Urinary tract stones (also known as urolithiasis) are precipitations of stone forming salts anywhere within the urinary system from the kidney down to the urethra. Urinary stones most commonly contain calcium as the major component. As stones grow, they can obstructing urine flow, causing significant pain primarily in the abdomen, groin or side-depending on location. If they become very large, they can damage kidney function or they may become dangerous in the setting of a urine infection and obstruction.
Urolithiasis affects 10-15% of Americans. Historically, stones were more common in middle age and in males, however, this is changing as more women and children are being diagnosed.