A to Z: Kidney Stones

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A to Z: Kidney Stones

May also be called: Calculi; Nephrolithiasis

Kidney stones are small, solid masses that form in the urinary tract. Kidney stones are caused by the build-up of substances normally found in urine (pee), like salts and calcium.

More to Know

When substances normally found in urine become extra concentrated, they can form crystals in the kidneys. These crystals can build up to become stones over a few weeks or months.

Small kidney stones can pass through the urinary tract and out of the body with little or no pain, but larger stones can be quite painful, block the flow of urine, and cause blood in the urine and other symptoms. In some cases, kidney stones can lead to problems with the kidneys and urinary tract. Most kidney stones, however, cause no permanent damage.

Keep in Mind

Kidney stones are fairly common. There are different types of kidney stones with many different causes. Treatment depends on the type and size of the stones.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.



Related Resources

OrganizationNational Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases This group conducts and supports research on many serious diseases affecting public health.
OrganizationNational Kidney Foundation (NKF) NKF seeks to prevent kidney and urinary tract diseases, improve the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increase the availability of all organs for transplantation.
Web SiteNephron Information Center The Nephron Information Center offers information about how the kidneys work, transplants, and links to other sites.
OrganizationAmerican Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) The AAKP serves kidney patients and their families by helping them cope with the emotional, physical, and social impact of kidney failure.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.


Related Articles

Ultrasound: Renal (Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder) A renal ultrasound makes images of your child's kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Doctors may order this test if they suspect kidney damage, cysts, tumors, kidney stones, or complications from urinary tract infections.
Urine Test: 24-Hour Analysis for Kidney Stones This test can show if certain substances are found at high concentrations in the urine, and might be causing kidney stones.
Kidneys and Urinary Tract The bean-shaped kidneys, each about the size of a child's fist, perform several functions essential to health. Their most important role is to filter blood and produce urine.
A to Z: Hematuria (Blood in Urine) Learn more about hematuria (blood in urine) and how it's treated.
A to Z: Glomerulonephritis Learn more about diseases and conditions of the kidney.
A to Z: Hyperkalemia Learn more about diseases and conditions of the blood and kidneys.
Kidney Diseases in Childhood The kidneys play a critical role in health. When something goes wrong, it could indicate a kidney disease. What are kidney diseases, and how can they be treated?




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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