Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals that can form inside the body’s kidneys. The kidneys remove wastes and extra water from the blood through urine.
A lot of materials pass through the kidneys with the urine, including a variety of minerals. When these minerals do not fully pass through or do not dissolve adequately, they can form into hard lumps – called kidney stones – that are difficult to pass through urination.
But why do kidney stones happen? Is there a genetic tie? Below we talk about the various reasons why you may be susceptible to developing a kidney stone.
Can Genetics Cause Kidney Stones?
Individuals who inherit certain traits and tendencies from their family are more likely to experience kidney stones as a result. Here are some examples of health conditions that can make you more likely to develop a kidney stone:
This is a condition that causes too much calcium to build up in the urine. Too much calcium in the urine can promote a stone to form in a kidney.
While hypercalciuria is rare, it tends to be passed on through genetics. Therefore, an individual with a parent or close relative with hypercalciuria has a higher risk of developing it – and, in turn, developing kidney stones.
This condition can cause too little citrate to pass through the urine. Citrate can help to prevent kidney stones from developing because it breaks down a lot of buildup, particularly calcium.
One way to prevent citrate levels from getting too low is to drink more lemonade, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Your urologist can give you specific recommendations for your own case.
This condition causes too much cystine – which is an amino acid – to develop in the kidneys, ureters, and/or bladder. Cystinuria causes large buildups of cysteine and the eventual formation of kidney stones.
Cystinuria is a rare condition that is passed on genetically. It is an autosomal recessive disease, which means that the person with cystinuria received two mutated genes with this defect – one from each parent.
Other Reasons Why Kidney Stones Can Develop
In addition to genetics, there are a variety of reasons why kidney stones can form. Below are some of the most common causes:
An individual’s diet can impact their likelihood of developing kidney stones. Certain foods increase the chances of kidney stone formation because they contain high amounts of minerals that are prone to causing kidney stones.
For example, foods like spinach, grits, and rhubarb are high-oxalate foods that cause calcium and oxalate to stick together and form stones. Other problematic foods are those that are high in sodium and animal protein.
Lack of Water Consumption
Water is an essential way the body prevents kidney stones. The water content in urine dissolves minerals so stones do not form. When there is too little water available in the body, minerals have more chances of forming into lump deposits in the kidney.
Digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease cause a variety of problems throughout the digestive system, including in the kidneys. When water intake and outtake is affected because of these conditions, it can impact the way the kidneys do their job and end up causing kidney stones.
Urologist in Phoenix
If you have a family history of kidney stones, it’s time to talk to a urologist to ensure you take the right precautions to reduce your risk of developing them. Dr. Desiderio Avila, Jr. of Ironwood Urology has years of experience treating all kinds of urology issues, especially pertaining to men’s health.
Call (480) 961-2323 to make an appointment today, or request an appointment online. You can trust our medical team to help you feel great and achieve optimal health.