Risk Factors for Kidney Stones

A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop kidney stones with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing kidney stones.

Personal or family history of kidney stones is one of the more common factors. Kidney stones are also more common in adults under 40 years old who are Caucasian or Asian. Risk factors for specific types of kidney stones include:

  • Excess dietary sodium and oxalate. Oxalate can be found in green, leafy vegetables, chocolate, nuts, or tea.
  • Low fluid intake, especially during warmer weather, which can lead to dehydration
  • Overactive parathyroid gland
  • Chronic bowel disorders such as Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Some diuretics
  • Calcium-based antacids
  • History of urinary infection
  • More common in women
  • Excess dietary red meat or poultry
  • Gout

A rare genetic disorder increases risk of cystine stones.

Revision Information

  • Kidney stones and ureteral stones. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=148 . Accessed April 16, 2013.

  • Kidney stones in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults . Updated January 28, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.

  • Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated March 22, 2013 . Accessed April 16, 2013.

  • Pietrow PK, Karellas ME. Medical management of common urinary calculi. Am Fam Physician . 2006;74(1):86-94.