Types of kidney stones

Types of kidney stones

Kidney stones can develop for a number of reasons. The causes of the four main types of kidney stone are outlined below.

Calcium stones.

Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone and form if there’s too much calcium in the urine, which can be due to:

  • an inherited condition called hypercalcuria, which leads to large amounts of calcium in urine
  • an overactive parathyroid gland (the parathyroid glands help to regulate the amount of calcium in your body)
  • kidney disease
  • a rare condition called sarcoidosis
  • some cancers

Calcium stones are usually either large and smooth or spiky and rough.

Calcium stones

Calcium stones

Struvite stones.

Struvite stones are often caused by infections, and they most commonly occur after a urinary tract infection that’s lasted a long time.

Struvite stones are more common in women than men.

Struvite stones

Struvite stones

Uric acid stones.

Uric acid stones can form if there’s a large amount of acid in your urine. They may be caused by:

  • eating a high-protein diet that includes lots of meat
  • a condition such as gout that prevents the body breaking down certain chemicals 
  • an inherited condition that causes higher than normal levels of acid in the body
  • chemotherapy
Uric acid stones

Uric acid stones

Cystine stones.

Cystine stones are the rarest type of kidney stone. They’re caused by an inherited condition called cystinuria, which affects the amount of acid that is passed in your urine.

Cystine stones

Cystine stones

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