Early warning signs of kidney stones

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Kidney stones, those pesky little crystalline formations that can wreak havoc in one’s urinary tract, are more common than many might think.

Affecting a significant portion of the population at some point in their lives, these stones form when minerals and salts in the urine crystallize and stick together.

While small stones may pass unnoticed, larger ones can block the flow of urine and cause a world of pain.

This review aims to shed light on the symptoms and early signs of kidney stones, offering a clearer understanding.

What Exactly Are Kidney Stones?

In the simplest terms, kidney stones are hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. Diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications are among the many factors that can increase the risk of kidney stones.

Symptoms and Early Signs to Watch Out For

One of the tricky aspects of kidney stones is that they often lie silent in the kidney, causing no symptoms until they begin to move down the ureters—the tubes leading to the bladder.

It’s this movement that can turn a silent stone into a glaring alarm bell, signaling its presence through a variety of symptoms:

Pain, and Plenty of It: The most telling sign of a kidney stone on the move is severe pain. This isn’t just any pain; it’s often described as one of the strongest pain sensations known.

It can start in the side and back, below the ribs, and radiate to the lower abdomen and groin. The pain might come and go in waves of intense sharpness, a reflection of the stone moving and causing spasms.

Urinary Changes: Another hallmark of kidney stones is changes in urination. This can include an increased urge to urinate, urinating more often than usual, or pain during urination.

The urine itself might appear cloudy, red, brown (signaling blood), or have a foul smell. These changes can signal that a stone is blocking the flow of urine or causing irritation.

Nausea and Vomiting: The intense pain from kidney stones can lead to nausea and vomiting. This is the body’s response to the severe discomfort and also reflects the close nerve connections between the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract.

Fever and Chills: If an infection is present, fever and chills can accompany a kidney stone. This is a more serious symptom indicating that the stone might be causing a blockage that leads to infection.

Recognizing the Early Warning Signs

Many people with kidney stones have no idea they have them until they start to cause problems. However, recognizing the early signs can lead to earlier intervention and treatment.

Paying attention to any unusual urinary symptoms or unexplained abdominal or back pain can be key. Hydration is critical for preventing stones from forming in the first place, as water helps to dilute the substances in the urine that lead to stones.


Kidney stones are a common and often intensely painful condition that can affect anyone. While they might start silently, the symptoms they eventually trigger—severe pain, changes in urination, nausea, and possibly fever—are hard to ignore.

Understanding these signs and seeking prompt medical attention can not only help alleviate the immediate discomfort but also prevent complications.

Staying well-hydrated and being mindful of dietary choices can also play a role in prevention, helping those at risk to avoid the pain and inconvenience of kidney stones.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about pesticide linked to chronic kidney disease, and this drug may prevent kidney failure in people with diabetes.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about drug duo that may treat kidney failure, and results showing these vegetables may protect against kidney damage.

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