8 Symptoms of Kidney Stones to Never Ignore

If you have been experiencing excruciating pain, especially while urinating, you may be experiencing kidney stones. Here are 8 symptoms that you may experience while passing stones.

8 Symptoms of Kidney Stones

1 – Back, belly, or side pain

The pain from kidney stones has often been described as one of the most painful experiences that one can imagine, frequently compared to childbirth or being impaled. This pain is so severe, it is responsible for nearly 1 million visits to the emergency room every year. (1)

The pain usually begins when the accumulated mineral deposits in the kidney start traveling into the ureter – this is the tube that transports urine from your kidneys to your bladder. Because this tube is very narrow, the stones can create a blockage, causing a build-up of pressure inside of your kidney.

These blockages will result in intense pain, a distress signal from your body alerting you that kidney has an obstruction. The most intense areas will be along your side, under your ribs, or in your back. Eventually, as the stone passes, it will start navigating to other areas, such as your stomach or groin. The pain usually happens in waves, due to a contraction of your uterus as you try to push the stones out.

2 – Pain during urination

If you notice that you are having a sharp or burning pain during urination, this could be another sign that you are passing stones. This happens because your body is trying to move them through your urinary tract.

However, painful urination could also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection as well. Just to be sure, ask your doctor for a urine test. Blood or imaging tests can also be administered to detect the presences of stones in your kidney.

3 – Constantly needing to urinate

Frequent urination is another symptom that you should look out for. This signals that your stones are moving to the lower part of your urinary tract. Constant bathroom breaks are also another symptom that kidney
stones share with UTIs, so you may also need your doctor to check for infection in your urinary tract.

4 – Blood in urine

A common symptom associated with passing stones is hematuria, also known as blood in the urine. The color of the blood will vary from pink, red, or brown. Sometimes, this blood may only be detectable through a microscopic examination of your urine or with dipstick testing.

5 – Your urine is cloudy or smells unpleasant

Because stones in the kidney often form due to a lack of hydration, they can affect the odor of your urine. If you notice that the smell is extremely strong and unpleasant, it is a sign that you may have an infection that needs to be treated. And usually, this is the case. Many people who come in for stones tend to also have UTIs.

Furthermore, the bacteria that is responsible for UTIs can also alter the smell of urine. In addition to a bad smell, you may notice that it is also cloudy looking. Cloudiness is a sign that you have pus in your urine, which is another symptom of infection in your urinary tract.6 – Low urine volume

6 – Low urine volume

Depending on the size of your kidney stone, you may experience an obstruction in your ureter. This could ultimately stop the flow of your urine and cause your kidneys to swell.

If you notice that your urine has dwindled down to a trickle or has stopped completely, this is considered a medical emergency and you get help immediately. You will need assistance with having it removed before it causes complications.

7 – Nausea and vomiting

There are several reasons that you could be experiencing nausea and vomiting when you have stones in your urinary tract and kidneys.

Passing stones is an extremely painful experience. For some, their body’s natural response to intense pain is vomiting.

Another reason that you may experience nausea is due to urine blockage. When you’re unable to pee, it can start to back up in your kidney. As a result, you will experience swelling and stretching of your kidney tissue.

Lastly, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract share nerve connections. When the stones start accumulating in the kidney, they can trigger nerves in your GI tract, causing you to feel sick.

8 – Fever and chills

One of the more serious signs that you have stones in your kidney is experiencing fevers and chills. This is a sign that you have a kidney infection. This is also an indication that there may be more severe issues going on so you should contact a doctor immediately.