Healthy kidneys maintain your body’s proper chemical balance, but certain chemicals can build up in the kidneys and form a “stone,” which may stay in the kidney or move into the urinary tract. If the stones continue to grow, they can cause intense pain as they travel through the urinary tract and out of the body.
Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. An estimated 10 percent of Americans will experience kidney stones in their lifetime. Kidney stones account for about 600,000 emergency room visits each year. Men are more likely to have kidney stones than women, while Caucasians are five times more likely to have kidney stones than African Americans. Kidney stones occur most frequently in people between 40 and 50 years of age, and the incidence tends to decline after age 50.