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Date of last update: 10/09/2017.

Forum Name: Nephrology Symptoms

Question: Frequent kidney stones

 carolena - Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:23 pm

I am 34 year old female, I have been getting kidney stones since I was 18. Over the past 2 years they have been coming with increased frequency, last year I passed 10 stones and got 3 UTI infections. The urologist I see said we are out of things to test to determine why I make them. I do know the stones are calcium oxalate, the oxalate level in my 24 hour urine was 30. I have been reading some about the parathyroid, mine was checked last year and it was 47.3, my urine calcium was 8.9, which I understand are in the normal ranges. Do these numbers ever fluctuate? would it be appropriate to retest them? Do you have any suggestions about what further tests I could have to help determine the cause. I am also concerned are there any long term complications I should be concerned about if I continue to make stones throughout my lifetime? My family has taken to calling me pebbles due to my frequent stones, any help would be appreciated.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:27 pm

User avatar Hello --

Some people do seem to make far more kidney stones than others (and many, of course, never make any). However, I believe there's usually an underlying cause, and many times it does involve the parathyroid. And while your calcium level was definitely in the normal range, this has absolutely no bearing on whether or not a person has hyperparathyroidism. Surprising, but true. Calcium metabolism often does not work in ways one might expect, and levels can be normal in urine or serum but not be going where they need to be. Calcium can also be removed by the kidneys to keep the levels normal, but wind up forming lots of kidney stones, which of course don't show up as calcium in urine or serum, but simply as stones.

While both calcium and PTH levels can fluctuate a good deal, it's generally believed that frequent kidney stones, even with normal calcium levels, and a PTH which is not in the upper range of normal (that would be you -- yours was just plain normal), are considered likely to have hyperparathydoidism (a difficult diagnosis based on the numbers alone, obviously), and only a parathyroid sestimibi scan for tumors or other abnormalities will really yield any useful information, but the very fact you've produced so many kidney stones is strongly suggestive that you do have HPT. I hope your doctor will exhaust all the avenues of testing, including a scan, so you can be treated for this if appropriate. It can make a huge difference in the way you feel and, especially, in the production (or stopping production) of the stones.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you with this, and please do follow up with us here as needed.
 meatlover - Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:35 pm


I hear conflicting information on the health benefits of spinach. I've always heard that it is one of the most healthy vegetables for you. However, I was searching online and found multiple sources stating that spinach can also cause kidney stones... is that true? If so, why is eating spinach so highly recommended?

 John Kenyon, CNA - Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:19 am

User avatar Meatlover: Spinach contains a certain amount of fiber, as well as high levels of vitamin K and more than average of A as well. I have no idea why eating significant amounts would lead to formation of kidney stones, but as with all things, too much of anything will usually have some sort of unwanted result. I don't see too much of a downside to excess spinach except for the vitamin K, which helps one's blood to clot normally. So long as you're active, well-hydrated and have no clotting problems a nominal amount of spinach in the diet shouldn't be worse than any other dark green leafy vegetable.

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