Early Signs of a Kidney Stone

Kidney stones can be a frightening and painful experience. While it is possible for anyone at any point in life to experience kidney stones, white men over the age of 50 are most at risk for this condition. Knowing the risks and early signs of kidney stones can help those at risk to understand and prevent a potentially painful ordeal.

Abdominal Pain

The most common sign of kidney stones is pain in the abdomen, side or lower back. According to the National Institutes of Diabetes and Dietary and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), solid kidney stones cause tremendous pain and discomfort as they pass though the urinary tract. This pain is most commonly reported as a stinging, cramping pain that comes in waves as the stone makes its way through the urinary tract. Certain more rare types of kidney stones are associated with kidney infection and may lead to a burning-type pain in the abdominal region. In some instances, the pain of kidney stones is so severe that it can lead to nausea.

Blood in the Urine

As a dense, rough stone passes from the kidneys through a narrow urinary tract, it can scrape against the fragile wall of the urinary tract and cause bleeding. The Mayo Clinic explains that this can cause blood to appear in the urine. Likewise, the urine may appear to be pink in color. Kidney stones can also cause the urine to take on peculiar odors.

Urinary Blockage

As a kidney stone travels in the urinary tract, it may affect urinary output. The NIDDK explains that individuals passing a kidney stone may experience frequent, small outputs of urine. In less common cases, urine flow may be blocked entirely by a stone. Complete urinary blockage can be very painful and dangerous and should be brought to the attention of a medical professional as soon as possible.

Personal and Family History

Genetics and family history can also serve as important warning signs for developing kidney stone disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with a family history of kidney stones are at a substantially higher risk of developing stones compared to those with no family history. It is also important to note that individuals with prior incidence of kidney stones are especially at risk for developing future stones at some point in their lifetimes.

About this Author

Chad Stone is a cancer researcher based in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Stone has been an active writer since 2003 and has published high-profile articles on the molecular mechanisms of cancer and other diseases. Dr. Stone is a specialist in cancer metastasis of breast, colon, kidney and other carcinomas.