Similar Stones

Kidney stones and gallstones are linked

(RxWiki News) Obesity, diabetes, and an overall unhealthy diet can put people at risk for both kidney stones and gallstones. Now, it seems the link between these two types of painful stones involves more than the risk factors they share.

People with a history of kidney stones have an increased risk of gallstones, and those with a history of gallstones have a greater risk for kidney stones.

"Eat healthy to prevent kidney stones and gallstones."

Eric N. Taylor, M.D., M.Sc., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues studied the relation between kidney stones and gallstones. Some research has already shown a link between the two conditions, but Dr. Taylor and his fellow researchers say that evidence is limited.

Kidney stones form when there is too much of certain substances in the urine. These substances can produce small crystals that gather into stones. Similarly, gallstones form when the liquid (bile) inside the gallbladder hardens into a stone-like substance.

For their study, Dr. Taylor and his colleagues used data from three different studies of nurses and doctors. In all, over 240,000 were followed for 14 to 24 years.

The researchers found that men with a history of gallstones were 28 percent more likely to develop kidney stones, compared to men without a history of gallstones. Older women with a history of gallstones were 26 percent more likely to get kidney stones, compared to those without a gallstone history. Younger women with a gallstone history were 32 percent more likely to get kidney stones, compared to those without a gallstone history.

The relationship also worked the other way around: people with a history of kidney stones were between 17 and 51 percent more likely to develop a gallstone.

This study strengthens the evidence of a link between these two painful conditions. However, the study's authors say that more research is needed to find what underlying processes these conditions share.

The results of the study are published in the Journal of Urology.

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Review Date: 
October 18, 2011