Kidney Stones 101
The Patient's Guide To Understanding Kidney Stone Disease

Causes of Kidney Stones

Preventing Kidney Stones

Symptoms of Kidney Stone

Kidney Stone Removal

Calcium Kidney Stones

Cystine Kidney Stones

Struvite Kidney Stones

Uric Acid Kidney Stones






Cystine kidney stones are the result of excess cystine in the urine, also known as cystinuria.  Cystinuria is a genetic disorder present at birth.  It involves the defective transport of several amino acids through the kidneys and sometimes the intestinal tract.  This means that the kidneys can't fully absorb the amino acids, which is the building block of protein.  

Due to the fact that cystinuria is present at birth, some people may begin forming stones in their infancy or childhood.  Which in turn brings a potential lifetime of chronic pain.  Because cystine excretions in the urine are so frequent, it is important for people to find a doctor with a great deal of experience and understanding of this disease, as its necessary for constant follow up care.  It is common for cystinuria patients to pass several large stones a day, because of the amount of cystine that is inhibited by the kidneys.  However, sometimes this can take up to week or longer.  The stones can also form overnight, which is why water intake is important overnight as well as the daytime.  It is suggested that adults with cystinuria drink enough water to produce at least 4 liters of urine a day, as well as frequent urination overnight.  Cystine is present in just about every type of food, so patients should just avoid foods containing animal protein. 

Surgical treatment for these types of stones can be more complicated than treatment for any other type of kidney stone.  This is because the stone doesn't respond well to lithotripsy because of its genetic compound and density.  But I did hear of a case where the urologist used the percutaneous nephrolithotomy to remove the stones.  Multiple open surgeries or percutaneous procedures are normally avoided in mild stone cases because it is important to preserve kidney tissue. 









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