Crystals in urine is a condition that can affect anyone at any time in their life. The presence of crystals in your urine can alarm you. But, never worry as the problem can occur even in healthy individuals. But, in some cases, it indicates some serious health condition that needs immediate medical assistance. The urine has a unique chemical composition. It contains different chemicals. Certain circumstances force the chemicals to solidify. So, you can see the presence of salt crystals in your urine. The condition is also referred to as crystalluria. It causes your urine to appear cloudy. The underlying cause can vary from something simple (slight elevation of Vitamin C or protein levels) to something serious. In most of the cases, the crystal presence in urine may suggest something harmless. So, you can watch your diet, drink more water, and make some lifestyle changes to see the difference.
Crystals In Urine Indicating Serious Condition
In the majority of the cases, urine crystals indicate a problem that you can rectify easily with lifestyle changes. But, in some people, the crystals can indicate a serious health condition. When you have some serious health problem, it triggers other symptoms in your body. So, apart from the urine crystals, you can observe other signs like:
When you suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms, get a doctor’s appointment immediately. With early medical intervention, you can avoid complications associated with health problems. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the signs to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Types Of Crystals In Urine
You can classify the urine crystals into diverse types based on the different chemical composition of the crystals. So, each urine crystals has a different treatment plan based on its type. Each urine crystals has different signs and symptoms. Therefore, the types of urine crystals you can find are:
Uric Acid Crystals
The crystals appear yellow or orange-yellow in color. The crystals have different shapes. So, the technician can observe diamond, plate-like or barrel shape under the microscope. The crystals appear even in healthy urine due to high protein. So, healthy people who consume protein-rich diet can have uric acid crystals. But, the high uric acid crystals indicate health problems. Individuals suffering from the following health problems can have high uric acid crystals:
Depending on the underlying health issue, the symptoms of the condition can vary. So, you can observe the following:
Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
- Severe abdominal pain
- Groin pain
- Flank pain
- Blood in urine
Symptoms Of Gout
- Burning pain
- Swelling in joints
Treatment For Uric Acid Crystals
The treatment for the uric acid crystals in urine depends on the underlying health condition. So, based on the problem, your doctor can suggest a treatment plan:
- Drinking a good amount of water can help you keep the crystals at bay, irrespective of the underlying health problem.
Calcium Oxalate Crystals
The calcium oxalate crystals look like envelopes or dumbbells. You can find the crystals in healthy urine. It appears colorless. In most cases, the calcium oxalate crystals indicate kidney stones. When you consume oxalate-rich food like spinach, then you have more risk of developing the crystals. People suffering from kidney stones can suffer from the following signs:
- Difficulty passing urine
- Abdominal pain
- Severe groin pain
In a few cases, the calcium oxalate crystals develop in the urine due to ingestion of ethylene glycol. It is an essential ingredient in antifreeze formula. But, the toxic nature of the substance makes it dangerous. People exposed to the compound need immediate medical help when they endure signs like:
- Throat irritation
- Central nervous system problems
- Renal failure
Treatment For Calcium Oxalate Crystals
The oxalate causing kidney stones have the following treatment option to relieve the distress:
- Increase water intake
- Consume less salt
- Avoid processed foods
- Make dietary changes to reduce oxalate accumulation
Hippuric Acid Crystals
People can observe the hippuric acid crystals rarely. It looks like a plate or needle-like prism under the microscope. It can have a clear or yellow-brown color. The crystals often appear clustered together and not alone. The acidic urine PH can lead to the formation of the urine crystals. So, it can appear even in healthy people with no underlying problems.
Struvite Crystals (Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate)
It is one of the common crystals in the urine that can cause kidney stones. It often resembles rectangular prisms. The colorless crystals can also appear in healthy urine. But, the crystals can occur when you suffer from infections like UTI. So, people suffering from urinary tract infection can experience signs like:
- Frequent and intense urge to urinate
- Cloudy urine
- Lower Back Pain
Treatment For Struvite
If the struvite crystals develop due to UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), then your doctor suggests antibiotics. The antibiotics can clear the infection and alleviate the problem.
Bilirubin crystals appear when you have some underlying health disorder. It can lead to the formation of needle-like crystals that look yellow in color. In most cases, bilirubin develops due to the destruction of healthy red blood cells. The bilirubin is passed through your liver. The granular crystals often appear small. The high levels of bilirubin crystals often indicate the poor liver function or liver disease. It mostly attaches itself to the surface of the cells. So, the crystals in the urine often appear in hepatic disorders. When you suffer from the problem, it can trigger several symptoms like:
Treatment For Bilirubin Crystals
The treatment for the appearance of bilirubin the urine requires treatment. Your doctor can suggest taking medication that will change the protein absorption in your diet. It usually ideal for people suffering from a condition like cirrhosis.
Calcium Phosphate Crystals
The calcium phosphate crystals have a needle-like, star-like, or plate-like appearance under the microscope. The colorless crystals may appear alone or in clusters. You can observe it in normal as well as alkaline urine. In some rare cases, the calcium phosphate crystals in your urine appear due to hypoparathyroidism. When you have the crystals in your urine, you can suffer from several signs like:
- Muscle cramping
- Tingling in your hands
Treatment For Calcium Phosphate Crystals
The treatment option for alleviating the problem due to calcium phosphate crystals may include:
- Drinking water to stay hydrated
- Consuming calcium-rich food or supplements
- Taking Vitamin D supplements
Ammonium Biurate Crystals
The ammonium biurate crystals can appear in normal urine. But, it also appears when a person has alkaline urine. Under the microscope, the crystals resemble brown spheres. It also has a spiky thorn like appearance. So, it looks like small bugs. It is observed that when the urine sample becomes old or preserved poorly, it has the presence of the crystals. So, your doctor may recollect the sample to avoid any errors.
The cholesterol crystals look like long rectangles. It appears clear with a notch cut at its corner. It mostly appears in the refrigerated urine sample. The crystals can appear in both acidic and neutral urine. But, people suffering from the renal tubular disease can find the cholesterol crystals in their urine. It is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. Ignoring renal tubular disease can lead to renal failure.
Treatment For Cholesterol Crystals
The treatment for the condition includes:
- Alkali therapy suggested for treating chronic metabolic conditions
- Lifestyle changes
Cysteine crystals are developed in the urine due to the presence of cysteine acid. It is an amino acid that binds together to form crystals. The condition referred to cystinuria occurs rarely in people. So, the cysteine acid can result in kidney stones that have a larger size compared to other stones. In most cases, genetics play a significant role in developing the condition. When the urine is observed under the microscope, the cysteine crystals have a hexagonal shape. It is usually colorless. The other symptoms associated when a person has cysteine crystals are:
- Pain in the groin region
- Blood in urine
- Back pain
Treatment For Cysteine Crystals
The doctor often prescribes medication to dissolve the crystals in your urine. Therefore, you need to take chelating medication to get relief from the condition.
The leucine crystals have a distinctive appearance. It looks like concentric rings you find on a tree trunk. The yellow-brown disk-like crystals are usually present in the urine when a person falls sick. So, it does not appear in healthy urine. It is mostly found in acidic urine. The crystals mostly appear in the urine of individuals who suffer from severe liver disease. So, a person having the crystals in the urine can suffer from the following symptoms:
- Abdominal swelling
Treatment For Leucine Crystals
The treatment for the leucine crystals mainly focuses on improving the liver functions. Once you take treatment, you can see visible changes in your health. So, the treatment focusses on:
- Medications to reduce your risk of suffering from bleeding
- Drugs to reduce the swelling due to water retention
The crystals under microscopic analysis appear colorless and like fine silky needles. The appearance resembles the needle in the sheaves or bundles. It is mostly present in acidic urine but can appear along with the leucine crystals. People suffering from liver disease or tyrosinemia (any types of metabolic disorders). Therefore, if you have the crystals in your urine, then you can observe signs like:
- Bloody stools
- Gaining weight
Treatment For Tyrosine Crystals
If your diagnostic tests indicate the presence of tyrosine crystals, then your doctor can suggest the following remedies:
- Medications that can treat conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Eating a healthy diet that will prevent health problems
- Include physical exercise to keep the weight and cholesterol in control.
Indinavir is the medication used by the doctor to treat patients with HIV. It can lead to crystal formation in the urine. The crystals when observed through a microscope can resemble starbursts. It may also look like fans or rectangular plates. People who have such crystals in their urine can experience some physical symptoms like:
- Flank pain
- Back pain
Diagnosing Crystals In Urine
When you experience the symptoms or see crystals in the urine, you need to contact your doctor. Your doctor performs some tests to detect the type and size of the crystals in your urine. The doctor performs the following tests to detect the issue conclusively:
It is the preliminary test used to detect the presence of crystals in your urine. It is a test that is performed among the annual checkup or during your wellness visit. Therefore, the basic test can detect any issues you may suffer. Urinalysis is the visual check of your urine sample. It detects the presence of specific chemicals along with checks the urine cells microscopically.
For performing the urinalysis test, you need to provide your urine sample to the lab. A technician can review the urine sample to detect any complication. It uses the dipstick to check for various components in the urine. So, the test can detect the following:
- Infection (cloudiness or color change can point towards the issue)
- Bilirubin (a dark tea color of the urine indicates the presence)
- Crystals (after examining the sample under a microscope)
Crystals In Urine Test
The urine contains several chemicals. It is the waste that you flush from your body. Sometimes, the chemicals can convert into solids. So, it looks like crystals. The crystals in the urine test can measure the amount, size, and the chemical composition of the urine crystals. It is important to determine the type of crystal in your urine to develop the right treatment plan. Remember, it is normal to have some amount of urine crystals. But, larger crystals or a specific type of crystals can accumulate and lead to kidney stones formation. It can get stuck in your kidney and affect the normal function of your kidneys. The kidney stones may vary in size and can trigger severe pain. Therefore, the test can detect the type and help your doctor find the apt treatment for the issue.
When the urinalysis detects bilirubin along with urine crystals, then your doctor can suggest for an ultrasound. The ultrasound of the liver can detect any damage to the organ that causes the crystal formation.
If the urinalysis indicates cholesterol crystals, then you need to undergo blood tests to detect cholesterol levels. It is also ordered for liver problems to conclude precisely.
Preventing Crystals In Urine
You cannot prevent the crystals caused by a certain medical condition. So, if you observe urine crystals due to liver disease, then you cannot prevent it. Genetic conditions can also cause crystal formation, which you cannot prevent effectively. But, you can reduce the crystalluria triggered by other cases and even some genetic condition with diet changes and lifestyle modifications. Therefore, follow the steps provided below to prevent the crystal formation in your urine:
Drinking water and staying hydrated is the most effective methods to prevent urine crystals. The water helps to dilute the concentrations of the chemical in your urine. So, it can prevent crystal formation. You need to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water to stay hydrated.
Changing your diet can also prevent the urine crystals. When you suspect the presence of crystals in the urine, your doctor can perform tests. It will determine the types of crystals present in your urine. So, based on the type, your doctor recommends to cut back certain items from your diet. You have to make the following based on the crystals:
- To overcome the calcium oxalate crystals present in your urine, you need to cut back protein. Consuming more protein can make your kidneys work harder. It can affect kidney function adversely. So, reduce food containing high oxalate.
- For prevent many types of crystals, you need to reduce your salt content.
- Avoiding processed food can benefit your health and prevent crystal formation. The salty snacks and fried foods can elevate the calcium levels in your urine. It makes your urine acidic nature and increases the formation of crystals.
- Including a diet suggested by your doctor can prevent the urine crystals. Therefore, get your doctor’s advice.
In most of the cases, you can find relief from the crystals in urine with simple diet and lifestyle changes. While serious conditions need immediate medical attention. With proper medications and care, you can manage the underlying health problems resulting in the formation of the crystals. So, get medical help as soon as possible to prevent any complication. Monitor the changes in your urine to detect any problems. Make an appointment with your doctor when you experience changes in the urine. Your doctor can detect the exact type of crystal formation and the underlying cause. With early intervention, you can avoid several unwanted effects on your body. Therefore, pay attention to the signals provided by your body.View Article Sources