Kidney stones are abnormal, hard, crystalline mineral materials which form inside the kidneys. Kidney stones are also known as renal calculi or nephrolithiasis. The condition of having stones in the urinary tract is referred to as urolithiasis, and if the stone is present in ureters it is known as ureterolithiasis.
The size of kidney stones can be as small as grains of sand, the size of a pea, a marble or even larger. The stones can be asymptomatic and may pass out of the body in urine without causing discomfort or it can cause excruciating, cramping pain in the groin, lower back or abdomen. Kidney stones can often cause of blood in the urine (haematuria).
There are several types of kidney stones and the type of stone formed depends on the causative factor. The four common types of stone are:
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