Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

signs and symptoms of kidney stones

Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Understanding the signs and symptoms can help identify and address kidney stones
promptly. This article provides an overview of kidney stones’ common signs and symptoms, helping you recognise potential indications and seek appropriate medical evaluation and treatment.

7 Common Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones: What to Look Out For 

Here is a list of 7 of the most common symptoms of kidney stones: 

1. Severe Pain

Kidney stones can cause excruciating pain, often described as colicky or cramp-like. Renal colic is one of the most hurtful kinds of pain that one can possibly imagine. The pain typically originates in the back, side, or lower abdomen.

Kidney stone pain usually begins suddenly and can change in location and intensity as the stone moves. The pain comes and goes in waves, which can be worsened by the ureter contracting to push the stone out. It is typically felt on the side and back below the ribs, and it may radiate to the belly and groin as the stone moves through the urinary tract. 

The size of the stone doesn’t always determine the severity of the pain; even small stones can be very painful when they move or cause a blockage.

2. Hematuria

The condition of the presence of blood in your urine is called hematuria. It is one of the most common and easily detectable symptoms of kidney stones. 

Blood may give the urine a pink, red, or brown colour. 

While sometimes this blood is easily visible when you are urinating, other times, the size of the blood cells may be extremely small to not be visible to the naked eye. In such cases, hematuria can be detected through a microscopic examination of the urine.

3. Nausea And Vomiting

Kidney stone pain can cause nausea and may lead to episodes of vomiting. This can occur due to severe pain or as a response to the body’s attempt to cope with the discomfort.

4. Urinary Urgency And Frequency

Kidney stones can cause an increased urge to urinate or a need to urinate more frequently than usual. 

Increased urgency and frequency of urination can signify that a kidney stone has moved into the lower part of the urinary tract. You may feel the need to use the bathroom more frequently throughout the day and night, sometimes even in a hurry. This symptom can be similar to the urgency experienced during a urinary tract infection (UTI).

However, the amount of urine passed may be minimal due to the blockage or obstruction caused by the kidney stone.

5. Painful Urination (Dysuria)

Some individuals with kidney stones may experience sharp pain or a burning sensation during urination. 

When a kidney stone reaches the point where the ureter and bladder meet, you may start experiencing pain while urinating, which is called dysuria. Discomfort can occur when the stone irritates the lining of the urinary tract as it passes through. 

If you’re unaware of the presence of a kidney stone, you might confuse the symptoms with a urinary tract infection (UTI). In some cases, there can be an infection along with the presence of the stone.

6. Cloudy Or Foul-Smelling Urine

Kidney stones can sometimes result in changes in urine appearance.  Cloudy or foul-smelling urine can indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney infection. About 16% of people with acute kidney stones also have a UTI. As a result, the urine may appear cloudy or have an unpleasant odour.

Cloudiness suggests the presence of pus in the urine, while the smell may come from bacteria causing the infection. Strong odours can also result from concentrated urine. If a UTI occurs alongside a kidney stone, it is considered a surgical emergency, even if there is no fever.

7. Fever And Chills 

In some cases, kidney stones can lead to UTIs or kidney infections. Symptoms such as fever, chills, and general malaise may be present in such situations.


The presence and severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. Additionally, some individuals with kidney stones may not experience any symptoms until the stone causes an obstruction or moves within the urinary tract. If you suspect kidney stones based on these signs, it’s important to seek medical evaluation for a proper diagnosis and treatment.


Q1. What is the first symptom of kidney stones?

Ans. The first symptom of kidney stones can vary among individuals, but one common early symptom is intense pain. This pain often starts suddenly and can be felt in the back, side, or lower abdomen.

Q2. What does kidney stone pain feel like in a woman?

Ans. Kidney stone pain in women is often described as intense, sharp, and colicky.  The sensation is often compared to being stabbed with a knife or experiencing severe cramps.