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Idiopathic Hypercalciuria

Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is a medical condition in which there is excess calcium in urine, without an obvious cause. Postmenopausal women are most affected by Idiopathic Hypercalciuria.

What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Excess Calcium in Urine from Unknown Etiology
  • Excess Calcium in Urine from Unknown Cause
  • Hypercalciuria of Unknown Cause

What is Idiopathic Hypercalciuria? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is a medical condition in which there is excess calcium in urine, without an obvious cause. Postmenopausal women are most affected by Idiopathic Hypercalciuria
  • The risk factors may include obesity and pregnancy. The exact cause of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is unknown (hence the usage ‘idiopathic’)
  • Frequent urination and abdominal pain are generally observed with Idiopathic Hypercalciuria. In some, complications such as osteoporosis, may be observed
  • The treatment of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria may involve controlling one’s intake of calcium and certain prescriptive medications
  • With suitable treatment, the prognosis of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is good. But, it also depends on the severity of the condition
  • Hydration, exercising, and proper diet with less calcium are helpful considerations in preventing Idiopathic Hypercalciuria

Who gets Idiopathic Hypercalciuria? (Age and Sex Distribution)

Idiopathic Hypercalciuria tends to affect the following individuals:

  • Individuals of any age may be affected
  • Postmenopausal women; generally, women are affected more than men
  • All racial and ethnic groups are affected. However, the condition is more often observed in fair-skinned individuals than dark-skinned individuals

What are the Risk Factors for Idiopathic Hypercalciuria? (Predisposing Factors)

Some risk factors of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria include:

  • Advancing age
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Parathyroid hormone abnormalities
  • Certain genetic disorders can increase the levels of calcium in the body for unknown reasons
  • Caucasians have a higher risk over other racial groups

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria? (Etiology)

  • The exact cause of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is unknown
  • It has been postulated that the condition may be due to certain genetic defects (genetic disorder) or parathyroid hormone abnormalities

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria?

Some signs and symptoms of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • Kidney stone disease
  • Lower than average bone density

How is Idiopathic Hypercalciuria Diagnosed?

Idiopathic Hypercalciuria can be diagnosed by a primary healthcare provider by evaluating the condition. The evaluation may typically include:

  • Complete physical examination and medical history assessment
  • 24-hour urinalysis
  • Serum calcium test
  • Serum intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) test

These examinations will help the healthcare provider diagnose whether or not an individual has Idiopathic Hypercalciuria.

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria?

The possible complications of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria include:

  • Nephrolithiasis (kidney stones): The presence of large or multiple kidney stones may be seen
  • Osteoporosis (weakened bones or brittle bones)

How is Idiopathic Hypercalciuria Treated?

The treatment of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria depends on the severity of the condition. The treatment generally includes:

  • Increased water intake
  • Reducing sodium, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine intake
  • Dietary management of calcium levels, which includes controlling the amount of calcium taken
  • Use of medications including diuretics

How can Idiopathic Hypercalciuria be Prevented?

The prevention of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria may include taking certain steps such as:

  • Staying well-hydrated
  • Watching one’s dietary habits: Avoiding the consumption of foods with high calcium levels
  • Daily exercising
  • Adequate care during pregnancy

Since the main cause (or causes) of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is unknown, the preventative measures are generally relate to leading a healthy lifestyle.

What is the Prognosis of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • The prognosis of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria depends on the severity of the condition. If diagnosed promptly and appropriate treatment is provided, then the outlook is good
  • If the individual responds to various treatment measures, the prognosis is generally better, compared to those who do not respond favorably to treatment

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Idiopathic Hypercalciuria:

Since the underlying cause of Idiopathic Hypercalciuria is not established, the healthcare professional may experience difficulties in diagnosing the condition.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK)
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Building 31, Room 9A04 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Phone: (301) 496-3583
Fax: (410) 689-3998
Email: NDDIC@info.niddk.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niddk.nih.gov

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16515769 (accessed on 4/15/16)

http://kidneystones.uchicago.edu/idiopathic-hypercalciuria-ih-general-facts/ (accessed on 4/15/16)

http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/idiopathic-hypercalciuria (accessed on 4/15/16)

http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jcem.82.1.3706 (accessed on 4/15/16)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Artemiuk, I., Pańczyk-Tomaszewska, M., Adamczuk, D., Przedlacki, J., & Roszkowska-Blaim, M. (2015, May). BONE MINERAL DENSITY IN CHILDREN WITH IDIOPATHIC HYPERCALCIURIA. In Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation (Vol. 30). GREAT CLARENDON ST, OXFORD OX2 6DP, ENGLAND: OXFORD UNIV PRESS.

Taylor, E. N., Hoofnagle, A. N., & Curhan, G. C. (2015). Calcium and phosphorus regulatory hormones and risk of incident symptomatic kidney stones. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, CJN-07060714.

Dursun, M., Otunctemur, A., & Ozbek, E. (2015). Kidney stones and ceftriaxone. European Medical Journal, 3(1), 68-74.

Dessombz, A., Letavernier, E., Haymann, J. P., Bazin, D., & Daudon, M. (2015). Calcium phosphate stone morphology can reliably predict distal renal tubular acidosis. The Journal of urology, 193(5), 1564-1569.

Mahyar, A., Dalirani, R., Ayazi, P., Hamzehloo, S., Moshiri, S. A., Ahmadi, N. K., ... & Esmaeily, S. (2016). The association of hypercalciuria and hyperuricosuria with vesicoureteral reflux in children. Clinical and experimental nephrology, 1-5.

Erotocritou, P., Smeulders, N., & Green, J. S. (2015). Paediatric stones: An overview. Journal of Clinical Urology, 8(5), 347-356.

Arrabal-Polo, M. A., & Arrabal-Martin, M. (2015). Stones: Bone health in patients with kidney stones. Nature Reviews Urology, 12(1), 9-10.

Rull, M. A. O. H., del Carmen Cano-Garcia, M., Arrabal-Martín, M., & Arrabal-Polo, M. A. (2015). The importance of urinary calcium in postmenopausal women with osteoporotic fracture. Canadian Urological Association Journal, 9(3-4), E183.