Kidney stones can develop in one or both kidneys and most often affect people aged 30 to 60.
They're quite common, with around three in 20 men and up to two in 20 women developing them at some stage of their lives.
The medical term for kidney stones is nephrolithiasis, and if they cause severe pain it's known as renal colic.
Small kidney stones may go undetected and be passed out painlessly in the urine. But it's fairly common for a stone to block part of the urinary system, such as the:
A blockage can cause severe pain in the abdomen or groin and sometimes causes a urinary tract infection(UTI) .
Over time, the crystals may build up to form a hard stone-like lump.
This is more likely to happen if you don't drink enough fluids, if you're taking some types of medication,or if you havea medical condition that raises the levels of certain substances in your urine.
This means it will often travel through the urinary system (the kidneys, kidney tubes and bladder).
Most kidney stones are small enough to be passed in your urine, and it may be possible to treat the symptoms at home with medication.
Larger stones may need to be broken up using ultrasound orlaser energy. Occasionally, keyhole surgery may be needed to remove very large kidney stones directly.
It's very important to keep your urine diluted (clear) to prevent waste products forming into kidney stones.
Symptoms of kidney stones include localized pain depending on the positioning of the stone, pain during urination, cloudy urine, odd-smelling urine, etc.
Methods to diagnose kidney stones are: abdominal ultra sound, blood tests to check for excess uric acid or calcium, CT-scan or X-ray, pyelography.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually used to treat and alleviate the pain, and in cases of severe pain, tramadol may be used. In the case of infection, antibiotics may be used.
Kidney stones can develop in one or both kidneys and most often affect people aged 30 to 60. They're quite common, with around three in 20 men and up to two in 20 women developing them at some stage of their lives.
Read about the symptoms of kidney stones, which usually only occur if a stone gets stuck in your kidney, if it starts to travel down the ureter, or if it causes an infection.
Find out what causes kidney stones. They're usually the result of a build-up of a substance such as calcium, ammonia or uric acid in the body.
Find out how kidney stones are diagnosed. Imaging tests, such as a computerised tomography (CT) scan, can be used to help confirm the diagnosis or locate a kidney stone.
Find out how kidney stones are treated. The treatment you'll need will depend on the size and type of kidney stone you have.
The best way of preventing kidney stones is to make sure you drink plenty of water each day to avoid becoming dehydrated.