Types of Kidney Stones

There are four basic types of kidney stones, each with its own composition and cause. Some kidney stones run in families, while others are related to lifestyle factors, such as diet. While additional substances such as certain medications can also form rare kinds of stones, the following types are the most prevalent.

  • Calcium stones: This most common type of kidney stone forms when calcium in the urine combines with additional substances, including oxalate (found in foods such as spinach and vitamin C supplements), phosphate, or carbonate. The risk of developing this type of stone is increased by diseases of the small intestine.

  • Struvite stones: Most often found in women with a urinary tract infection, this type of stone contains magnesium and ammonia and can become large enough to block the bladder, ureter, or kidney.

  • Uric acid stones: Believed to be linked to consuming too much protein, this type of stone is more common in men than in women.

  • Cystine stones: This type of stone forms in people with cystinuria, a hereditary condition that causes an excess of an amino acid called cystine.  

Mount Sinai’s Kidney Stone Disease Program treats the full range of kidney stones and offers multiple treatment options, including lithotripsy (a process using high-energy shock waves to crush the stone), surgery, and laser procedures.


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