Do you know that weirdest stone can grow in human body? What?! This sounds odd! You may hardly accept the fact of the arrival of the “new stone” in the body. You may not believe me, but this is a fact.

Salivary Gland Calculi (Sialolithiasis)

The formation of non-cancerous stone (calcium-rich crystallized mineral or calculi) in the salivary gland (secrete saliva to help moisten and digest food) or duct (which drains the salivary gland), is medically termed as salivary gland calculi or sialolithiasis. Typically, approximately 80 to 90% of stone formation occurs in the submandibular gland (refers to angle of jaw, and the stone formation occurs here can obstruct Wharton’s duct), while 10 to 20% in the parotid gland duct (Stensen’s duct).

Most of the stone formations are due to the factors of anatomical factors (uphill course of whartons duct), viscosity of saliva (more mucous in the submandibular gland) and pH of saliva (alkaline in the submandibular gland, while acidic in the parotid gland). Very often, stone formation occurs in middle-aged males or those who age 30 to 50 years old but they’re rarely seen among children. The stone may result in painful swelling and discomfort of the gland particularly with eating, trauma and inflammation, swollen and red salivary glands which are connected to the mouth via ducts, and higher risk of salivary gland infections (such as infections from streptococcus viridians, haemophilus influenza, staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus pneumoniae), increased levels of calcium, and/or dehydration (phenothiazines).

Tonsil Stones (Tonsilloliths)

Tonsil stones or tonsilloliths refer to irregularly shaped, yellow/whitish, foul-smelling globs of mucus and bacteria in the back of your throat, which can sometimes be a chronic oral problem. They’re primarily seen in adults than in children. Larger tonsilloliths can be extremely annoying since they cause horrendous halitosis (or bad breath) which of course, can become a nightmare to meet or greet people. Smaller tonsilloliths generally cause no symptom, but the larger one can result in sore throat, a bad taste (sometimes a metallic taste) in the back of the throat, tonsil swelling, otalgia (ear pain), and difficulty in swallowing, throat closing or tightening, and choking.

Bronchopulmonary Lithiasis (or Broncholithiasis)

Lung calculus or broncholithiasis denotes the presence of ossified or calcified material within the lumen of the bronchus, causing inflammation, obstruction, and subsequent bronchial scarring. A broncholith is always formed by erosion or by extrusion of calcified portions of lung tissues or adjacent lymph node into the bronchial lumen, which is usually associated with long-standing foci of necrotizing granulomatous lymphadenitis, histoplasmosis (an infection caused by a fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum) or tuberculosis. The stone is very small because its thickness is less than 3mm. Due to its relatively smaller size, and thus it’s always mistaken for a foreign body or a tumor.

Pancreatic Stones (Pancreatic Calcification)

Pancreatic stones or pancreatic calcifications are irregular in shape, and grey-whitish in color. The larger pancreatic stones (also called tropical calcific pancreatitis (TCP) can even cause enormous tissue destruction. Generally, the calcifications happen when a combination of protein and calcium clogs the duct, and they’re often seen to occur during the course of chronic pancreatitis (the inflammation of the pancreas, which is a gland located in the abdomen) which is commonly associated with longstanding heavy use of alcohol, thyroid-related problems, and/ or autoimmune disease. They may cause multiple complications, including diarrhea (due to impaired release of pancreatic digestive enzymes), diabetes (due to a failure of the pancreas to produce insulin), chronic abdominal pain and inflammation of nerves within the obstruction of the pancreatic duct and pancreas (the damage to the pancreas in chronic pancreatitis is always permanent).

Nose Stone (or Rhinolith)

Rhinolith refers to the presence of a stone (calculus) within the nasal cavity. This medical phenomenon occurs primarily among the adults and can cause headache, migraine, nasal obstruction, epiphora (excessive tear production disorder) and sinusitis (inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which may be due to viral infection).

Ureteral stones

Ureteral stones are irregular, round, smooth, or jagged edged stones (calculus) that are formed naturally from the mineral salts in the urine and later they migrate into the kidney tubes (or ureters). Their color varies greatly to their chemical composition. Most of the ureteral stones are small, with diameter of 0.5cm. The presence of these stones is nuisance since they can block the flow of urine and lead to serious health complications (such as uremic poisoning, kidney damage, and even death). People with these stones developed usually have a first symptom of severe pain in the back or on either side of the abdomen. In severe case, one may feel a burning sensation while urinating or may see blood in the urine. Other symptoms may include nausea, weakness, profuse sweating, painful urination, fever, chills, cloudy or foul-smelling urine (due to infection), vomiting, frequent urination as well as strong urge to urinate. In most cases, drinking more fluids or reducing the intake on certain foods may help to prevent from getting ureteral stones.

Urethra stones

Urethra is a tube-like structure that carries urine from the bladder out of the body but sometimes, a stone from kidney, bladder or upper part of the urinary tract get stuck in the urethra. Most urethral stones are solitary, but can be multiple. Their size is small and their diameter is less than 2cm. Urethra stones are formed mostly from mineral crystals or stones in the urethral and are more common in male over the age of 40. People with a family record of kidney stones or any stone disease in the urinary tract, recurrent urinary tract infections, obstruction to the flow of urine, highly concentrated and alkaline (low acid) urine, urine concentration of calcium or other chemicals (such as oxalic acid, uric acid), bacterial infections, and those who have inadequate fluid intake and dehydration are more prone to have urethral stones. Urethral stones may produce symptoms of excruciating pain in the genital region and in the lower abdomen, bladder outlet obstruction, recurrent urethritis (inflammation (pain, redness and/or swelling) of the urethra), urinary tract infection, urine flow blockage, weakened urine stream and distending discomfort caused by the full bladder. It’s advisable to drink 8-10 ounce glasses of water daily, and patients should prompt treatment for urologic conditions or urinary tract infection and careful diet is particularly essential for those with known metabolic problems to help prevent the formation of urethra stones.

Dental Calculus

Over time, your teeth will be attached by a yellow or brown layer of the continual accumulation of minerals (such as calcium, phosphorus and other minerals) from saliva on the teeth surface. When the calculus formed above the gum margin (supra-gingival calculus), it’s less harmful; when it’s formed below the gum margin (sub-gingival calculus), it’s dangerous as it can produce pockets between gums and teeth that prevent it from being brushed off, and its existence can sometimes cause serious dental problems (such as periodontitis).

This plaque is called dental calculus (or dental tartar) which is usually caused by hardened dental plaque, and it’s a hard insoluble plaque that bonds to the tooth enamel along the gum line. This plaque can trigger the oral health by causing gum related diseases and inflammation of gums. Further, the bacteria that exist on the plaque produce acids that can take away the calcium from the tooth enamel (demineralization).

Pulmonary Alveolar Microlithiasis

In the medical world, there is a rare and slowly progressive disease called pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis (PAM) which can affect both lungs. It’s related to a long-term exposure to a heavily contaminated air and long-term smoking habits. This disease is characterized by the presence of small calculi (calcium phosphate) within the alveolar spaces or calcifications in both lungs predominantly in the middle part of the lungs. The size of the calculi ranges from 0.02 to 0.3cm. The prevalence symptoms of PAM include a periodic coughing, harden lungs, and expectoration (coughing up and splitting out phlegm or mucus). Currently, the effective way to cure this disease is by a therapy called lung transplantation.

Seminal vesicle calculi (stone)

Seminal vesicle calculi (seminal vesicular lithiasis or vesicular and ejaculatory duct calculi) are a rare condition of calcification that is always associated with urinary tract obstruction, anomalies, infection or urinary reflux into the ejaculatory ducts. They’re caused by poor circulation of ejaculatory duct and seminal vesiculitis (inflammation of a seminal vesicle). The stones are irregular in shape, smooth and hard when touched, and its occurrence is more prevalence among middle-age males. Hemospermia (blood in the ejaculate), painful ejaculation, infertility, and lower abdominal pain for several months are some of the commonly seen symptoms of seminal vesicle calculi.


The stone tends to be smooth, oval or round in shape, and laminated, with its size ranges from 1 to 4cm. People with acute appendicitis (chronic inflammation of the appendix) are always viewed to have calcified deposit within their appendix or in the adjacent perienteric soft tissue. With the presence of the stone, the initial pain is felt around the abdomen or the navel. Nevertheless, over the time, the pain can shift to the right lower part of the abdomen.

Stomach stone (Gastrolith)

Stomach stones (gastrolith, or stomachic calculus) are stones formed in the stomach. The presence of the stone is due to the chemical reaction of the digested foods within the stomach and the gastric juice, which gradually formed into a cohesive substance. When there is one or more gastroliths (calculi) in the stomach, it’s termed as gastrolithiasis. It’s somewhat odd to find calculus in human stomach as its occurrence is more prevalence among reptiles, fish and birds. Gastrolith is composed with minerals, but its main composition is composed by a plant component. Therefore, its formation is sometimes related to the consumption of persimmon. This is because persimmon contains abundant pectin and persimmon tannins that are easily integrated into a solid substance while contacting with the acidic property of gastric juice. It’s always advisable not to take persimmon more than two at a time to avoid the formation of gastrolith. Those who suffer from gastrolith generally will experience nausea, poor appetite, belching, vomiting, malabsorption (difficulty to digest or absorb nutrients from food via the gut lining into the bloodstream), weight loss, abdominal pain and other underlying symptoms.

Gout stone

The stones are formed within the auricular skin, fingers, toes and around the knee due to very high concentration of uric acid (note: uric acid is the end product of nucleoprotein (or purine nucleotide) metabolism in all cells found within the human body). When substantial amount of uric acid presents in the bloodstream, it may lead to the crystallization of the uric acid in the salt form. This condition will gradually form a gout stone that disrupts the harmonization of the body.

Usually, in an attempt to break up the stones, Extacorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is considered as the ideal option. It’s a treatment to break up biliary calculi (stones that formed in the liver or in the gallbladder) and kidney stones (urinary calculosis). Nevertheless, in a case that you’ve lesion or tumor developed within your ureter, bladder or urinary tract; serious urinary tract infection or obstructive uropathy (urinary tract obstruction), ESWL may not be an ideal method to get rid of the stones. Due to the urinary tract blockage, the smashed stones may not be able to be discharged via urination. Those who’ve chronic liver, lung, heart, kidney and other chronic health issues are also not encouraged to undergo ESWL as it may have triggered or worsen the existing health condition.

Intestinal stones (Enterolithiaisis)

Enterolithiasis refers to the presence of calculi in the intestine. It’s a rarely seen disease in humans, but it is more prevalence in animals (such as horses). Enteroliths are always formed within a diverticulum (a small pouch in the wall of the intestine, near the junction of the small and large intestines), and they’re mainly composed of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate; and in most cases, it’d seen to cause bowel obstruction (when a large enteroliths are eliminated into the lumen via a diverticulum), abdominal pain, weight loss, intestinal rupture, depression, inflammation of the lining of the intestine (also called peritonitis) and in worst case, it may even cause death. The presence of the stones is strongly correlated with long-term used of laxative, improper use of magnesium oxide, and diets that produces very high alkaline pH.

The presence of stone(s) in the intestine can cause bowel obstruction and inflammation in the lining of the intestine which may cause bright red blood in feces.

Liver stones (Hepatolithiasis)

Hepatolithiasis is an uncommon disorder which is characterized by the presence of stones in the biliary ducts of the liver. The stone has smooth surface, irregular shape, and is always measured 12cm x 4cm x 3cm in dimension. Its occurrence is more prevalence in Asian countries (such as Korea, Taiwan and Japan) than western countries, and the removal of stones is always prompted for a surgical procedure.

Bladder stone

Bladder stones are characterized by the presence of small masses of minerals or unusual tiny crystals within the bladder. In some cases, the kidney stones might be moved down the ureter into the bladder.

The stones are normally measured 0.2 to 3cm in diameter, and some of these stones can be weight up to 1,000g. About 95% of the bladder stones are common in males in those over 45. These stones are mainly composed of calcium and are formed when waste products or urine are concentrated within the bladder, causing minerals in the urine to crystallize. Concentrated, stagnant urine are always a health concern since it can lead to enlarged prostate, recurring tract infections, and nerve damage. Apart from this, a change of urine acidity (which is due to dehydration), chronic infections, medications, body minerals, urologic problem (such as bladder diverticuli (extra pouches), an enlarged prostate and neurogenic bladder) and other underlying medical conditions (such as gout) may also cause the formation of bladder stone.

Generally, smaller bladder stones cause no symptoms and can be flushed out via urination, but the larger stones may block the exit of urine from the bladder which can cause symptoms of difficulty passing urine or interruption of urine flow (the stones compress the urethra and thus interrupting urine flow and cause urine to stay in your bladder), blood in the urine (when bladder stone irritates the soft lining (or mucosa) of the bladder), a frequent or urge to urinate particularly during the night, unusually dark-colored urine, lower abdominal or abdominal pain, discomfort and painful feeling in the penis, urine leakage (incontinence or irritable bladder), painful urination (when the stone gets stuck at the entrance to the urethra, while the jet of urine stops suddenly in the middle of urinating) and other complications.

Gallstones (cholelithiasis)

When you eat too much particularly fatty meal (meals that high in fat, cholesterol or trans- fat), you feel a sharp and intensely attack in your abdominal part. Next, you press your abdomen hard with your fists, but the gallstone attack (or biliary colic) becomes intense and never would the pain go away. You start sweating, nausea, vomiting and your face turns awfully pale. Sometimes, the pain can move from the back down to the arm, and always the painful episode can begin abruptly, intensifying within 15 minutes up to 1 hour, then remain at a steady intensity for 6 to 12 hours before the pain went off 30 to 90 minutes, leaving you a dull pain in certain body parts. The pain can sometimes very severe enough to send you to the emergency room. It’s such a nightmare you may never want to experience! This is a complication you’ll feel, if you’ve gallstones developed in your body.

Gallstones (or cholelithiasis) are identified by the presence of one calculus or more calculi (crystalline substances) within the gallbladder or bile duct either by concretion or accretion of a normal or abnormal bile components. A gallstone varies in size and it grows about 1 to 2mm per year, and may take 5 to 20 years to become a large size of a golf ball or even up to 4cm in diameter to cause problems.

Generally, the stones can be round, oval, as soft as clay, or as small as the sand grain. They can be divided into two groups (1) cholesterol stones: green, but rarely seen in yellow or white color; composed mainly of cholesterol that responsible for approximately 85% of the gallstone formation, and (2) pigment stones: dark color, small and are primarily composed of calcium salts and bilirubin that are commonly found in bile. Those with hereditary blood cell disorder (such as spherocytosis, sickle cell anemia), cirrhosis (a condition that causes irreversible scarring of the liver), biliary tract infections, hemolytic anemia (a condition in which there are not enough red blood cells in the blood, due to the premature destruction of red blood cells) are at higher risk for pigment stone formation in either their gallbladder or bile duct.

The occurrence of cholelithiasis is identified to be caused by gallbladder movement, inherited body chemistry, body weight, concentrated or saturated cholesterol (fat) in bile (this happens when there is too much cholesterol but lack of bile salts in bile which normally cause the formation of cholesterol stone), increased use of hormone estrogen or combined (estrogen-containing) forms of hormonal contraception (due to hormone therapy or during the pregnancy), poor diet combinations (low fiber, high cholesterol/ fat/ lipid/ trans fat), lack of essential nutrients (low intake of magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and folate), inadequate amount of melatonin (melatonin is important to inhibit cholesterol secretion within the gallbladder while enhancing the conversion of cholesterol to bile), and those who’re suffering from erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) are also at higher risk for cholelithiasis.

Though some gallstones may remain “silent” for years without causing any signs, discomfort feeling or symptoms but some of them can cause intense pain in either the upper or lower (particularly at the pelvis) abdominal part for half an hour and up to several hours, nausea, sudden palpitation, sudden stop in breathing (due to extremely sharp and intense pain), vomiting, belching, indigestion, abdominal bloating, lowgrade fever, intolerance of fatty foods, chilling, clay-colored feces, and yellowing of skins/ eyes. When you’ve gallstones, you mustn’t disregard the medical assistance as they can indulge other complications such as cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), pancreatitis, as well as gallbladder cancer.

Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis or Urolithiasis)

Kidney stones were first discovered in a 7,000-year-old Egyptian mummy by the scientists. It was estimated that more than 800,000 patients worldwide were sent to the emergency rooms due to the occurrence of chronic kidney stone problems. Basically, kidney stones are hard mass formed from crystal that are separated from the urine and their size can be as big as a size of a US $0.25 coin. The formation of stones is linked to pathologic calcification, since the calcium deposits can clog the organs and blood vessels that will eventually damage the major organs (such as kidneys, heart). The stones can also build up in the inner part or inner surface of the kidneys, and they’re also regarded as one of the most dreadfully painful urologic disorders in the modern life. Our urine does contain certain chemicals that inhibit the formation of crystals, but these inhibitors seem not to work for everyone, and thus some people are found to be more prone to have stones formed in their kidneys. These stones are the most commonly known shortcoming in the delivery of an amino acid, or a building block of protein. The stones are always withdrawn by crushing and eliminating the densely stubborn stones characteristic of cystinuria via a process called percutaneous nephrolithotripsy.

Urinary Stones (Urolithiasis)

Urinary stones refer to the presence of hard mineral substances within the urinary tract, in which the stones may develop either in kidneys, ureter, bladder or urethra. The formation of urinary stones is closely correlated with crystal formation or precipitation of a variety of minerals (magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate, calcium oxalate, urates, and others), which is primarily caused by a relatively high concentration of salts in urine.

Initially, the stones are usually formed in the kidneys, before they travel down to other parts of the urinary tract. When this condition happens, the stones may have clogged or become stuck in the smaller tubes. From here, we’ve what the medical world has termed as ureteric stones, kidney stones and bladder stones. Oh well, this condition can be dreadfully painful! In a severe case, it may even cause the individual to be sent to the hospital for a surgery procedure.

Urinary stones may cause no symptoms or may cause bladder inflammation, cloudy urine, haematuria (blood in urine), renal colic (a severe pain which is caused by stones in the renal pelvis, ureter or kidney), loss of urine, loss of appetite (anorexia), abdominal pain, urinary blockage, frequent urination (pollakiuria), chronic urine retention, abdominal discomfort, hydronephrosis (which refers to ‘water on the kidney’ and its occurrence is due to that one or both kidneys swell up because something is blocking the urine flow resulting in a back pressure in the urinary system), urinary tract infections, difficulties in urination (stranguria or dysuria), reduced urine, and urination pain (often severe). Further, the presence of urinary stones is always nuisance since it may physically block the urine flow, and lead to urinary obstruction which always prompts for an immediate emergency treatment.

Final remark

The information contained herein is not mean to diagnose, mitigate, treat or cure your medical condition. Rather, this educational and health information is aimed to create awareness towards diseases discussed. You should never disregard any medical attentions but you’re strongly urged to seek for an immediate medical assistance from a licensed medical professional at times of emergency or you’ve condition mentioned herein for further treatment or diagnosis. Early recognition and aggressive treatment can determine a successful medical procedure, but most importantly it can save your life. Please don’t take your life for granted or die of ignorance.

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