Staghorn or Struvite Kidney Stones – Symptoms

Early Signs & Symptoms of Staghorn ( Struvite )Kidney Stones  

A lesser known type of kidney stone is the struvite stone.  Magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate are the key elements involved in the formation of this stone variety.  This sort is also known by the name of triple phosphates and is associated with urinary tract infection.  The bacteria infecting the urinary tract leaves behind waste products that combine with the minerals present within to form a solid mass.  Urine of high pH with more of ammonium or magnesium hydroxide/phosphate compounds, stimulate the formation of struvite stones.  A struvite kidney stone sufferer with frequent episodes of urinary tract infections can compromise the health of the kidneys in the long run.

Staghorn Kidney Stones – Symptoms

It is vital to eradicate struvite stones in their entirety first.  Even microscopic fragments that are left behind can grow rapidly from the bacteria trapped inside.  It is the bacteria that influence urea to form ammonium as well as increase urine alkalinity.  Urea is the principal solid component of urine and the end product of protein decomposition.

Struvite stones can develop into staghorn kidney calculus.  Staghorns are basically branching stones that look somewhat similar to antlers.  The developed stone occupies a part of the pelvis cavity as well as one or two calyces giving it an antler shape.  While any kidney stone variety can take this form, staghorns are usually associated with struvite stones.


Unacceptable abdominal pain is a chief symptom that notifies the physician to perform diagnostic tests that help in determining the presence of kidney stones.  The pain can be so severe that the sufferer will find it hard to sit or stand comfortably in one place for long.  This pain is experienced while the stone makes its journey from its point of origin to the exit stage.  Pain is never noticed when the stone is in the phase of development, but felt when it travels from the kidneys through the ureters to enter the urinary bladder.  During its way out of the kidneys, flank pain, back pain or lower abdominal pain will be felt in some.  As it tries to enter the urinary bladder, pain will be noted around the groin area.  While it tries to force itself out during urination, a burning sensation or pain while discharging urine may be observed.

Pain from kidney stones can weaken the person to the extent of impeding with their activities of daily living.  A prescription for pain meds is usually given to help the person deal with kidney stone pains.  It is also common for the individual to experience a lack of appetite either from the pain or pain meds, accompanied by nausea and vomiting.  Popping in pills with less intake of food will only increase vomiting episodes making the situation even more difficult to handle.

Foul smelling and cloudy urine is also a common phenomenon for struvite kidney stone sufferers.  This is because of the infection occurring in the urinary tract.

Blood in urine, which may be only microscopically visible, is usually due to small amounts of blood emitting from the urinary tract walls that have been scantily damaged by the sharp edges of the stones.  Slightly heavier bleeding can give urine a pinkish hue.