Kidney stones

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones. They’re small, but they’re mighty. Did you know that more than half a million people head to the emergency room for kidney stones each year?1 You may be wondering how something so little can be so painful. Most kidney stones range in size from a grain of sand to a chickpea. But some can grow to be the size of a golf ball. Obviously, only smaller stones can potentially pass through your urinary tract on their own — but not without quite a bit of pain.2

A kidney stone is a hard mass made up of minerals, salts and chemicals that form inside your kidneys. Specifically, these substances are calcium, oxalateuric acid, phosphatecystine and xanthine. They’re all waste products that typically leave your body through urine. But if there’s not enough urine to help carry these waste products out of your body, they can concentrate and crystalize into a tiny little stone.3, 2

Who should I see if I'm concerned about kidney stones?

If you have any symptoms listed above, or you’re concerned about your chances of getting a kidney stone, visit your primary care provider (the doctor or provider you might see for your yearly physical). Bring a list of your symptoms, health history, concerns and questions. Depending on how the conversation goes, you may need a diagnostic test or you might be referred to a urologist.