Understanding the 4 Types of Kidney Stones and Available Treatment Options for Recovery

Learn about the various types of kidney stones and the treatment protocols to alleviate their pain and prevent associated infections.

4 Kinds Of Kidney Stones You Need To Know About And Treatment Options For Cure
4 Kinds Of Kidney Stones You Need To Know About And Treatment Options For Cure

Kidney stones pose significant challenges in treatment, often leading to complications and necessitating surgery if not detected early. These hardened deposits, composed of minerals and salts, form within the kidneys and can adversely affect the bladder and urinary tract, resulting in excruciating pain. Although passing kidney stones typically doesn’t cause permanent damage, their presence can predispose the body to numerous infections. While certain medications and dietary adjustments can help manage kidney stones, their treatment approaches vary depending on their specific composition. In this discussion, we’ll explore the primary types of kidney stones and the available treatment modalities.

What exactly are kidney stones

Kidney stones are solid formations that develop in the kidneys due to the accumulation of various minerals. According to Dr. Arvindam K Swamy, a nephrology expert at Max Super Speciality Hospital in Kochi, these stones typically form due to dietary patterns, obesity, or specific medical conditions. While mild cases are often attributed to dietary factors, more severe instances may be related to kidney issues or urinary tract infections.

What exactly are kidney stones

Symptoms of kidney stones typically include intense pain in the lower abdomen or kidney area. However, early detection allows for effective treatment, usually involving increased hydration and the use of medications. Kidney stones come in various types such as calcium, cystine, uric acid, and struvite, and they can develop in the kidneys, bladder, urethra, or ureters.

Different Varieties of Kidney Stones

Types of Kidney Stones:

Kidney stones can comprise various types of crystals, necessitating awareness of the risk factors associated with each type.

Calcium Stones:

Predominantly occurring among individuals with kidney stones, calcium stones consist mainly of calcium (phosphate). Their formation often stems from excessive consumption of oxalate-rich foods, such as chocolate, beets, spinach, peanuts, and potato chips. Controlling the intake of oxalate-rich foods can mitigate the risk of developing these stones. Interestingly, adequate calcium intake from childhood minimizes the likelihood of calcium stone formation.

Uric Acid Stones:

Stones composed of uric acid can be excruciatingly painful and challenging to pass. They frequently afflict individuals undergoing chemotherapy or experiencing gout-related issues, with a higher prevalence in men than women. Uric acid stones develop when urine becomes more acidic than usual, often due to high purine levels in the diet. Foods rich in purines, particularly animal proteins like fish, shellfish, and meats, can elevate the risk of uric acid stone formation.

Uric Acid Stones:

Struvite Stones:

Commonly found in women with urinary tract infections, struvite stones can grow quite large, causing significant pain and urinary difficulties. These stones typically result from kidney infections, and treating the underlying infections can alleviate and cure struvite stones. However, accurate diagnosis is crucial to ensure no underlying conditions are overlooked or untreated.

Cystine Stones:

Although less common, cystine stones primarily stem from a genetic disorder affecting both men and women called cystinuria. This disorder leads to the formation of cystine, an acidic substance that leaks from the kidneys into the urine, contributing to kidney stone formation.

Methods of Treating Kidney Stones

The treatment approach and procedure for kidney stones vary depending on factors such as the type of stones, their severity, and location. Surgery is typically a last resort, considered when stones cannot be dissolved or treated through other means. Initial methods may involve medications and dietary adjustments.

Dr. Arvindam Swamy recommends his patients to consume a minimum of 8 glasses of water daily to enhance urine flow. Many patients who adhered to this regimen successfully avoided surgery or intensive medications. Individuals prone to dehydration may experience nausea and frequent vomiting, requiring intravenous fluids to maintain hydration.


Primary treatment often involves medications tailored to the type of kidney stone present in the body. Antibiotics may be prescribed accordingly:

  • Zyloprim for Uric acid stones
  • Thiazide diuretics and phosphorus solutions for calcium stone formation
  • Sodium bicarbonate and sodium citrate to alkalize urine
  • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen for pain relief


This procedure employs shock waves to fragment stones within the body, facilitating their passage into the bladder. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy may require light anesthesia due to discomfort, and in some cases, it can cause bruising or bleeding around the kidney.

Methods of Treating Kidney Stones


When stones become lodged in the bladder or ureter, ureteroscopy is often employed. This involves inserting an instrument with a camera through the urethra into the bladder, then using a small cage to extract or dislodge the stone to prevent reoccurrence.

Tunnel Surgery:

This surgical option is reserved for cases where other treatments have failed or are unsuitable. A small incision is made in the back, allowing the surgeon to access and remove the kidney stones. Tunnel surgery may be necessary when:

  • Stones are too large to pass through the bladder
  • Stones cause obstruction or infection in the kidney or elsewhere in the body
  • Pain management becomes challenging for the patient