. 334 (7591): 468–72. doi:10.1136/bmj.39113.480185.80. PMC 1808123. PMID 17332586. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 December 2010.