Kidney Stones Home > Types of Kidney Stones

There are different kinds of kidney stones, each of which contains various combinations of chemicals. The four most common types contain calcium, struvite, uric acid, or cystine. Depending on which of the four kidney stone types you have, your doctor will advise you as to which treatment options and preventive measures are best for you.

Types of Kidney Stones: An Introduction

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms in the kidney out of substances in the urine. Normally, urine contains chemicals that prevent or inhibit the crystals from forming. However, these inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone.
Kidney stones may contain various combinations of chemicals. The four most common types of kidney stones contain:
  • Calcium
  • Struvite
  • Uric acid
  • Cystine.

Calcium (Oxalate or Phosphate)

The most common kidney stone type contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. These are called calcium oxalate stones or calcium phosphate kidney stones, respectively. Calcium is a normal part of a healthy diet and makes up important parts of the body, such as bones and muscles. Calcium that is not used by the bones and muscles goes to the kidneys. In most people, the kidneys flush out the extra calcium in the urine. However, when calcium stays in the kidneys, it joins with other waste products to form a calcium kidney stone.


A struvite stone, also known as an infection stone, may form after there is an infection in the urinary system. This type of kidney stone contains the mineral magnesium and the waste product ammonia.

Uric Acid

A uric acid stone may form when there is too much acid in the urine. If you tend to form uric acid stones, you may need to cut back on the amount of meat that you eat.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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