Kidney stones on the rise, study finds

February 13, 2018, Mayo Clinic
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Kidney stones are a painful health condition, often requiring multiple procedures at great discomfort to the patient. Growing evidence suggests that the incidence of kidney stones is increasing steadily, especially in women. Using data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, Mayo Clinic researchers investigated the rise in stone formers to determine if this is a new trend, or simply an improvement in the way kidney stones are detected. Their findings appear in the March issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Focusing on gender, age and formation, researchers examined first-time presenters of kidney stones from residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, between 1984 and 2012. Their findings demonstrated that symptomatic stone formers tended to be female versus male, with the highest increase between women ages 18 to 39. Bladder stones were less frequent and tended to be more noticeable in men due to prostatic obstructions, while women had a higher frequency of infection stones as a result of recurrent urinary tract infections.

"Symptomatic kidney stones are becoming more common in both men and women," says Andrew Rule, M.D., lead investigator of this study. "This is due in part to the increased use of CT scans to diagnose kidney stones."

Dr. Rule noted that advances in imaging technology have allowed researchers to better examine and classify stone formation in patients than in days past. "We are now diagnosing symptomatic kidney stones that previously would have gone undiagnosed because they would not have been detected."

For patients who struggle with painful stones, dietary modifications are suggested to prevent future episodes. Such adjustments include drinking more water, lowering salt intake and cutting back on meat.

While results of this population-based study seem to suggest an uptick in the case of stone formation, further research is needed to clarify findings. The data came from a largely Caucasian area, and white people have a greater tendency toward , compared to other racial groups. Imaging techniques also have improved over the span in which the study was conducted. As Dr. Rule notes, the rise in stone formation among residents is notable; however, further assessment is needed to determine if this is a community increase or simply improvements in diagnostic capabilities.

Explore further: Research connects first-time kidney stone formers and chronic kidney disease

Related Stories

Research connects first-time kidney stone formers and chronic kidney disease

November 2, 2016
Mayo Clinic nephrologists have uncovered a connection between first-time kidney stone formers and chronic kidney disease. In a paper published today in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers announce a persistent decline in ...

A history of kidney stones may contribute to certain complications during pregnancy

November 5, 2017
Results from a new study suggest that a history of kidney stones may indicate an increased risk for metabolic and hypertensive complications during pregnancy and add support to a growing body of research linking kidney stones ...

Intestinal calcium absorption may ID individuals at risk of developing kidney stones

June 9, 2016
Measuring intestinal calcium absorption may help to identify individuals who are prone to develop kidney stones, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology ...

Why are kidney stones so painful?

March 21, 2017
Dear Mayo Clinic: How do doctors decide on the best treatment for kidney stones? When I had a calcium stone, my doctor gave me medication and told me to drink plenty of water until it passed. When my mother had one, she went ...

Greater risk for kidney stones in summer

August 7, 2015
Kidney stones affect approximately 3.8 million people in the U.S. each year and they are especially more common in the summer. The stones are described as small, hard deposits of mineral and acid salts that form when urine ...

Keep well hydrated to help keep kidney stones away

June 13, 2017
Each year, more than a million people in the U.S. will seek treatment for mild to severe pain caused by a kidney stone. Overall, one in 11 individuals in the U.S. will be affected by kidney stones at some time in their life. ...

Recommended for you

A multimodal intervention to reduce one of the most common healthcare-acquired infections

March 16, 2018
Surgical site infections are the most frequent health care-associated infections in developing countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this type of infection can affect up to one-third of surgical patients ...

New imaging approach offers unprecedented views of staph infection

March 14, 2018
Eric Skaar, PhD, MPH, marvels at the images on his computer screen—3-D molecular-level views of infection in a mouse. "I'm pretty convinced that these are the most advanced images in infection biology," said Skaar, Ernest ...

Parasitic worms need their intestinal microflora too

March 14, 2018
Scientists at The University of Manchester have cast new light on a little understood group of worm infections, which collectively afflicts 1 in 4 people, mainly children—in the developing the world.

Compound scores key win in battle against antibiotic resistance

March 14, 2018
Researchers at Oregon State University have made a key advance in the fight against drug resistance, crafting a compound that genetically neutralizes a widespread bacterial pathogen's ability to thwart antibiotics.

Helicobacter creates immune system blind spot

March 13, 2018
The gastric bacterium H. pylori colonizes the stomachs of around half the human population and can lead to the development of gastric cancer. It is usually acquired in childhood and persists life-long, despite a strong inflammatory ...

Taking the jab (and the chill) out of vaccination

March 13, 2018
Scientists in Cairns (Australia) and Cardiff (Wales) have taken an important first step towards solving two problems that hinder access to vaccines: they need to be kept cool, and no one likes needles.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.