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There are four main types of
Nearly 80 out of 100 kidney stones (80%) are made of
calcium compounds, especially calcium oxalate.1 Calcium phosphate and other minerals also may be present.
Conditions that cause high calcium levels in the body, such as
hyperparathyroidism, increase the risk of calcium
stones. High levels of
oxalate also increase the risk for calcium
Certain medicines may prevent calcium stones.
About 5 to 10 out of 100 kidney stones (5% to 10%) are made of
uric acid, a waste product normally passed out of the
body in the urine.1 You are more likely to have uric
acid stones if you have:
Certain medicines may prevent or dissolve uric acid stones.
About 10 to 15 out of 100 kidney stones (10% to 15%) are struvite stones.1 They can also be called infection stones if they occur with
urinary tract infections (UTIs). These types of kidney
stones sometimes are also called
staghorn calculi if they grow large enough.
Struvite stones can be serious, because they are often large stones
and may occur with an infection. Medical treatment, including antibiotics and
removal of the stone, is usually needed for struvite stones. Women are affected
more than men because of their higher risk of urinary tract infections.
Less than 1% of kidney stones (less than 1 out of 100) are made of a chemical called
cystine.1 Cystine stones are more likely to develop in
families with a condition that results in too much cystine in the urine
Cystine stones may be prevented or dissolved with medicine, but
this may be difficult and not very effective. If the stones cause blockage in
the urinary tract or are too large, then the stone will need to be removed.
Parmar MS (2004). Kidney stones. BMJ, 328(7453): 1420–1424.
April 28, 2011
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Tushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
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