What is Nephrolithiasis?

Nephrolithiasis is a condition which occurs due to the formation of hard deposits of minerals and salts in a person’s kidneys. These deposits are also known as kidney stones. Kidney stones can disturb the functions of the kidneys, the urinary tract and the bladder. The stones can be passed out of the body along with urine and cause no permanent damage if they're detected at an early stage. However, they may get stuck in the urinary tract and lead to complications (urinary infections) if they are larger in size.


The prominent signs and symptoms of Nephrolithiasis include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen area
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Fever
  • Decreased amount of urine


Nephrolithiasis often has no specific cause. Kidney stones are generally formed when the urine contains excess of crystal-forming substances like calcium, oxalate and uric acid and lacks substances that prevent crystals from joining together. This creates a perfect environment for the formation of kidney stones.


The risk factors associated with Nephrolithiasis include:

  • Family history: Nephrolithiasis could be running in the family lines of a person and can be passed on to the next generations.
  • Consumption of less water can increase the risk of kidney stones. Excessively warm climates and sweating dehydrates the body quicker than normal which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
  • Unbalanced diet: Consumption of a high protein and a high sodium diet may cause. An excessive amount of salt in the diet also increases the risk of kidney stones.
  • People who are obese have a higher risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Diseases like renal tubular acidosis, cystinuria, hyperparathyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea can increase the levels of stone-forming substances in the urine.


Nephrolithiasis can be prevented by drinking enough water throughout the day, eating fewer oxalate-rich foods (like spinach, sweet potato, nuts, okra and soy products) and consuming a low salt and a low protein diet. 

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor may perform the following screening tests in order to confirm the presence of kidney stones:


How is it treated?

Kidney stones are treated on the basis of the size of stones and the underlying cause. If the stones are small, they don’t require treatment and can be passed out of the body along with the urine. However, if they are large in size, they may lea..

  • Drinking water

    Drinking 1.9 to 2.8 liters of water daily helps in passing the stones out of the body.

  • Pain relievers

    Pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are given to relieve the pain that is caused while passing the stones out of the body.

  • Medication

    Medicines like alpha blockers relax the muscles of the ureters and help in passing the kidney stone easily.

  • Shock wave lithotripsy

    Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a procedure that uses sound waves and vibrations to break up kidney stones into tiny pieces that can be passed in your urine.

  • Surgery

    The doctor may opt for a surgery using small telescopes and instruments that are inserted into the patient’s back in order to remove the stones. The doctor recommends this method when the kidney stones are very large in size.

When do I contact the doctor?

One should consult the doctor if any signs and symptoms of Nephrolithiasis like pain in the abdomen area, nausea and vomiting, blood in urine or difficulty in urination are observed.

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How does Medanta provide care?

Medanta ensures expert care for its patients who are diagnosed with Nephrolithiasis at the Institute of Kidney and Urology.

The institute is a unique resource for patients who are suffering from any disorder associated with the urina..

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