Signs and Symptoms
Kidney stones can be present in the kidney without causing symptoms for months, years, and sometimes decades (Curhan 2012). Symptoms usually occur as a result of a stone moving into a ureter. Stones under 5 mm in diameter (less than one-fifth of an inch) are often eliminated on their own (Fallon 2015; UMMC 2013).
The hallmark symptom of a kidney stone lodged in or obstructing a ureter is severe flank pain that comes on suddenly and is distinctly one-sided. The pain may wax and wane, but typically does not go away. Nausea and vomiting frequently accompany the pain, which can radiate to the front of the body or the groin, depending on where the stone is lodged (Curhan 2012). A stone that moves closer to the bladder may cause a frequent urge to urinate or a burning sensation with urination (UMMC 2013). Blood may be visible in the urine, and in some cases this is the only symptom (Curhan 2012). Fever may indicate the presence of a urinary tract infection in addition to stones (UMMC 2013).