How to Know When You've Passed a Kidney Stone

By Kate Bruscke

Kidney stones, or hard deposits of mineral and acid salts, form when these materials are overly concentrated in urine. The materials crystallize and form solid stones that pass through the urinary tract and out of the body. Some small kidney stones can pass out of the body without you even realizing it; however, some cause symptoms as they pass from the body. This step-by-step can help you identify if you are in the process of passing a symptomatic kidney stone.

Identify if you have pain. The pain from passing a kidney stone typically begins as back pain or pain in the side, below the ribs, and extends down to the groin.

Time any pain that you experience. Kidney stone pain usually comes in waves that can last between 20 and 60 minutes.

Check your urine. As you begin to pass a kidney stone, your urine may be cloudy or have a strong odor.

Strain your urine as you pass it by urinating through the strainer. This will catch any kidney stones that you pass. They are solid masses and usually yellow, green or brown in color.

Save any stones you pass to be checked by your health care provider, who can confirm whether they are kidney stones.

Tips

Drinking large amounts of water helps kidney stones pass out of the body. If you suspect you may be passing a kidney stone, drink as much water as you can handle.

Warnings

If you need treatment for kidney stones or if you are experiencing severe pain, cramping, fever, blood in your urine or blockage of your urine, call a physician or health care provider immediately.

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