Effectively treating kidney stones involves correctly identifying the type of the problem and prescribing the correct remedy for them. Here are the four types of kidney stones and tips for preventing their formation.
Calcium stones are the most common type of this problem; these are composed of calcium compounds, mainly calcium oxalate, although calcium phosphate may also be present. This condition is caused by high levels of calcium in the system, which may be the result of conditions such as hyperthyroidism. Thiazides or potassium citrate may be prescribed to prevent calcium stones from developing and stop existing ones from getting bigger.
Uric acid stones occur when uric acid, a waste product that is normally eliminated by the body, builds up. Causes of uric acid stones include low urine production, gout, and consumption of too much red meat, excessive alcohol consumption and inflammatory bowel disease. Sodium bicarbonate and potassium citrate prevent the urine from becoming too acidic, helping stop the development of uric acid problems.
Struvite stones may develop as a result of urinary tract infection or kidney infections; if they grow large enough, they can also be called staghorn calculi. These can be a serious condition because of their size and because they may be indicators of an infection; antibiotics may need to be prescribed.
The least common type of this condition is cystine stones, which may occur in families which have a genetic predisposition to cystinuria, a condition that results in excessive cystine in the system. Potassium citrate may also be used in treating kidney stones of this type, as well as medicines such as penicillamine and captopril which help keep cystine dissolved in the urine.