Kidney stones are small, hard deposits made of mineral and acid salts that form inside the kidneys. Kidney stones have many causes and can affect any part of your urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder. Passing kidney stones can be extremely painful, but there is rarely any permanent damage.
A kidney stone may not cause symptoms until it moves around within the kidney or passes into the ureter — the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. At that point, these signs and symptoms may occur:
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Pain on urination
- Pink, red or brown urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Urinating more often than usual
- Fever and chills if an infection is present
Depending on your situation, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances, surgery may be needed.