So, after a bit of research about my own experience, I realized: there isn’t just one type of kidney stone. Actually, there are four major kinds. Can you believe that? Four types of stone means four ways for them to form. Each has a different cause and treatment, and some types may be more or less painful than others. I know this isn’t how the math adds up, but it feels like the likelihood of me getting another kidney stone just increased by 400%. If you’re ready to get your mind blown, I’ve described each type below.
Calcium stones—This is the most common type of kidney stone. It develops when calcium in the urine combines with other substances, like oxalate or phosphate, to form crystals. Most of the time, these guys are small enough to pass on their own. The solid mass is thought to form when there is too little liquid in the system.
Uric acid stones—These stones form when there is too much uric acid in urine. The acid can crystallize and combine with calcium to form a stone. Often, the most commonly experienced kidney stones are a combination of calcium and uric acid stones.
Struvite stones—Okay, so these guys—apparently—really hurt. They’re likely to grow the largest. This type of stone is made of a mineral called struvite, which is a combination of ammonium, magnesium, and phosphate. Struvite produced by bacteria in the urinary tract. They are less common, with only between 10 and 15 percent of all kidney stones formed from the material. These stones can grow very quickly to block the kidney, ureter, or bladder, causing quick and major damage. These are more common in women than in men.
Cystine stones—These stones are the rarest, only forming if a person has too much of an amino acid called cystine. This is the least soluble of all naturally occurring amino acids, meaning it can easily bunch together to form painful stones.
Knowledge is power, right? Four stones means four different causes, but now that you’ve read this, maybe you can begin to take better preventative action. Or at least any type of preventative action. Anyway, I hope this was helpful! Looking for more information about the different types of kidney stones? Pay a visit to this webpage from the American Kidney Fund.