Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside of your kidneys.
Kidney stones have a lot of causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract — from your kidneys to your bladders. Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be quite painful; however, the stones usually cause no permanent damage if they’re recognized in a timely fashion. Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In some instances — for instance, if stones become lodged in the urinary tract, are associated with a urinary infection or cause complications — surgery may be required.
Your doctor may recommend preventive treatment to lower your risk of recurrent kidney stones if you’re at increased risk of developing them once more.