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Kidney Stone Conditions

Kidney Stone Conditions

Kidney stones form when normal substances found in the urine become highly concentrated. Certain conditions in the urine contribute to stone formation. These conditions include:

  • Hypercalciuria
  • Hypocitraturia
  • Cystinuria


Hypercalciuria means the urine has very high levels of calcium. This can be caused by several factors: 

  • High calcium in the urine caused by diet. Having high amounts of sodium and protein in your diet can cause hypercalciuria. It is not caused by too much calcium in the diet. 
  • Some medications can cause hypercalciuria.  
  • Hypercalciuria is the most common genetic cause of kidney stones. About half of the family members of someone with hypercalciuria will also have high calcium in their urine. Some will form stones and some will not. There are likely several causes for hypercalciuria involving different genes.   

In addition to stones, hypercalciuria can cause painless bleeding, urinary frequency and urgency, burning with urination, and urinary tract infections. Some children will need a bone density study looking for osteoporosis if their hypercalciuria continues.


Hypocitraturia means there are low levels of citrate in the urine. Low citrate can be related to diet or medications. 

  • Citrate helps remove extra calcium in the urine and can help prevent calcium crystals from forming kidney stones.  
  • When citrate is low in the urine, calcium and uric acid kidney stones can form.  

This condition can be corrected with medications and changes to your child’s diet.


Cystinuria is a cause of persistent kidney stones. Cystinuria means there is too much cystine in the urine. This is an inherited condition that is passed down from a parent to a child. The risk of having cystine stones will be present throughout a child’s entire life. 

Cystinuria is caused by defects in two specific genes. These defects prevent the body from reabsorbing certain amino acids, one of which is called cystine. These amino acids become concentrated in the urine. When cystine builds up in the urine, crystals form, resulting in kidney stones.

Cystinuria usually causes no symptoms. However, once a stone is formed, or if stone formation is frequent, symptoms may be present.

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dull ache, “colicky” pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Painful urination

Treatment begins with a combination of medication and changes in your child’s diet. However, once stones have formed, treatment begins with ESWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy). If ESWL does not work, surgery may be required.

Last Updated 03/2017

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The Stone Center team cares for patients with conditions related to stones in the urinary tract.

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