[Epidemiology of nephrolithiasis in France]

Ann Urol (Paris). 2005 Dec;39(6):209-31. doi: 10.1016/j.anuro.2005.09.007.
[Article in French]


Nephrolithiasis is a frequent disease that affects about 10% of people in western countries. The prevalence of calcium oxalate stones has been constantly increasing during the past fifty years in France as well as in other industrialized countries. Stone composition varies depending to gender and age of patients and also underlines the role of other risk factors and associated pathologies such as body mass index and diabetes mellitus. The decrease in struvite frequency in female patients is the result of a significantly improved diagnostic and treatment of urinary tract infections by urea-splitting bacteria. In contrast, the increasing occurrence of weddellite calculi in stone forming women aged more than 50 years could be the consequence of post-menopausal therapy. A high prevalence of uric acid was found in overweight and obese stone formers and in diabetic ones as well. Another important finding was the increased occurrence with time of calcium oxalate stones formed from papillary Randall's plaques, especially in young patients. Nutritional risk factors for stone disease are well known: they include excessive consumption of animal proteins, sodium chloride and rapidly absorbed glucides, and insufficient dietary intake of fruits and potassium-rich vegetables, which provide an alkaline load. As a consequence, an excessive production of hydrogen ions may induce several urinary disorders including low urine pH, high urine calcium and uric acid excretion and low urine citrate excretion. Excess in calorie intake, high chocolate consumption inducing hyperoxaluria and low water intake are other factors, which favour excessive urine concentration of solutes. Restoring the dietary balance is the first advice to prevent stone recurrence. However, the striking increase of some types of calculi, such as calcium oxalate stones developed from Randall's plaque, should alert to peculiar lithogenetic risk factors and suggests that specific advices should be given to prevent stone formation.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Oxalate / metabolism
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / chemistry
  • Kidney Calculi / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Kidney Calculi / metabolism
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Uric Acid / metabolism


  • Calcium Oxalate
  • Uric Acid
  • weddellite