What are kidney stones and how do they form?

Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of salts and minerals that form in your kidneys. When they pass through your kidneys and urethra, the experience can be intensely painful.

There are several different types of kidney stones, including:

Calcium stones

These are made of calcium oxalate -- a substance naturally present in many foods -- and develop in people with metabolic conditions.

Uric acid stones

These kidney stones can develop in individuals who have gout, do not drink sufficient fluids, or consume a diet high in protein.

Struvite stones

Struvite stones develop quickly as a response to an infection. They can become relatively large, and often occur with few symptoms.

Cystine stones

These kidney stones form in the kidneys of people with a hereditary disorder that causes excessive excretion of specific amino acids.

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