What are the First Signs of Kidney Stones?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sangeeta Sharma, last updated on 29 September 2023| min read
What are the First Signs of Kidney Stones?

Quick Summary

Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like deposits that form in the kidneys. They are typically made up of calcium, oxalate, and phosphorous and can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball.

The most common symptoms of kidney stones are:

  • Sudden, severe pain in the back or side
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful urination

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away.

Over half a million people go to emergency rooms every year for kidney stone problems. It is expected that one in ten people may have a kidney stone at some time in their lives. You must be thinking about how you will know if you have kidney stones and what are the first signs of kidney stones. 

Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like deposits that form in the kidneys. They are typically made up of calcium, oxalate, and phosphorous and can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball. 

Keep reading to gather more information regarding the signs and symptoms of kidney stones.

What are kidney stones? Why are they formed?

Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs on both sides of the spine in the abdominal cavity. They are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood, regulating blood pressure, and maintaining the balance of electrolytes in the body. 

Kidney stones are also known as nephrolithiasis and renal calculi. They are hard mineral and acid salt deposits that can develop inside the kidneys. They are created when the urine becomes too concentrated, allowing the minerals to crystallise and stick together. 

Several factors may cause kidney stones, including diet high in protein, salt, and sugar, dehydration, certain medical conditions such as gout and inflammatory bowel disease, certain medications like diuretics, calcium-based antacids, large doses of Vitamin C supplements etc, genetic factors etc.

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Early Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

The signs and symptoms of kidney stones in males and females are the same. Here is all the essential information you require regarding what are the early signs of kidney stones. 

  1. Severe throbbing pain in the back, belly, or groyne: This pain may come and go and may be powerful enough to cause nausea or vomiting. 
  2. Bloody urine: The presence of blood in urine, also known as haematuria, may indicate the presence of kidney stones.
  3. Urinating more or less frequently: Changes in urinary habits, such as urinating more or less regularly, changing the colour or appearance of urine.
  4. Foul-smelling or cloudy urine: It can be due to infection and inflammation caused by the presence of stones in the urinary tract. The foul smell can be due to bacteria or other microorganisms that have entered the urinary tract.
  5. Fever and chills: If a kidney stone is causing an infection, a person may experience fever and chills.

There are also kidney stones that generally do not cause any symptoms, known as silent kidney stones. They are usually discovered when imaging tests are done for other reasons. Some signs of silent kidney stones are:

  1. Abdominal pain,
  2. Blood in the urine,
  3. Urinary tract infections

Risks of Delaying Treatment of Kidney Stones

Since you must have understood what are the first signs of kidney stones you should also know what may happen if kidney stones are left untreated. Kidney stones can have several risks if left untreated, including:

  1. Obstruction of the urinary tract, which can cause severe pain and lead to infection, kidney damage, or even kidney failure.
  2. Hypertension (high blood pressure) which can be caused if kidney stones lead to inflammation of the urinary tract.
  3. Chronic kidney disease
  4. Urosepsis (a serious infection of the urinary tract) which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.
  5. If a stone is blocking the ureter, and it is too large to pass, it can cause damage to the ureter or renal pelvis which might lead to chronic kidney disease or even renal failure.

How to Prevent Kidney Stones?

It is important to seek medical attention if you notice the first signs of kidney stones. Kidney stones can be formed because of multiple reasons, amongst which your lifestyle can be one of the main reasons. 

There are several lifestyle changes you can do to prevent kidney stones formation:

  1. Staying hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps to dilute the substances in urine that can lead to kidney stone formation. Aim for drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.
  2. Healthy diet: Focus on eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Since a diet high in calcium, oxalates, and animal protein can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. 
  3. Limit salt and animal protein: Excess salt and animal protein can increase the risk of kidney stones. Try to limit your intake of salty foods and choose plant-based proteins, such as beans and lentils, instead of animal proteins.
  4. Get enough calcium: While a diet high in calcium may increase the risk of kidney stones, getting enough calcium is essential for overall health. Try to get calcium from food sources, like dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and nuts, rather than supplements.
  5. Stay active: Exercise can help to prevent kidney stones by promoting healthy urine flow and reducing the concentration of substances in your urine that can lead to kidney stone formation.

By following these tips, you can help prevent the formation of kidney stones and maintain healthy kidney function.

When to Consult a Doctor?

If you want to know about what are the first signs of kidney stones since kidney stones can be a painful and potentially serious condition. It is generally recommended to consult a doctor, especially if you feel any signs of kidney stones like:

  1. Cruciating pain in the back, side, or lower abdomen, radiating pain to the groyne or genitals
  2. Pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting
  3. Blood in the urine
  4. Frequent urge to urinate, especially if accompanied by pain or burning
  5. Difficulty urinating or a weak urine stream

Several people experience a lot of discomforts, while others may feel nothing. It is better to be prepared for some discomfort, as most people feel a lot of pain while passing kidney stones. 


Kidney stones are very common. While some stones can be passed naturally, some may require surgery. Any sharp or sudden pain in the abdomen can be the very early signs of kidney stone. You must visit a doctor if you suspect you have kidney stones, as they can cause significant discomfort and may require medical treatment. 

If you have doubts about kidney stones, contact a HexaHealth expert TODAY! Our team of doctors will provide personalised care assistance at every step of the way, from guidance to after-care and resolve all the queries you may have.


Frequently Asked Questions

The first signs of kidney stones may include abdominal pain, back pain, frequent urination, and blood in the urine.


The most common signs and symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs, radiating pain to the lower abdomen and groin, pain in urination, pink, red or brown urine, nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, urgent need to urinate, difficulty urinating or a weak urine stream.


The signs of passing a kidney stone can include:

  1. A sudden decrease in pain as the stone moves out of the kidney and into the ureter
  2. The passage of a stone in the urine, which may be accompanied by blood in the urine and pain while urinating
  3. The relief of symptoms once the stone has passed

Kidney stones can be detected early through imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or X-ray. These tests can identify the presence of a stone in the kidney or urinary tract. However, it is also possible for kidney stones to go undetected until they cause symptoms or are found during a routine medical examination.

Kidney stones typically cause pain when they move from the kidney to the urinary tract. The pain can start in the abdomen, side, or back, and it may radiate to the groin or lower abdomen. It is often described as a severe, cramping pain that comes and goes in waves.

The most common symptoms of kidney stones in females are severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs, pain while urinating, and frequent urination. Other symptoms can include blood in the urine, nausea, and vomiting.

Some of the early warning signs of kidney stones may include pain in the side and back, below the ribs; pain or burning during urination; blood in the urine; frequent urination; and nausea and vomiting.

Kidney stone symptoms can start suddenly and can vary in intensity. Some people may experience severe pain that comes on suddenly and then goes away, while others may only have mild discomfort or no symptoms at all. 


If you think you have a kidney stone, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can try to help manage your symptoms by staying hydrated, taking over-the-counter pain medication (ibuprofen), and Using a heating pad.


Kidney stones can be painful and potentially serious, but they usually do not require emergency medical treatment. However, in some cases, kidney stones can cause complications that may require immediate medical attention.


If kidney stones go untreated, they can cause severe pain and discomfort, as well as damage to the kidneys and urinary tract. In some cases, untreated kidney stones can lead to kidney infection, kidney damage, and even kidney failure. 

The severity of the first warning signs of kidney stones can vary. Some people may not experience any symptoms at all, while others may experience severe pain, difficulty urinating, and blood in their urine.

The signs and symptoms of kidney stones in males can include pain in the side and back, painful urination, bloody urine, frequent urges to urinate, even when there is little or no urine in the bladder, nausea and vomiting, difficulty urinating or a weak urine stream.


Kidney stones can be silent, meaning that they do not cause any symptoms known as silent kidney stones. This can happen if the stones are small enough to pass through the urinary tract without causing any blockage or irritation. In some cases, people with kidney stones may not be aware that they have them until they show up on a routine imaging test or during a checkup for an unrelated health issue.


It is possible to have a kidney stone without knowing it for a long period, as kidney stones do not always cause symptoms. However, once the stone begins to move down the ureter and into the bladder, it can start causing symptoms.


Updated on : 29 September 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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