Early Signs of Kidney Stones

Contributing Author | Shield HealthCare
06/04/18  2:34 PM PST
signs of kidney stones

According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in ten people will have a kidney stone over the course of their lifetime, and if you’ve had a kidney stone, you  know the pain can be unforgettably excruciating.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones (renal lithiasis, nephrolithiasis) are collections of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys and can travel throughout the urinary tract, becoming lodged and causing infections or complications. Kidney stones vary in size, and can even get as large as several inches wide.

Preventing kidney stones involves lifestyle changes. Drinking water and staying hydrated is key when trying to prevent stones from forming. When the body is dehydrated, the urine becomes more concentrated with minerals. The higher the concentration, the higher the risk of developing kidney stones. Choosing a low sodium diet can also help prevent kidney stones.

What are some early-warning signs of kidney stones?

  • Pain in stomach, back, side
    • Has been compared to the pain of childbirth
    • When a stone moves into the ureter, it causes a blockage, creating pressure in the kidney
    • Pain can start suddenly and vary in intensity/locations; comes in waves that can last for minutes; back pain tends to spread
    • Please note: the presence of back pain, or even pain that you identify as being near your kidneys, does not mean you should begin worrying you may have kidney stones. Please visit a doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to palpate the area and determine if the pain is coming from the area around your kidneys or the area around your spine.
  • Pain during urination/frequency
    • When the stone reaches the intersection between bladder and ureter, pain is felt during urination; often is a sharp/burning sensation
    • Often mistaken for urinary tract infections (UTI)
    • Needing to urinate irregularly often is a major sign of kidney stones
  • Blood in urine
    • Blood usually pink, brown, or red
    • Sometimes blood cells are too microscopic for human eyes, but ask your doctor to test you for this issue
  • Cloudy/odorous urine
    • Smelly urine can be a signal of infection in kidneys/urinary tract
    • Cloudy urine signals pus could be in urine
  • Inability to empty bladder
    • Blockages caused by kidney stones can halt/slow urine flow
    • If unable to urinate, go to the nearest medical center
  • Queasiness/vomiting
    • Shared nerve connections between gastrointestinal tract and kidneys can be triggered by kidney stones, causing nausea
  • Fever/chills
    • Signals infection in kidneys/urinary tract
    • If experiencing fever with any sort of pain, go to nearest medical center
    • Fevers typically high, chills usually occur with fevers

Symptoms vary between genders and ages, due to differences in urinary tracts:


  • Abdominal, groin or pain in lower back
  • gastric discomfort


  • Pain/itching in the vulva
  • Discharge
  • Menstrual pain


  • Restlessness
  • Differences in urine color or frequency
  • Blood in urine

If you have any questions or concerns that cause you to worry, make an appointment with your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if pain is severe, accompanied by nausea and vomiting, fever, blood in urine or difficulty passing urine.






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  1. I have never felt this before until Sunday moring…Its almost like stomach cramps but in my right side kidney area…The pain comes and goes…It so discomforting

  2. my self srinu ,i am working in hotel industry, in my duty hours i am always sitting, so from last 3 years i was been suffering back side left buttock top to bottom too much of pain,and at the time lower back also giving much pain, what is my problem ?, so which type of treatment i need to prefer, where should i go, please suggest me

    1. Hi there. First up, you should definitely see a doctor. They will be able to determine if the pain is coming from the area of your kidneys or the area of your spine. While they may not be able to diagnosis the reason for your pain, they will know how to palpate those areas to help get you on the right track. Since you do a lot of sitting, if the issue is not related to your kidneys, we would recommend checking out this article: To Fix That Pain In Your Back, You Might Have To Change The Way You Sit. Best of luck! -Aimee, Shield HealthCare

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