Consumer Health: What do you know about kidney stones?

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March is National Kidney Month, which makes this a good time to learn more about kidney stones.

Kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. Diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications are among the many causes of kidney stones.

There may be no signs or symptoms of a kidney stone until it moves around within your kidney or moves into your ureter, but passing kidney stones can cause severe pain. If a kidney stone becomes lodged in the ureter, it may block the flow of urine, and cause the kidney to swell and the ureter to spasm, which can be very painful.

Other symptoms can include changes in urination, such as a persistent need to go, a need to go more frequently or urinating a smaller quantity than usual. There also could be changes in your urine, including a change in color to pink, red or brown, or your urine could become cloudy or foul-smelling. You also could experience nausea, vomiting, and fever and chills if an infection is present.

Learn more about the types of kidney stones, factors that might increase your risk of developing them and when you need to seek immediate medical attention.

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