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Kidney stones

Understanding what kidney stones are, how they are treated, and how you take measures to prevent them is all part of caring for your kidneys.

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The development of kidney stones is one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract, with four to eight per cent of Australians experiencing them at some time. Those odds are increased if you have a family history of kidney stones, or if you’re elderly.

The good news is, kidney stones can be treated. You can also take preventative measures by staying hydrated with water.

It’s the kidney’s job to filter blood and remove extra waste and water, which gets passed as urine. Urine contains many waste chemicals, which can sometimes form crystals that clump together – and these clumps are kidney stones. The stones are hard, rock-like crystals of varying sizes and shapes; anywhere from as small as a grain of sand to a golf ball.

There are four main types of kidney stones:

  1. Calcium stones combined with oxalate or phosphate are the most common.
  2. Struvite stones are often horn-shaped and quite large, mostly caused by urine infections.
  3. Uric acid stones are often softer than other forms of kidney stones.
  4. Cystine stones are rare and hereditary. They look more like crystals than stones.

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