Which 15 Possible Causes & Risk Factors for Kidney Stones You Must Know


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Which 15 Possible Causes & Risk Factors for Kidney Stones You Must Know

What is Kidney Stone?

Kidney stone is hard deposits of minerals and chemical salts that vary in size and deposit in the kidney, ureters, or urinary bladder or painfully pass through the urinary tract in the urine (1).

The most common signs & symptoms are severe pain in the lower back, blood in your urine, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills, or urine that smells bad or looks cloudy.


What Causes & Risk factors for Kidney Stones?

15 most common Causes that Increase the Risk of Kidney Stones include:


1. Lack of water or Dehydration

Not drinking enough water or dehydration can also contribute to the formation of kidney stones and urinary tract infections because both of which can lead to kidney damage.


When you have not drunk enough water then it leads to stone-forming crystals sticking together and forming a stone.


2. Diet

What you eat can play an important role in whether you get stones or are healthy. 


The most common type of kidney stone formation happens when oxalate and calcium stick together.


Oxalate is a chemical that’s in many healthy vegetables and food. If you have an oxalate type of kidney stone then avoid oxalate-rich foods.


A list of Foods that are high in oxalates include:

  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tea
  • Dried peas and beans
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Wheat bran


Calcium is a mineral that’s in many healthy food & vegetables. If you have a Calcium type of kidney stone then avoid calcium-rich foods.


A list of Foods that are high in calcium include:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Dried beans
  • Salmon
  • Calcium-fortified juices & hot cereal


If you drink or eat calcium-rich foods and foods with oxalate at the same time then your body better handles the oxalate because the two tend to bind in the gut instead of in the kidneys where a stone can form.


Sodium from table salt can raise your chances of getting several types of kidney stones.


Animal protein raises your urine’s calcium level and lowers the amount of citrate, both of which encourage stones.


3. Gut problems

kidney Stones problem is most common in people with inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and chronic diarrhea because it affects calcium absorption.


4. Obesity

The research found that almost twice as likely to get a kidney stone if you’re obese or if your BMI (Body Mass Index) is 30 or above.


Some weight loss surgeries cause malabsorption and this lead to an increased chance of kidney stone.


5. Gender

Kidney stones are common in both men and women however studies show that men are more likely to develop a kidney stone (1).


Research shows that 11 % of men compared to just 6 % of women will experience a kidney stone in their lifetime.


6. Age

Kidney stones can affect people of all ages however likeliest to occur at age 30 or older, and your risk increases as you get older.


The study found that people are most likely to develop kidney stones between ages 40 and 60.


Research shows that 35 to 50 percent of people who have one kidney stone will develop further stones, usually within 10 years of the first stone.


7. Sedentary lifestyle

Studies examined that higher sedentary time is associated with reduced kidney function and that leads to an increased risk of kidney stone formation.


8. Diabetes

Kidney stones are also more common in people who suffer from diabetes.


Insulin resistance from diabetes can raise the levels of calcium in your urine which can make kidney stones more likely.


When you have type 2 diabetes, high levels of insulin can make your urine more acidic that leading to the rising chance of kidney stones (2).


9. Hyperparathyroidism

Your parathyroid glands can increase hormones level which leads to raises calcium levels in your blood and urine.


10. Gout

Gout develops when the body has high levels of uric acid in the blood and form crystals in the joints and the kidneys.


For people whose kidneys don’t filter waste properly well, the excess uric acid can crystalize in the kidney and form kidney stones.


11. High Blood Pressure

The study found that high Blood Pressure people are at twice the risk to develop kidney stones as compared to normal people.


12. Recent surgery on the digestive system

Patients who had gastric bypass surgery or other digestive surgery have more chances to develop kidney stones because its affects calcium and oxalate absorption.


13. Family or personal history of kidney stones

Kidney stones develop more frequently in individuals who have a family history of kidney stones.


A person who has a previous history of kidney stones suffering also more change to further develop kidney stones.


14. Genetic diseases

Some genetic diseases responsible for kidney stones such as (3):

  • Medullary sponge kidney
  • Cystinuria
  • Familial hypomagnesemia with hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis (FHHNC)
  • Primary hyperoxaluria (PH)
  • Adenine phosphoribosyltransferase (APRT) deficiency
  • Birth defects



15. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, ureteral compression, and ureteral relaxation due to elevated progesterone hormone can cause urinary stasis in the body.


Studies found that increased urine calcium excretion and elevated urine pH during pregnancy can lead to developing calcium phosphate stone formation (4).


Types of Kidney Stones

The Kidney Stones differ in size, shape, and chemical compositions and it depends on the abnormalities in urine. 


5 Types of kidney stones are as follows (5):

Kidney Stone Prevalence
Calcium Stone 80%
Struvite Stone 10 - 15%
Urate Stone 8 - 10%
Cystine Stone 2%
Drug-Induced Stone 1%


1. Calcium Stones: Calcium Oxalate and Calcium Phosphate

Calcium stones (Calcium Oxalate and Calcium Phosphate) are predominant renal stones comprising about 80% of all urinary stones found in people.


The composition of calcium stones:

  1. Pure calcium oxalate (CaOx) (50%)
  2. Calcium phosphate (CaP, termed as apatite) (5%)
  3. A mixture of both above (45%)


Many factors contribute to calcium oxalate (CaOx) stone formation such as:

  • Hypercalciuria
  • Hyperuricosuria
  • Hyperoxaluria
  • Hypocitraturia
  • Hypomagnesuria
  • Hypercystinuria


The recurrence of calcium stones is greater than in other types of kidney stones.


2. Struvite or Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate Stones

Struviteor Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate Stones occur to the extent of 10–15%. It is also known as infection stones and triple phosphate stones.


This type of stone occurs among patients with chronic urinary tract infections with bacteria that produce urease.


This Common bacterial infection includes:

  • Proteus mirabilis (most common)
  • Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Enterobacter


Women are more likely to develop struvite or magnesium ammonium phosphate type of stone than males.


3. Uric Acid Stones or Urate

These types of kidney stones are approximately 3–10% of all stone types.


The cause of uric acid stones includes:

  • Eating diets that have high in purines, especially those containing animal protein diets such as fish and meat
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Uric acid nephrolithiasis

Uric acid stones are more common in men than in women.


4. Cystine Stones

These types of kidney stones about less than 2% of all stone types.


Cystine Stones developed mostly because of genetic or autosomal recessive disorder caused by a defect in the rBAT gene on chromosome that leads to impaired renal tubular absorption of cystine or leaking cystine into the urine.


5. Drug-Induced Stones

These types of kidney stones are about 1% of all stone types.


This type of stone formation because of some drugs such as

  • Guaifenesin
  • Triamterene
  • Atazanavir
  • Sulfa drugs
  • Indinavir sulfate
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Kidney FAQ

Are Kidney Stones Common While Pregnant?

How can I Prevent Kidney Stones during Pregnancy?

You can prevent or reduce the risk of kidney stones during pregnancy by following preventive tips:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids including water and keep your body hydrated.
  2. Don't hold in the urine, even if it means frequent trips to the washroom or toilet.
  3. Reduce intake of high oxalate foods such as chocolates, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and berries.
  4. Preferred low salt diet.
  5. Research suggests calcium intake during pregnancy is at least 1 gram per day from dietary sources such as dairy products rather than calcium supplements.
  6. Regular exercise & yoga to stay active.
  7. Take prophylactic treatment if there is a history of kidney stones.








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