Kidney Stones Fact Sheet

Kidney stones can cause blood in the urine, as well as pain in the back, groin and lower abdomen

Each year approximately a half a million people go the emergency room for kidney stone problems. Let’s look at some quick facts about this very common and painful condition to keep you aware of signs and symptoms and to advise you when you should go to the emergency room.

Young woman sitting on the bed with pain in stomach

Kidney stones are more common in those over 40, but younger adults are catching up in instances of kidney stones, a worrying trend.


Kidney stones are hard solid pieces of mineral substance that forms in the kidney or the urinary tract. The pain caused by kidney stones is very excruciating.  It usually begins in the upper back and often radiates around to the front abdomen and down to the groin area.

There are 4 types of kidney stones:

  • Calciuim: These are the most common.
  • Uric Acid: These occur when there’s too much acid in the urine. One dietary factor that can cause high acid in the urine is high consumption of animal protein.
  • Struvite: These come as a result of a prior kidney infection.
  • Cystine: These are genetic and the lease common.


This extremely painful situation afflicts people of all ages but is more common is individuals over the age of 40 years old. Please note, however, the 19-40 year old demographic is catching up in the number of episodes of kidney stones.


While there is no one cause of kidney stones, there are some factors that predispose people to them. Some of these are as follows:

  • Family history
  • Certain medications
  • Decrease in fluid intake
  • Gout
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Dietary factors

What to do?

The most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones from developing is to drink plenty of fluids. Also, reducing animal proteins such as meat, eggs, and fish can help if you are prone to calcium oxalate or uric acid stones.

When to go to the hospital?

The pain of kidney stones is often enough to get a person to the emergency room department, but if that doesn’t get you there, be on the look-out for these crucial signs:

  • Fever over 101.5.
  • Burning when urinating.
  • Continued nausea and vomiting.
  • Other medical conditions that would warrant you going right away.

We, at Urology Austin, are experts in the field of kidney stones. If you would like to discuss this topic with a caring staff member, please contact us today!


A kidney stone is formed when substances in your urine, such as calcium, oxalate and cysteine or uric acid, form “crystals” inside your kidney, which range in size from very small, like a grain of rice or speck of dirt, to very large, like a walnut. A kidney stone that size would be very rare. A stone can form in any area of the urinary tract, from the bladder (bladder stones) to the kidneys.

Symptoms you may experience with a kidney stone

You may have a kidney stone and not even be aware of it until the stone(s) begins to move from the kidney through the ureter, the tiny tubes that carry urine from the kidney to bladder. When this happens, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain during urination
  • Red, pinkish or brown color urine
  • Urine that is foul-smelling or appears cloudy
  • Pain that feels like it’s hitting you in waves of varying intensity
  • Severe pain in your back or side(s), in the area below your ribs
  • Feeling a persistent need to urinate or urinating more than usual
  • Dribbling urine in small amounts
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fever, sometimes accompanied by chills

Make an appointment to see one of our Urology Austin doctors as soon as possible if you experience one or more of these symptoms.

Sometimes, you may experience more serious symptoms, which will require immediate medical attention.

  • Severe pain that prevents you from getting comfortable in any position
  • Experiencing severe pain, along with vomiting, nausea, fever and/or chills
  • Finding blood in your urine
  • Finding it difficult to urinate

What are the risk factors for developing a kidney stone?

Often, we don’t know what causes kidney stones, but known risk factors increase your chance of developing kidney stones.

  • Dehydration caused by getting too little water each day or living and working in a hot climate where you sweat profusely
  • Family or personal history of kidney stones
  • A high sodium diet that creates excess calcium
  • A diet that is high in protein and sugar
  • Obesity or having had gastric bypass surgery
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhea

How can I prevent kidney stones?

Our Urology Austin doctors recommend that patients drink plenty of water each day and eat a low-sodium diet that includes more non-animal sources of protein like beans. You should also discuss whether or not you need calcium supplements.

Developing a kidney stone is a common problem for both men and women. To learn more, contact us. Urology Austin doctors have the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat kidney stones.

How Do You Diagnose Kidney Stones?