What Causes Kidney Stones: Supplements, Medications, and More

Kidney stones are hard deposits composed of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including diet, excess body weight, certain medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications. Taking 1 gram of vitamin C a day (the amount found in many immune supplements) can increase the risk of kidney stones by 40% in people with a history of stones. A study conducted to examine the association between vitamin B6 and C intake and the risk of kidney stone formation in women showed a significant number of cases of high levels of calcium in the blood and urine.

Kidney stones usually don't cause symptoms until they move into the kidney or pass into one of the ureters. Signs and symptoms may include severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and blood in the urine. If a kidney stone lodges in the ureters, it can block the flow of urine and cause the kidney to swell and the ureter to contract, which can be very painful. Your doctor may recommend preventive treatment to reduce your risk of recurring kidney stones if you're at greater risk of developing them again.

Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than taking pain medications and drinking lots of water to get rid of a kidney stone. The National Kidney Foundation provides useful information on diet and kidney stones, which form when crystals build up in the urine. Kidney stones form when the urine contains more crystal-forming substances than the liquid in the urine can dilute. For some men, taking a supplement that contains as little as 250 mg of vitamin C a day may increase the risk of stones.

If you or someone in your family has had kidney stones, you're more likely to have them. The relationship between vitamin B6 and C intake and the risk of symptomatic kidney stones was prospectively studied in a cohort of 85,557 women with no history of kidney stones. While the 12-month study didn't include any cases of kidney stones, it did show a significant number of cases of high levels of calcium in the blood and urine.The most common type of kidney stone occurs when calcium and oxalate come together when the kidneys produce urine. Kidney stones often don't have a single cause, and there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing them.

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