Difference Between Gallstones and Kidney Stones (With Tables)

Gallstones are small, hard masses made from the same material as bile that can cause inflammation and pain. Kidney stones happen when urine builds up in the kidneys and into the bladder, which can then form crystals or other substances. Both Gallstones and Kidney Stones may seem extremely similar, yet they are exceptionally different from each other.

Gallstones vs Kidney Stones

The difference between Gallstones and Kidney Stones is that Gallstone is a small substance that gets formed in the bile ducts found within the liver, and consist of cholesterol and bilirubin, whereas, Kidney stones, on the other hand, are more painful to pass and they occur in some people when there is an excessive amount of calcium, oxalate, or phosphate in the urine.

Gallstones occur when a person has a high intake of fat and cholesterol in their diet or if they have a very low iodine level in their body. Moreover, Gallstone is a small, pebble-like particle that gets formed in the bile ducts found within the liver that is less painful and do not cause any problem for an individual.

Kidney stones may also lead to a type of kidney failure known as diabetic nephropathy. Moreover, Kidney stones are often more painful for an individual and cause problems for an individual. The most common kidney stones are made of calcium that is usually found in class C stones.

Comparison Table Between Gallstones and Kidney Stones

Parameters of ComparisonGallstones Kidney Stones
DefinitionA Gallstone is a small, pebble-like particle that gets formed in the bile ducts found within the liver.Kidney stones happen when urine builds up in the kidneys and into the bladder, which can then form crystals or other substances.
Constituents Cholesterol and bilirubin.Calcium, oxalate, and phosphate in urine
FormationHigh intake of fat and cholesterol in diet or very low iodine level in the body.Kidney stones happen when urine builds up in the kidneys and diabetes patients.
Risk FactorsInflammation, cancer, blockage of bile ducts, and infections.Heart disease, painful urination, blood clots, kidney infections, chronic dehydration, diabetes mellitus, and obesity.
SymptomsDiscomfort, stomachaches, and diarrhea.Inflammation, nausea, stomachaches, discomfort, and pain.

What are Gallstones?

Gallstones are small, hard masses made from the same material as bile. When present in excess or when a stone becomes too big to pass through a duct inside the gallbladder, it can cause inflammation and pain. Gallstones occur as a result of some kinds of liver diseases as well as some kinds of cancer, but it is rare. In addition, certain kinds of hereditary conditions may cause Gallstones.

Bile is made in the liver, and it filters through the liver into your small intestine to help digest food. It is also made to help break down fat molecules in your food for absorption into your bloodstream. The composition within bile can vary depending on what you eat, but these differences will affect the composition of Gallstones as well.

The cholesterol content of bile is usually very high, especially when Gallstones are present. The cholesterol content of the Gallstone can be a huge factor in their formation. Cholesterol stones can form from a high cholesterol environment, which is often the case with people who have been on drugs or have an unhealthy diet.

The standard weight for a Gallstone is 5 grams, but it may vary depending on your diet and body weight. Moreover, the stones may sometimes not produce any symptoms, but they still act as an obstruction for the bile ducts and cause all kinds of disorders, including discomfort, stomachaches, and diarrhea.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones happen when urine builds up in the kidneys and into the bladder, which can then form crystals. As a result, they create a stone that is usually made of calcium and oxalate and may also include phosphate and magnesium in smaller quantities.

Some kidney stones can be so large they block the outflow of urine from the kidneys. These types of kidney stones often need to be removed surgically or by breaking them up with high-powered water jet irrigators. Kidney stones can be deadly if untreated, and they can cause brain damage and even death when they become large enough to obstruct the flow of urine from the kidneys.

Kidney stones may also lead to heart disease, painful urination, blood clots, kidney infections, and urinary obstruction due to blockage of urine outflow from the kidneys. Kidney stones may also lead to a type of kidney failure known as diabetic nephropathy. This is a progressive disease that occurs when excess fluid and waste products build up in the kidneys over time, eventually leading to permanent damage and loss of kidney function.

The main risk factors for renal failure are high blood pressure, high levels of albumin in the blood, chronic dehydration, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and an increased risk for certain types of cancer.

Main Differences Between Gallstones and Kidney Stones

  1. A Gallstone is a small, pebble-like particle that gets formed in the bile ducts found within the liver, whereas, Kidney stones happen when urine builds up in the kidneys and into the bladder, which can then form crystals or other substances.
  2. Gallstones are often formed due to the high intake of fat and cholesterol in diet or very low iodine levels in the body, whereas, Kidney stones happen when urine builds up in the kidneys and diabetes patients.
  3. The major constituents of Gallstones are Cholesterol and bilirubin, whereas the major constituents of Kidney Stones are Calcium, oxalate, and phosphate in the urine.
  4. The main risk factors for Gallstones are inflammation, cancer, blockage of bile ducts, and infections, whereas the main risk factors for renal failure are heart disease, painful urination, blood clots, kidney infections, chronic dehydration, diabetes mellitus, and obesity.
  5. The major symptoms of Gallstones are discomfort, stomachaches, and diarrhea, whereas, in Kidney Stones, inflammation, nausea, stomachaches, discomfort, and pain occur.

Conclusion

A Gallstone is a small, pebble-like particle that gets formed in the bile ducts. Moreover, it is found that Gallstones are common in women as compared to men because of the different hormonal levels. A healthy diet will also affect bile composition and prevent Gallstones from forming. However, the key ingredient within bile is called lithocholic acid that helps to dissolve large amounts of cholesterol and keep it from being absorbed by the body.

Kidney stones occur when there is an excessive amount of calcium, oxalate, and phosphate in the urine. They occur mostly in people with diabetes and can be deadly if untreated, and they can cause brain damage and even death. However, they can be treated by surgical removal.

References

  1. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185193
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009898100002047
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc7311631/
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