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 irritate...
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.
Cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
Because the symptoms of kidney stones can also be signs of other urinary problems, your doctor confirms that you have a kidney stone with an evaluation that may include blood and urine tests. Your doctor may also order a CT scan, which shows the kidneys, ureters, and also the stone. A CT scan has the advantage of not requiring an intravenous injection of the contrast material used in an intravenous pyelogram (IVP).
An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an X-ray technique your doctor may advise for viewing the kidneys. IVP involves an intravenous injection of contrast dye, which allows your doctor to evaluate the kidneys and urinary system. An ultrasound may also be used to assess the kidneys.
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.