Stones In Kidney Symptoms And 6 Causes Of Kidney Symptoms

Substances like renal calculi, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis, stones in kidney are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form stones inside your kidney.

Stones in kidney symptoms can be easily detected, and you should know all the causes and symptoms. Some common causes of kidney stones are diet, excess body weight, and some medical conditions.

Kidney stones often affect the urinary tract from the kidney line to the bladder. If urine is not allowed to be released from the body, permitting minerals to crystallize and stick together, that’s the time when kidney stones form.

Digestive and kidney diseases usually do not cause permanent damage if they are diagnosed at the correct time. You need to go for medical check-ups, take some painkillers, and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone.

If the urinary tract becomes logged with stones, it may cause infection and some more complications.

Doctors may suggest preventive treatment to reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones. If the risk factors of kidney stones increase, even surgery may be needed to remove stones kidney.

1. Stones In Kidney Are Made Up Of?

Kidney stones are of different types and colors. There are four kinds of kidney stones, and they are listed below:

1.1. Calcium Stones (More Than 80 Percent Of Stone)

Calcium Oxalate Crystals in Urine | What are Calcium Oxalate Crystals | Causes-Treatment-Prevention

Most kidney stones are calcium stones. The calcium stones are further divided into two groups: calcium oxalate stones and calcium phosphate stones. However, calcium oxalate kidney stones are the most kidney stones found in people. Calcium Phosphate stones are very rare.

The high content of calcium in urine raises the risk of calcium stones. Some people with low calcium content has calcium stone due to other reasons.

1.2. Uric Acid Stones (Almost 10 Percent Of Stones)

URIC ACID STONES- How to avoid?: Causes- Symptoms-Treatment

The waste product that comes from chemical changes in the body is uric acid. The crystals of uric acid form uric acid stones when dissolved half in acidic urine. Acidic urine may come from:

  • Overweight
  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • High Blood Sugar (Type 2 Diabetes)
  • Gout
  • From animal protein 
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables.

1.3. Struvite/Infection Stones (Almost 10 Percent Of Kidney Stones)

Struvite Crystals in Urine | Struvite Stones | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment

Struvite stones are not a common type of kidney stone found in most people. They are large, have branches, and they grow at a very fast rate.

Infection stones/ Struvite stones are kidney stones related to chronic urinary tract infections(UTIs). Some bacteria make the urine less acidic and make the urine more acidic or alkaline. So, alkaline urine gives rise to Struvite stones.

With repeated urinary tract infections, people, are at high risk for developing these stones. Most people with long-term tubes in their kidneys or bladders or poor bladder emptying due to neurologic disorders have infection stones.

1.4. Cystine Stones(Less Than 1 Percent Of Kidney Stone)

Struvite Crystals in Urine | Struvite Stones | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment

Amino acids found in certain foods are cystine stones. These stones are the building blocks of proteins. When kidneys do not reabsorb cystine from urine, a rare inherited metabolic disorder occurs. Stone formation of such types starts from childhood.

2. Stones In Kidney Symptoms

It may happen that a kidney stone is already growing in your body, and you don’t have any clue about it. But if the stones start to move and become very large and increase your risk of kidney stones, at that time, you will feel the symptoms.

The common symptoms of kidney stones are

  • Severe pain in your lower back or side of your body. This pain starts with a very flat rate and then later increases to severe pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting with the pain.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Pain during urination and tremendous pain in the urinary system.
  • Unable to urinate.
  • You will always feel like you need to urinate more often.
  • Repeated vomiting, fever, or chills.
  • Urine is accompanied by a bad smell or looks cloudy.
  • Color change of urine into pink, red, or brown.

Some stones, like small stones, pass out from your body with urine.

2.1. Stones In Kidney Symptoms In Children

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Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

One of the common symptoms of kidney stones is blood in your urine or pain. The pain that your child will experience will depend on the location and size of the stones. Some other symptoms include are:

  • Pain in colic.
  • When a stone blocks the urinary tract, your child will not be able to urinate. The urine flow will be stopped. It will result in tremendous pain.
  • Vomiting/ fever/ nausea.
  • Weakening of your child results in serious infection.
  • Blood in your urine.
  • Smelling urine and cloudy.

Pediatric kidney stones remain in the kidney. They start to migrate from the kidney to the ureter. Kidney stones which remain in the kidney are often painless but are the source of recurrent UTIs. Stones that stay in the ureter can create very bad pain.

3. Causes Of Digestive And Kidney Diseases

There are many causes for kidney stones to develop in your kidney and increase your risk of living. Some of them are listed below.

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Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

3.1. Stones In Kidney: Decrease In Urine Volume

Constant low urine volume has been a major reason for Kidney stones. Lack of fluid intake results in low urine volume because of dehydration. Continuous hard exercise, working or living in a hot place, or dehydration are the main causes.

Our body needs enough fluids to keep salts dissolved, or else urine will become concentrated and dark in color. It also leads to a bad smell of urine. Fluids keep salt diluted and prevent future stones.

Adults should drink enough fluids to urine at least 2.5 liters every day. This means one has to take at least three liters of fluid a day.

3.2. Stones In Kidney: Diet

Diet can also form kidney stones. The type of kidney stone that develops because of diet is calcium oxalate stone. Lowering the number of high-oxalate foods in your diet will also prevent calcium stones from forming in your body.

But again, if you reduce calcium too much from your diet, it may weaken bone health and may increase kidney stone risk. You should not lower dietary calcium from your diet, but the intake ratio should not be high.

Too much salt in your meal also causes kidney stones. If you do not eat too much salt, then the risk of kidney stones will also decrease. Moreover, you don’t need to reduce calcium-rich foods from your diet.

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Eating foods rich in calcium oxalate also increases the risk of forming a large kidney stone. Foods heavily rich in animal protein, like beef, fish, chicken, and pork, raise acid levels in the body and the urine.

The type of stone that forms due to high acid levels in the urine and the body is calcium oxalate stone and uric acid stones. When the meat breaks down in the digestive system, it also helps to form uric acid, and then both calcium and uric acid stones1 form.

3.3. Stones In Kidney: Bowel Conditions

Inflammatory bowel disease cause diarrhea (such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis) and even gastric bypass surgery. If you are caught by chronic diarrhea, you will lose a large amount of fluid from your body, resulting in low urine volume.

If volume becomes less and uric acid forms at a large rate in your body, these will form calcium stones kidneys.

3.4. Stones In Kidney: Obesity

Obesity is also a reason for more kidney stones formation in your body. It will change acid levels in the urine, leading to stone formation.

3.5. Stones In Kidney: Medical Conditions

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Photo by Accuray on Unsplash

Medical conditions also increase your risk of kidney disease. Calcium metabolism, controlled by the parathyroid gland, can cause calcium levels in blood and urine. This also leads to kidney stones.

Renal Tubular Acidosis, in this case, is the acid build-up in the body. The main cause of the risk of calcium phosphate kidney stones is Renal Tubular Acidosis.

Inherited disorders also form kidney disease. One inherited disease is cystinuria, which has too much amino acid cystine in the urine, making the liver too much oxalate.

3.6. Stones In Kidney: Medication

Medications of calcium and vitamin C supplements will increase the risk of forming kidney stones. DO tell your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you take.

4. Diagnosis And Test Of Stones In Kidney

When you visit your doctor, they will ask you to do some tests. The test may follow:

4.1. Imaging Tests

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Photo by Accuray on Unsplash

Test like X-ray, CT Scan, and Ultra Sound helps the medical team to identify the stone. With these tests, they can see the size, shape, location, and several kidney stones. This will help them to provide actual treatment to you and reduce the risk of kidney stones.

4.2. Blood Tests

This test reveals the functioning of developing kidney stones. It will look for infections and biochemical problems that will lead to kidney stone risk.

4.3. Urine Tests

This test will reveal the stone-forming substances. It also tells the level of infection by the developing stones and whether it can increase your risk of kidney stones.

5. Stones In Kidney Treatment 

Treatment of kidney stones always depends on the type of stone. The cure for kidney stones varies from person to person. However, you can choose treatments to help you get cured. Consult with your healthcare provider for this.

5.1. Let The Kidney Stones Pass By Itself

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Image by Lakshmiraman Oza from Pixabay

Small stones often pass by themself with urine. If the pain is bearable, you can wait for four to six weeks for the stones to pass by themselves.

After the period of six weeks, if there is no infection and some stones are left, then it is best to wait to pass a kidney stone. Drink lots of water, at least four to five liters a day. Some painkillers can be taken when there is discomfort.

5.2. Medication

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Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Medications have been shown to improve, and they are successful in preventing kidney stones from causing any harm. The common medicine given to most people for all types of kidney stones is tamsulosin.

Tamsulosin 2is known to relax the urinary system, making a good flow for the stone to pass. Your healthcare provider might also give you an anti-nausea medicine as long as the treatment goes on.

5.3. Surgery

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Photo by JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash

If the wait does not work, doctors will go for surgery to remove a kidney stone from the ureter or kidney.

Even if the stone affects the kidney’s functioning, it will be necessary to take the kidney stones out manually.

It is best to opt for surgery if the pass causes a lot of pain and repeated infections in the urine or because the urine flow from the kidney is stopped. In surgery, they make small cuts or incisions that cause minor pain and minimal time.

Some surgeries to remove stone kidneys or ureters is

5.3.1. Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL)

Shockwave Lithotripsy

This surgery is used to treat stones, kidneys, and the uterus. The waves are focused on the strong using X-rays or ultrasound 3to pinpoint the stone.

The waves break down the stone after some repeated shock waves. Then these smaller pieces of kidney stone pass out with urine in a few weeks.

Types of kidney stones like cystine and calcium oxalate are unbreakable by shock waves.

This surgery doesn’t take much time, and you can go home the same day. The best thing about it is, you can resume your normal activities in two to three days.

A strainer will be given to you to collect small kidney stones, and they will be in a lab for further testing.

This test is considered the best and safest test so far. It also has some side effects like blood from urine for a few days after surgery. Large pieces often get struct in the upper urinary tract which leads to pain, and in some cases, need tools to remove the pieces.

5.3.2. Ureteroscopy(URS)


This treatment is used to prevent stones from causing more complications in the urinary system.

This process involves passing a tiny telescope called a ureteroscope, into the bladder, up the ureter, and the kidney.

Through the ureteroscope, the healthcare provider will take out the small pieces, and in the case of large stones, they are broken into small pieces with the help of a laser.

A tiny stent is placed in the ureter, which helps the urine flow through a rigid plastic tube from the kidney to the bladder.

This treatment also doesn’t take much time, and you can go home the same day in the best cases. The normal activities can also be started for a week at least.

The stent has to be removed provided by your doctor, or else it may cause an infection and loss of kidney function.

5.3.3. Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

This is the best treatment for large stones in the kidney. A half-inch incision cut is made in the back or side to pass a telescope (nephroscope) and locate the kidney stones.

One more instrument is passed with the telescope to break the pieces. This instrument can suck out the pieces which makes this surgery the best.

A bag is usually left in the kidney to drain out all the stones. The types of kidney stones that this process can easily drain out are calcium oxalate and cystine4.

Some other surgeries that are effective are :
  • Intestinal Bypass Surgery
  • Laparoscopic Or Robotic Surgery

6. Stones In Kidney: Precautions

To prevent kidney stones from growing into large pieces and causing you chronic kidney disease follow these precautions regularly.

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Photo by Nigel Msipa on Unsplash
  • Start drinking enough fluids, about three liters of water, so your urine does not get concentrated and increases your risk of living.
  • Reduce calcium-based antacids from your diet.
  • Reduce salt content in your diet. Sodium causes both urine and calcium and cystine to be high and later can cause trouble.
  • Limit your dietary factors from your daily meal.
  • Consult your health care provider if you have any genetic disorder and if yes, then which type of stone is there in your kidney and urinary system?
  • Consume a good amount of fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce the animal protein (red meat)from your diet, especially from your diet.
  • Add foods to your meal with low oxalate levels.
  • Follow some web pages that will help you regularly with its latest research about how to prevent stones.
  • You must follow some great foundations to know about the type of stone: the National Kidney Foundation, American Kidney Fund, Urology Care Foundation, and National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases(NIDDK5).

Many stones pass on their own, and some large pieces remain back, which causes a lot of pain, sometimes infection, and some more complications.

7. Conclusion

Kidney stones can form due to a variety of factors, including dehydration, certain dietary choices (high in salt, sugar, and oxalates), family history, certain medical conditions (such as hyperparathyroidism), and urinary tract infections.

Symptoms can include severe pain in the back, side, or abdomen, pain while urinating, blood in urine, frequent urination, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, and nausea/vomiting. Diagnostic methods include a physical exam, medical history review, urine tests, blood tests, imaging tests (such as X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds), and analysis of any passed stones.

While kidney stones themselves are not usually life-threatening, they can be very painful and lead to complications like urinary tract infections, kidney damage, or blockage of the urinary tract.

There are many options for your stone in kidney treatment. Even look for your child, and keep the child’s health record updated. If you feel something is wrong, consult medical teams immediately.

Kidney stones can be very dangerous if not treated properly and at the right time.

So do not take it lightly. Always stay updated on your health, and it’s best to consult someone from the Urology Care Foundation and the National Institute Of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Disease  (NIDDK).


1. Who is at risk for kidney stones?

A. People with a family history of kidney stones, certain medical conditions (like gout and urinary tract infections), those who are overweight or obese, and those with a history of dehydration are at higher risk.

2. Can dietary choices impact kidney stone formation?

A. Yes, certain dietary habits can contribute to kidney stone formation. Consuming excessive salt, sugar, and oxalate-rich foods can increase the risk.

3. Do all kidney stones need medical intervention?

A. No, small kidney stones may pass through the urinary tract without medical intervention. However, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate course of action.

Read more

  1. McGrath, Trevor A., et al. “Diagnostic accuracy of dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) to differentiate uric acid from non-uric acid calculi: systematic review and meta-analysis.” European radiology 30 (2020): 2791-2801. ↩︎
  2. Cai, Tong, et al. “Comparison of Serenoa repens with tamsulosin in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Men’s Health 14.2 (2020): 1557988320905407. ↩︎
  3. Al-Dhabyani, Walid, et al. “Dataset of breast ultrasound images.” Data in brief 28 (2020): 104863. ↩︎
  4. Koppula, Pranavi, Li Zhuang, and Boyi Gan. “Cystine transporter SLC7A11/xCT in cancer: ferroptosis, nutrient dependency, and cancer therapy.” Protein & cell 12.8 (2021): 599-620. ↩︎
  5. Seaquist, Elizabeth R., Karen Teff, and Simon R. Heller. “Impaired awareness of hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes: a report of an NIDDK workshop in october 2021.” Diabetes care 45.12 (2022): 2799-2805. ↩︎

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Susanta Biswas

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