Symptoms & Causes of Kidney Stones

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Symptoms of kidney stones include

  • sharp pains in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin
  • pink, red, or brown blood in your urine, also called hematuria
  • a constant need to urinate
  • pain while urinating
  • inability to urinate or can only urinate a small amount
  • cloudy or bad-smelling urine

See a health care professional right away if you have any of these symptoms. These symptoms may mean you have a kidney stone or a more serious condition.

Your pain may last for a short or long time or may come and go in waves. Along with pain, you may have

  • nausea
  • vomiting

Other symptoms include

  • fever
  • chills
Photo of a man suffering from sharp pains in his lower back.
You may have a kidney stone if you have pain while urinating or feel a sharp pain in your back or lower abdomen.

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones are caused by high levels of calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus in the urine. These minerals are normally found in urine and do not cause problems at low levels.

Certain foods may increase the chances of having a kidney stone in people who are more likely to develop them.

September 2016
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings through its clearinghouses and education programs to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.