Symptoms of a passing kidney stone

Written by tracy deluca | 13/05/2017
Symptoms of a passing kidney stone
(adamc/Adam Ciesielski)

Passing a kidney stone can be an extraordinarily painful and debilitating experience. On the other hand, kidney stones that stay in the kidney and never pass may never cause a moment's discomfort. Unfortunately, once a stone begins to make its journey out of the body, it can be very traumatic, causing severe symptoms.


The passing of a kidney stone is the process through which a kidney stone leaves the body. A kidney stone is a hard stone that is formed out of minerals and crystals. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as golf balls.


A passing kidney stone travels from the kidney, through the ureter, into the bladder and then out of the body through the urethra. This process usually takes no more than 48 hours if there are no complications.

Minor Symptoms

A low, throbbing pain is usually the first symptom of a stone passing. It will usually be centred in the lower back or side although it can also occur in the groin or abdomen. This pain is usually bothersome, but not extreme. This is the signal that a stone is beginning its passage from the kidney to the bladder. Some people never experience more symptoms than this. Blood in the urine is another very common and minor symptom.

Major Symptoms

A more serious and pronounced symptom is extreme pain centred in the lower back, sides, groin or abdomen. Further symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and fever.


Most kidney stones will pass with little to no intervention from a doctor. Pain killers and anti-nausea drugs may be prescribed to help with the passing. If a stone is too large or there are complications, surgery or further treatment may be ordered by a doctor to remove the stone.


The best way to prevent kidney stones is to drink plenty of water and remain hydrated. Dehydration is a trigger for stones to form. To help stones pass easily once they have formed, drink lots of water as well.

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