What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Kidney stones can cause pain in the lower abdomen, especially the lower back, sides and groin area. Other symptoms include blood in the urine, vomiting or nausea, painful urination and an urge to urinate frequently. You might also experience chills and a fever if your stones are caused by an infection.

The symptoms begin to show when a kidney stone moves into the ureter, the tube connecting the kidney and the bladder. Symptoms include pain in the side and back, below the ribs and radiating to the lower abdomen and groin; bloody, cloudy or foul-smelling urine; painful urination; nausea and vomiting; a persistent urge to urinate; and fever and chills if an infection is present.

If you have a kidney stone, you won’t necessarily have pain. It can sit painlessly in the kidney as long as its not blocking urine. If you do feel it, it can range from a constant dull ache to intermittent spasms known as colic.

However, if or when the stone gets stuck in the ureter, most people experience extreme pain. A stone lodged high in the ureter may cause sharp pain in the upper abdomen and back, while a stone lodged lower in the ureter can cause pain towards the groin. Pain on urination indicates proximity to the bladder. The location of pain can give doctors an idea of where the stone may be.

Some kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand. Others are as large as a pebble, and a few are as large as a golf ball. As a general rule, the larger the stone, the more noticeable the symptoms.

Symptoms of kidney stones could be one or more of the following:

  • severe pain on either side of your lower back
  • more vague pain, or a stomach ache that doesn't go away
  • blood in the urine
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fever and chills
  • urine that smells bad or looks cloudy

Usually a person with a kidney stone experiences dull and achy back pain, though the pain can sometimes be sharp and intense. Symptoms of a kidney stone also include blood in urine, nausea, fatigue and fever.

This answer provided for NATA by the Southern Connecticut State University Athletic Training Education Program.

Symptoms of kidney stones are nausea, vomiting and a traveling pain.

Kidney stones cause severe flank pain that can radiate to the groin.

Continue Learning about Kidney Stones

Is There a Speedy Way to Pass Kidney Stones?
Is There a Speedy Way to Pass Kidney Stones?
Kinga Ka is the world’s fastest rollercoaster, going from zero to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds. That’s enough loosen your fillings, and it’s hard to imagine...
Read More
What can I drink if I am trying to prevent kidney stones?
UCLA HealthUCLA Health
Any fluids, fluids and more fluids. Water is cheapest, healthiest, and most abundant. Adding lemon j...
More Answers
What are kidney stones?
National Kidney FoundationNational Kidney Foundation
A kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemicals in the urine. Urine has various wastes d...
More Answers
Health Benefits of Beer
Health Benefits of Beer

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.