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Hypercalciuria Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN  more...
Updated: Nov 26, 2015


Note that hypercalciuria has no significant physical examination findings and is purely a laboratory diagnosis. Important aspects of the patient’s history may include the following:

  • Skeletal diseases (eg, osteoporosis, Paget disease) may produce hypercalciuria.
  • Immobilization for various reasons (eg, postoperative, orthopedic injury, burns, intensive care, spinal cord injury, bone marrow transplants) can cause rapid bone remodeling and, hence, elevated calcium excretion; fortunately, this has become less common owing to the use of early mobilization strategies and physical therapy
  • Nephrolithiasis is commonly associated with hypercalciuria
  • Malignancy is a common cause of hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria in hospitalized patients; it usually results from bone destruction, bone reabsorption, or humoral factors such as PTH-related protein.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or its treatment may be associated with a higher risk of hypercalciuria in children


Certain medications, such as vitamin-D supplements and furosemide, may contribute to hypercalciuria. All loop diuretics decrease the tubular reabsorption of calcium.[27]

Dietary and fluid intake

Many dietary factors can alter urinary calcium excretion, including the following:

  • Sodium chloride
  • Protein
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphate

An inverse relationship between phosphate intake and urinary calcium excretion is observed; thus, phosphate-restricted diets result in an increase in urinary calcium excretion. With all of the other dietary items mentioned above, a direct relationship between dietary intake and urinary calcium excretion is observed.

Family history

Idiopathic hypercalciuria can run in families, as can diseases that are associated with secondary hypercalciuria. Approximately 50% of persons with kidney stones and hypercalciuria have a first-degree relative who also has hypercalciuria.

Signs and symptoms in children

In children, hypercalciuria is often associated with some degree of hematuria and back or abdominal pain, and is also sometimes associated with voiding symptoms. The standard treatment for pediatric hypercalciuria is limited to dietary or short-term medical therapy, because the patients become asymptomatic when the hypercalciuria is corrected and are often lost to follow-up.

A study involving 124 children with idiopathic hypercalciuria found that 50% of these patients had a family history of kidney stone disease. Fifty-two children developed clinical symptoms of flank or abdominal pain during the study period, but only 6 of these children had actual renal calculi. Twenty-seven children had hematuria, and 10 had incontinence. The children were treated with increased fluid intake and a reduction in dietary oxalate and sodium. Some required treatment with thiazides. All but 5 of the patients responded to therapy. Resolution of the hypercalciuria eliminated the recurrent pain in this patient population.[28]

Another study, looking at the long-term effects of hypercalciuria in children and several possible therapies over a 4- to 11-year period, concluded that, regardless of treatment, most children with hypercalciuria eventually become asymptomatic while remaining hypercalciuric.[29] Because limiting calcium intake in children is unwise, the recommended dietary therapy for hypercalciuria is to use a low-sodium/high-potassium diet, which normalizes the hypercalciuria in most pediatric patients.

In children with hypercalciuria, microcrystallization of calcium with urinary anions has been suggested to lead to injury of the uroepithelium. Consequently, when taking the history of the illness, attempt to identify symptoms relating to the urinary tract. Pay particular attention to the following signs and symptoms:

  • Dysuria
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritability (infants)
  • Urinary frequency
  • Urinary urgency
  • Change of urinary appearance
  • Colic
  • Daytime incontinence
  • Isolated or recurrent urinary tract infections [2]
  • Vesicourethral reflux [3]

Some clinical manifestations are age dependent. For instance, irritability may be the only manifestation in infants, but a teenager may experience renal colic and hematuria.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS Founder and Medical Director, Lorain Kidney Stone Research Center; Associate Professor of Surgery, Creighton University School of Medicine, Chief of Urology, Creighton University Medical Center

Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Urological Association, National Kidney Foundation, Ohio State Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Sahar Fathallah-Shaykh, MD Associate Professor of Pediatric Nephrology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Medical Director of Pediatric Dialysis Unit, Children's of Alabama

Sahar Fathallah-Shaykh, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN Huberwald Professor of Medicine, Section of Nephrology-Hypertension, Tulane University School of Medicine; Chief, Renal Section, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hypertension, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Sahar Fathallah-Shaykh, MD Assistant Professor in Pediatric Nephrology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Medical Director of Pediatric Dialysis Unit, Children's of Alabama

Sahar Fathallah-Shaykh, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Nephrology and American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

Disclosure: Medscape Reference Honoraria Other

Frederick J Kaskel, MD, PhD Director of the Division and Training Program in Pediatric Nephrology, Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein School of Medicine

Frederick J Kaskel, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Pediatric Society, American Physiological Society, American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, American Society of Transplantation, Eastern Society for Pediatric Research, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, International Society of Nephrology, NationalKidneyFoundation, New York Academy of Sciences, Renal Physicians Association, Sigma Xi, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Craig B Langman, MD The Isaac A Abt, MD, Professor of Kidney Diseases, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine; Division Head of Kidney Diseases, The Ann and Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago

Craig B Langman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Nephrology, and International Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: NIH Grant/research funds None; Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Inc Grant/research funds None; Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Grant/research funds None

Richard Neiberger, MD, PhD Director of Pediatric Renal Stone Disease Clinic, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Nephrology, University of Florida College of Medicine and Shands Hospital

Richard Neiberger, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Federation for Medical Research, American Medical Association, American Society of Nephrology, American Society of Pediatric Nephrology, Christian Medical & Dental Society, Florida Medical Association, International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis, International Society of Nephrology, National Kidney Foundation, New York Academy of Sciences, Shock Society, Sigma Xi, Southern Medical Association, Southern Society for Pediatric Research, and Southwest Pediatric Nephrology Study Group

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Deogracias Pena, MD Medical Director of Dialysis, Department of Pediatrics, Cook Children's Medical Center; Clinical Associate Professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Deogracias Pena, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

Martha K Terris, MD, FACS Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Urology, Director, Urology Residency Training Program, Medical College of Georgia; Professor, Department of Physician Assistants, Medical College of Georgia School of Allied Health; Chief, Section of Urology, Augusta Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Martha K Terris, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Cancer Society, American College of Surgeons, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Urological Association, Association of Women Surgeons, New York Academy of Sciences, Society of Government Service Urologists, Society of University Urologists, Society of Urology Chairpersons and Program Directors, and Society of Women in Urology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Taylor S Troischt, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, West Virginia University Hospitals; Medical Director, Cheat Lake Physicians

Taylor S Troischt, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Calcium-rich foods.
Table 1. Definitions of Hypercalciuria
Diet Definition
Regular diet (unrestricted) Women: Urinary excretion >250 mg calcium (6.2 mmol/24 h)

Men: Urinary excretion >275-300 mg calcium (7.5 mmol/24 h)

Urinary excretion >4 mg calcium (0.1 mmol) per kilogram of body weight per day

Urinary concentration >200 mg calcium per liter

Restricted diet (400 mg calcium, 100 mEq sodium) Urinary excretion >200 mg calcium per day
Urinary excretion >3 mg calcium per kilogram of body weight per day
Table 2. Hypercalciuria Simplified Test Guideline
Hypercalciuria Diagnosis Urinary Calcium on 400-mg Calcium Diet

(Normal = < 200 mg/24 h)

Fasting Calcium/Creatinine Ratio

(Normal = < 0.11)

Post–Calcium Load Calcium/Creatinine Ratio

(Normal = < 0.20)

Normal Normal Normal Normal
Absorptive type I High Normal High
Absorptive type II Normal Normal High
Absorptive type III (renal phosphate leak) High High High
Renal leak High High High
Resorptive (hyperparathyroidism) High High High
Table 3. Calcium-Loading Test Interpretation Guide
Criteria Absorptive Type I

Vitamin D–Dependent (Classic Form)

Absorptive Type I

Vitamin D–Dependent (Variant Form)

Absorptive Type II

Dietary Calcium Responsive

Absorptive Type III

(Renal Phosphate Leak)

Renal Calcium Leak Resorptive
Urinary calcium on regular diet* High High High High High High
Urinary calcium on low-calcium diet High High NL High High High
Urinary calcium fasting NL High NL High High High
Urinary calcium after 1-g calcium load§ High High NL High High High
Serum PO4 (fasting) NL NL NL Low NL or high Low
Serum calcium (fasting) NL NL or high NL NL or high NL or low High
Serum PTH NL or low NL or low NL Low High High
Serum PTH after 1-g calcium load NL or low NL or low NL Low High High
Serum vitamin D-3 (calcitriol) NL High NL High High High
Fasting normocalciuria while on ketoconazole No Yes No Yes No No
Bone calcium density NL NL or low NL NL or low Low Low
NL = normal; PO4 = phosphate; PTH = parathyroid hormone.

* Regular diet is unrestricted calcium and sodium intake. Normal upper limit calciuria is < 4 mg/kg body weight per day.

Low-calcium diet is 400 mg calcium and 100 mEq of sodium per day. Normal upper limit calciuria is < 200 mg/day.

Fasting is a 12-hour fast. Normal upper limit is < 0.11 mg calcium/mg creatinine.

§ After 1-g calcium load, normal upper limit is < 0.20 mg calcium/mg creatinine.

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