Uric Acid Nephrolithiasis

Uric Acid Nephrolithiasis: An Overview

Uric acid nephrolithiasis is a type of kidney stone caused when excess uric acid crystals accumulate in the kidney. These crystals can form stones that can block the urinary tract and cause pain and discomfort. Uric acid stones are more common in individuals who have gout, diabetes, certain genetic syndromes, or are obese. The condition is treatable and there are ways to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Causes of Uric Acid Nephrolithiasis

Uric acid nephrolithiasis is caused when excess uric acid crystallizes in the kidney. This can occur when urine contains too much uric acid or when the urine is too acidic. The following conditions can make it more likely for an individual to develop an uric acid stone:

  • Gout, a condition in which the body cannot break down uric acid quickly
  • Diabetes, which can irritate the urinary tract and make it difficult to regulate uric acid
  • Genetic syndromes, such as hyperuricemia, which can cause an increase in uric acid levels in the blood
  • Being overweight or obese, which can lead to an increase in uric acid levels

Symptoms of Uric Acid Nephrolithiasis

The symptoms of uric acid nephrolithiasis can depend on the size and location of the stones in the kidney. The most common symptom is intense pain in the side of the affected kidney. Other symptoms may include blood in the urine, chills, fever, and nausea or vomiting.

Diagnosis of Uric Acid Nephrolithiasis

If an individual suspects they may have an uric acid stone, a health care provider may order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Tests may include urinalysis, imaging tests, blood tests, or x-rays. The health care provider will also want to review the individual’s family and medical history to assess their risk factors.

Treatment of Uric Acid Nephrolithiasis

If the stone is small enough, a doctor may recommend that the individual drink plenty of water to help pass the stone. If the stone is too large and is blocking the urinary tract, a doctor may recommend medication or surgery to remove it. A doctor may also suggest dietary changes, such as increasing fluid intake and reducing animal protein, in order to decrease the risk of uric acid stone recurrence.