Signs of passing a kidney stone

Updated July 19, 2017

Substances found in the urine, such as calcium and uric acid, can build up and develop hard stones in the kidney. Occasionally, the stones will remain in the kidney or pass through the urinary tract without any symptoms. However, passing a kidney stone can also be an excruciating experience with several accompanying symptoms. Since a kidney stone can range from the size of a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball, the following symptoms can range from mild to severe.


The pain of passing a kidney stone can be quite severe at times. It is commonly said that passing a kidney stone is the closest a man can come to the pain of childbirth. Some women have even claimed that the pain is worse than childbirth, according to a study by Harvard Medical School. This all depends, however, on the size of the stone and whether it becomes lodged somewhere along the urinary tract. Kidney stone pain often presents itself in the lower back or side. The lower abdomen and groin can also become very tender when the stone is close to coming out.

Bloody Urine

Blood can be present in the urine due to a stone causing irritation or becoming lodged somewhere in the urinary tract. This blood can also be the product of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can be caused by a kidney stone. Sometimes a patient will have traces of blood in the urine that aren't visible to the naked eye.


When a kidney stone is large enough to cause irritation to the urinary tract or block the flow of urine, an infection may develop. Fever is a common sign of a bladder or kidney infection (both are often referred to as a UTI). Therefore, a patient may be diagnosed with a simple UTI without realising that a kidney stone is the cause of the problem.

Burning Sensation

As a kidney stone tries to make its way through the urinary tract, it may become wedged in between narrow passageways. This causes partial or total blockage of the urine, which results in pain when a patient tries to urinate. Again, this is a common sign of a simple UTI, so extreme pain might be the only indication that a kidney stone is to blame for the problem. X-rays can confirm whether there are stones present in the urinary tract.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting may develop when a kidney stone is trying to pass. A few things can cause this stomach upset. Extreme pain may lead to the nausea, while infection and general illness can also upset the stomach. If a patient is on antibiotics for a UTI that has been caused by the kidney stone, then the medication may also contribute to nausea.

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About the Author

Amy Simpson is a copywriter, editor and blogger. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Texas at Arlington and has specialized in new media writing for more than a decade. Simpson has written and edited content for outlets such as 4Kids Entertainment, Discovery Channel, FOX Television and MSN.