A Brief Primer on Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, or calculi, can form at any age but are more common in adults. Stones represent an imbalance of certain byproducts in the urine that when high enough can form little crystals, or early stones. Once a crystal forms, stones then develop over months to years. Stone disease tends to run in families, and up to 10 percent of the adult population will develop kidney stones at some point in their life.

It’s important to remember that kidney stones are not related to gallstones. They can form on the inside of either kidney, usually at night while we sleep, and are silent when growing. There are multiple urine and digestive byproducts that can bind together to form stones if high enough in concentration. Other urinary byproducts can actually prevent stones, but if these are abnormally low in concentration, they can also lead to stone formation. Read more