What do kidney stones feel like

What do kidney stones feel like? Signs of kidney stones you can’t miss

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What do kidney stones feel like?

Kidney stones feel like sudden intense stabbing pain that comes and goes, often with painful frequent urination, blood in urine, nausea and vomiting. Fever and chills usually occur when there is a kidney or urinary tract infection.

Kidney stone symptoms

Common kidney stone symptoms may include urinary tract symptoms (5):

  • Kidney stone pain: most commonly described as kidney stone pain that comes and goes.
  • Kidney stone location: loin to groin pain or renal pain, including back, sides, kidney stone pain in front abdomen, lower or general abdomen pain.
  • Blood in urine: (haematuria) that you can see, or microscopic blood in urine seen during urine tests for kidney stones.
  • Painful urination (dysuria). Burning during urination is also very common.
  • Increased urgency to urinate.
  • Cloudy urine or unusual urine smell.

In many cases, signs of kidney stones also include systemic symptoms:

  • Restless.
  • Nausea, vomiting or both.
  • Fever and chills: usually occur when there is a kidney or urinary tract infection.

Kidney stone pain relief at home

When it comes to kidney stones and kidney stone treatment, it is always best to consult your doctor. Identifying what causes kidney stone in your body and the types of kidney stones you may have may change the treatment you need. Your doctor may order tests for kidney stones that can complete the picture, especially in cases where your kidney stones are caused by an underlying medical condition.

For mild kidney stone symptoms, many people choose the comfort of the kidney stone pain relief at home. Kidney stones home remedies are commonly used as a natural way to prevent, pass kidney stones and relieve the kidney stone pain. in some cases, with great success.

When using natural remedies for kidney stones, it is essential to make sure the entire renal and urinary system function properly. This is very important. Once the kidney stones are dissolved, you want your body to flush them out effectively in the urine so they won’t get stuck. For this reason, a common best practice is to combine multiple kidney stones herbs or remedies that in addition to help softening and dissolving the kidney stones, can also support normal urinary, bladder and kidney function.

To learn more about natural home remedies for kidney stones, see: how to get rid of kidney stones at home.

Kidney stones

Below you will find more details on the different symptoms of kidney stones.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones form when mineral crystals in the urine stick together. A healthy normal urine environment doesn’t usually allow mineral crystals to stick. Certain conditions however, may create a problematic environment in the kidneys and urinary tract that can cause kidney stones to develop.

Kidney stones are also known as: renal stones, nephrolithiasis, nephrolith, renal calculus.

What are kidney stones made of?

Kidney stones are made of salts and minerals and typically form when mineral crystals in the urine stick together. Kidney stones can be developed in the kidney, renal pelvis or in the ureters. Kidney stones include calcium oxalate stones, cystine stones, struvite stones, and uric acid stones (1).

Kidney stone size

Kidney stone size vary, and can be anywhere between less than 3mm kidney stone to more than 11 mm kidney stone (although rare), as large as a golf ball sized kidney stone. Small kidney stones usually don’t cause any symptoms. The body can naturally pass kidney stones through urine on its own. This means that you can you have a kidney stone and not know it. This is very common. On the other hand, when a kidney stone is too big to be passed naturally by the body, it may get stuck in the kidney or ureter and cause symptoms. According to the medical literature, stones less than 5 mm in diameter have a high chance of passage; those of 5–7 mm have a modest chance (50%) of passage, and those greater than 7 mm almost always require urological intervention (3).

Kidney stone pain location

Kidney stone pain location most commonly occur in the lower abdomen, belly or back flank pain. The kidney stone pain location may also radiate to the area under ribs. The kidney stones pain location may indicate the part of the ureter the stone gets stuck (2).

How common are kidney stones?

According to the medical literature (1):

  • Out of every 100 men, around 13 will get kidney stones in their lifetime.
  • Out of every 100 women, around 7 will get kidney stones in their lifetime.
  • About 8 out of 10 people with kidney stones have calcium stones.

Kidney stone early symptoms

What are the first signs of kidney stones?

Identifying the early signs of kidney stones is very important. It may be easier to pass the stone, and also in order to prevent complications such as kidney or urinary tract infections and the forming of larger kidney stones that may be harder to pass.

Common kidney stone early symptoms may include:

  • Painful urination, often with burning.
  • Frequent urination, urgent need to go.
  • Sudden, severe waves of pain in the back, lower back, belly, sides, front, lower abdomen pain or general abdominal pain.
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Cloudy or smelly urine.
  • Fever and chills are usually a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney infection.

What does it feel like to pass a kidney stone

When you pass a kidney stone, you may feel a sudden sharp, stabbing like pain. The symptoms of passing a kidney stone and their severity usually depend on the location of the stone and its size. The pain usually occur on the sides of the back, abdominal or under ribs. As the stone passes into the bladder, you may feel painful urination with an increased urge to urinate. Once the stone is passed out of your body, symptoms typically get better fast.

What does kidney pain feel like?

Kidney stone pain

Kidney pain feels like sudden intense stabbing pain that comes and goes, often with painful frequent urination, blood in urine, nausea and vomiting. Many women describe the way kidney pain feels like as pain worse than childbirth. Kidney stone pain is one of the most common signs of kidney stones and usually occur as the stone blocks the renal pelvis or travels through the ureter. Kidney stone pain may affect the lower abdomen, belly or back flank pain. In some cases kidney stones may cause pain under ribs. The kidney stones pain location may indicate the part of the ureter the stone gets stuck. The kidney stone pain is especially severe when the kidney stone travels through a narrower passage of the ureter (2).

How long does kidney stone pain last

Kidney stone pain may last anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. Sudden episodes of severe pain on one side radiating through the lower abdomen are common. This is sometimes referred to as renal colic. The intensity of pain may get stronger or weaker in waves along with nausea and vomiting (2).

Painful urination kidney stones

Painful urination (dysuria) is one of the most common early signs of kidney stones. Painful urination typically occur as the kidney stone passes through the ureter. You may also notice blood in your urine. Kidney stones can cause urgency to urinate as well, so you may feel a stronger or more frequent urge to urinate regardless of the amount of liquids you consume. The pain can sometimes spread to the genitals and groins as well (2).

Kidney stones blood in urine

Blood in urine (Hematuria) is also one of the most common signs of kidney stones and often occurs even in smaller non obstructing kidney stones with no other symptoms present (3).

Kidney stones can also cause microscopic blood in urine (microhematuria), which can only seen using a microscope in urine tests for kidney stones.

According to research, kidney stone pain is usually related to the presence of microscopic blood in urine tests for kidney stones. The location and size of urinary tract stones (urinary calculus) are usually associated with the incidence of microhematuria and kidney stones symptoms as well (4).


  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine – Renal Calculi (Kidney Stones) (1).
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine – Kidney stones: Overview (2).
  3. The Journal of Clinical Investigation – Kidney stone disease (3).
  4. Urolithiasis location and size and the association with microhematuria and stone-related symptoms (4).
  5. British Medical Journal – Clinical review of kidney stones (5).
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