1. Because urinary prostaglandin excretion could play a role in idiopathic hypercalciuria (IH), we studied the excretion of prostaglandin E (PGE), calcium and sodium at various urine flows in 21 patients (14 males) with urolithiasis and IH, seven stone formers (five males) with normal calciuria and 20 controls (11 males). Dietary composition was comparable and sodium intake was restricted to 100-120 mmol/day. 2. Analyses were performed on 30 min urine collections obtained after overnight water deprivation and during water diuresis. Male IH patients had increased levels of urinary PGE at all ranges of urine flow. PGE excretion correlated directly with urine flow in patients and controls, but the slope of this relationship in individual IH male patients was steeper than in controls (P < 0.01). Calciuria correlated directly with urine output in patients with IH but not in controls. Calcium and sodium excretion were directly correlated (P < 0.0001) in patients and controls. There were no significant differences between absorptive IH (seven patients) and renal IH (eight patients). There were no significant differences between stone formers with normocalciuria and control subjects. 3. The findings suggest that increased urinary PGE could play a role in the hypercalciuria syndrome, possibly by promoting natriuresis.