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Understanding Kidney Stones -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

Often there are no symptoms of a kidney stone until it starts to move and blocks the flow of urine.

When this happens, symptoms may include:

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Understanding Kidney Stones -- the Basics

Kidney stones are created when certain substances in urine -- including calcium, oxalate, and sometimes uric acid -- crystallize. These minerals and salts form crystals, which can then join together and form a kidney stone. Kidney stones usually form within the kidney, where urine collects before flowing into the ureter, the tube that leads to the bladder. Small kidney stones are able to pass out of the body in the urine -- and may go completely unnoticed by you. But larger stones can irritate...

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  • Waves of sharp pain in your back and side or lower abdomen. The pain may move toward the groin or testicles.
  • Inability to find a comfortable position. People with kidney stones often pace the floor.
  • Nausea and vomiting with ongoing flank pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • The frequent urge to urinate

Sometimes an infection is also present, and may cause these additional symptoms:

  • Fever and chills
  • Painful urination
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?

Because the symptoms of kidney stones can also be signs of other urinary problems, your health care provider will confirm that you have a kidney stone with blood and urine tests. Imaging studies may also be used to examine your kidneys and urinary system including:

  • CT scan
  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) 
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray called a "KUB" for kidney-ureter-bladder X-Ray

 

Call Your Doctor About Kidney Stones If:

  • You suspect that you have a kidney stone
  • You're experiencing waves of sharp pain in your back, side, abdomen, or groin
  • You're experiencing any pain or difficulty with urination
  • You notice blood in your urine

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 31, 2014

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