Types of Kidney Stones

There are four basic types of kidney stones, each with its own cause and composition. Some kidney stones run in families, others are related to lifestyle factors such as diet.

Common types of kidney stones include:

  • Calcium stones are the most common kidney stones. They form when calcium in the urine combines with additional substances such as oxalate (found in foods such as spinach and vitamin C supplements), phosphate, or carbonate. Your risk of developing this type of stone is higher if you have a disease of the small intestine.
  • Struvite stones occur most often in women with urinary tract infections. These stones contain magnesium and ammonia and can become large enough to block the bladder, ureter, or kidney.
  • Uric acid stones are often linked to consuming too much protein. These stones are more common in men than in women.
  • Cystine stones form in people with cystinuria, a hereditary condition that causes an excess of an amino acid called cystine.