What Are the Early Symptoms of Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stones are hard deposits of salt and minerals usually composed of uric acid or calcium. They originate in the kidneys but can move to any part of the urinary tract.

Kidney stones could be as small as a fraction of an inch or a few inches in size. Some very large size kidney stones can take up the entire space in your kidney.

Causes of Kidney Stones

Residues of certain minerals, which don’t move out of your body through urine, accumulate in your kidney and form stones.  Dehydration also causes high concentration of these materials in urine. The high levels of minerals increase the likelihood of kidney stone formation and so do obesity and diabetes.

In the USA, one in every 11 people will have kidney stones. Men, if compared to their women counterparts, are more likely to have kidney stones.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones often cause excruciating pain, referred to as Renal Colic in medical jargon. Most stones travel to your ureter and pass through urine without your being aware of it. But if stones are large or don’t pass on, you should undergo medical treatment.

Followings are eight kidney stones early symptoms:

Pain in Belly, Back or Side

Kidney stones cause pain when these move to the ureter which is narrower in size. It creates a blockage and causes pressure to build up in kidneys. The pressure stimulates the nerve fibers that send pain signals to your brain.

Kidney stones usually cause sudden and intermittent pain with changing intensity and location. You will feel unbearable pain in your back, side and even below your ribs. It may travel to your belly and groin as the stones pass through the urinary tract. Large stones usually cause more pain though the intensity of pain has nothing to do with the size of the stones.

Urgent or Frequent Need for Urination

Frequent or urgent need for urination is another symptom that kidney stones have reached the end part of the urinary tract. Keep in mind that urinary urgency or frequency can also be a symptom of urinary tract infections. Make sure to visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Pain or Burning Sensation During Urination

People with kidney stones feel sharp pain or burning sensation during urination as the stones move to the joint between ureter and bladder. Also called as dysuria, it is often mistaken for urinary tract infection.

Smelly or Cloudy Urine

Healthy urine has no strong odor or cloudy texture. Odorous or cloudy urine is a sign that you have infection in your urinary tract or kidneys. According to a study, 8% of people with severe kidney stone problem have urinary tract infection (6Trusted Source).

Pyuria or Pus in urine also causes cloudiness. Bacteria could be responsible for smelly urine and urinary tract infection. Bad smell can also come from more concentrated urine.

Blood in Urine

Blood in urine, also called hematuria, is one of the commonest symptoms of urinary tract infection. Urine might turn red, brown or pink due to the presence of blood. Sometimes, blood cells are microscopic and cannot be spotted with naked eyes.

A Small Amount of Urine

Large kidney stones can create a blockage in your ureter and it can stop or slow the flow of urine. If urine flow stops completely, it needs immediate medical attention.

Nausea and Vomiting

People with kidney stones often complain about nausea and vomiting.  These happen as GI track and kidneys share nerve connections between them. Kidney stones can activate the nerves in GI tract and cause an upset stomach.  Your body might also respond to intense pain through nausea and vomiting.

Chills and Fever

Chills and fever are common in people who have infection in their kidneys or urinary tract. It is a serious problem and can be a sign of other more serious physical disorders. If you have pain and fever, it is a case of medical emergency.

If fever occurs due to infection, the temperature usually soars as high as 100.4˚F (38˚C) or more. Patients with kidney stones often experience shivering along with fever.

Final Words

Kidney stones could be a serious problem if not treated early. If not removed, these will cause pain, discomfort, fever, discolored urine or other more serious problems. Small stones pass through urine but large stones stay back in your kidneys. Surgery is usually done to break or remove the kidney stones if these are large in size and don’t pass on their own.

Consult a nephrologist immediately if you experience any of the afore-mentioned kidney stone symptoms. Some home remedies are also very effective in breaking the stones into small pieces and force them to move out through urine. However, only a doctor can decide if you should pursue home remedies or need an aggressive treatment, depending on your medical reports.