Renal calculus, also known as a kidney stone, is a solid mass made up of tiny crystals that form in the kidneys. Kidney stones are a common urologic problem that affects millions of people worldwide. They can range in size from a small grain of sand to a golf ball and can be very painful to pass through the urinary tract.
Kidney stones form when urine becomes concentrated with substances like calcium, oxalate, and uric acid. These substances can stick together and form crystals that grow over time, eventually forming a solid stone. Factors that increase the risk of kidney stones include dehydration, a diet high in salt or animal protein, obesity, and certain medical conditions like gout or inflammatory bowel disease.
Symptoms of a kidney stone include severe pain in the back, side, or groin, nausea and vomiting, blood in the urine, and a frequent need to urinate. Treatment options for kidney stones may include drinking plenty of fluids to help flush out the stone, pain medication, and procedures like shock wave lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, or percutaneous nephrolithotomy to break up or remove the stone.
Prevention strategies for kidney stones may include drinking plenty of water, reducing salt and animal protein in the diet, and taking medication to decrease the amount of calcium or uric acid in the urine.