Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
TUCC | The Urology Center of Colorado Logo

What Causes Kidney Stones and Are They Common?

10% of Americans are expected to experience a kidney stone at some point in their life. The occurrence of kidney stones is on the rise among children, and still remains more prevalent in midlife. Let’s delve into the causes of kidney stones and what puts a person at higher risk.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

There are several causes forman holding his back in pain. kidney stones and many conditions that could predispose an individual to experience kidney stones in their lifetime. Some of the most common causes and conditions include:

  • Dehydration: Drinking plenty of water ensures a high-function urinary system, flushing the mineral build-up. 
  • High salt (sodium) intake: Calcium tends to follow high concentrations of sodium excretion in the urine. Limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg daily.
  • High protein intake: Diets rich in meat, fish, and chicken lower urinary pH and cause increased excretion of uric acid, which causes kidney stones.
  • Genetics: A family history of kidney stones may indicate you have an increased propensity to form stones.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency: This leads to increased formation and excretion of calcium oxalate, the most common form of kidney stones. 
  • Too many vitamins/supplements: Excessive vitamin C intake, calcium supplementation, and antacids containing calcium may also lead to stone formation. 

The recommended dietary allowance for calcium (1,000-1,200 mg/day) WILL NOT cause kidney stones.

  • Geography: More stones are diagnosed in the southeast United States, earning the region the name “the kidney stone belt.”

How Common Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stone disease is one of the most common problems of the urinary system. The number of people in the U.S. with kidney stones has been steadily increasing for several years. 


Back in 1980, about three in every 100 people experienced a kidney stone at some point. In 1994, that number rose to about five in every 100 people. 


Today, one out of every 10 Americans will have a kidney stone during their lifetime. Kidney stones are also becoming more frequent in children, though it’s far more common for stones to occur in midlife. 


And while it’s much more common for men to get kidney stones, women are also susceptible to this problem of the urinary system. 

What Foods Cause Kidney Stones?

Overdoing it with salt, animal protein, and vitamin C could lead to kidney stones. However, pinpointing which foods could potentially cause kidney stones depends on the type of stone. 


As mentioned earlier in this article, there are different kidney stones, each with a unique mineral composition. Consult your urologist before making any dietary changes, as this will depend on your type of stone. The best stone prevention you can do is increase fluid intake and limit sodium in your diet.

Limit your intake of high-oxalate foods, such as:


  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Miso soup
  • Grits
  • Baked potatoes with skin
  • Beets
  • Cocoa powder
  • Okra
  • Bran cereals and shredded wheat cereals
  • French fries
  • Raspberries
  • Stevia sweeteners
  • Sweet potatoes


Limit animal-protein-rich foods, such as:

  • Organ meats, like chicken or beef liver
  • Milk, cheese, and other dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Seafood

Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones?

While there is no direct link between alcohol use and kidney stones, excessive alcohol use is linked to many other health problems. 

This can include kidney damage, kidney failure, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and alcohol use disorders. Some of these conditions can negatively impact the renal system.

Do Energy Drinks Cause Kidney Stones?

There are currently no studies linking energy drinks specifically to kidney stones; however, many of the ingredients found in energy drinks have been known to contribute to the development of kidney stones. The two biggest culprits are:



  • Sodium: Consuming too much sodium can also increase urine calcium. A crucial part of preventing calcium kidney stones is a low-sodium diet.

Does Creatine Cause Kidney Stones?

Yes. Studies have linked creatine to the formation of kidney stones. As such, anyone using a creatine supplement should take extra care of their renal system. 

Does Coffee Cause Kidney Stones?

Good news, coffee enthusiasts: A recent study states that higher coffee and caffeine consumption may cause a reduction in kidney stones.

Can Kidney Stones Cause Gastrointestinal Problems?

One of the possible symptoms of kidney stones is nausea, vomiting, and general stomach discomfort. As such, kidney stones are indeed linked to gastrointestinal problems. 

To discuss your personal risk with a kidney stone expert, contact The Urology Center of Colorado at 303-825-8822 to schedule an evaluation today.

We’re here to help.

For appointments at any TUCC location, request an appointment online.