Almost everyone knows someone who has had kidney stones. The kidneys filter the blood to remove excess mineral salts and other soluble (dissolvable) wastes. The kidneys also produce the urine that dissolves these wastes and excretes them through the urinary tract. Kidney stones form when the urine becomes so saturated with a certain mineral that no more of it can dissolve into the urine (like trying to dissolve too much sugar in your iced tea). The undissolved portion of the mineral forms crystals that then clump together and grow into hard stones. Kidney stones usually develop in the kidneys. However they can form anywhere in the urinary tract. This condition is medically known as urolithiasis or nephrolithiasis.
When kidney stones are quite tiny, they may pass unnoticed with the urine. Often however, they grow too large to pass easily through the urinary tract, and some stones have rough or sharp edges. When these stones are passing through the urinary tract, it can be quite painful. In some cases, kidney stones cannot pass on their own, and treatment with specialized medical equipment or surgery may be necessary.
For most people, kidney stones are like dandelions in the lawn; they can be eliminated, but they'll be back another year. Therefore, a major part of the treatment for this condition is aimed at preventing recurrences. There are various types of kidney stones. Because treatment for each differs, it is important for the physician to determine the stone's mineral content and to identify any medical conditions that may have contributed to stone formation. Preventive treatment may be with medications and/or changes in the diet.
Kidney Stone Diet