Symptoms vary according to the size, shape and position of the stone. Symptoms may also vary according to the nature of any underlying condition. Kidney Stones, or in medical terms Renal Calculi may be present for years without giving rise to symptoms. They may be discovered during radiological examination for another disorder. Due to this reason, renal calculi are also called as silent stones.
Most of the time, a person with a kidney stone presents with pain, recurrent urinary tract infection or clinical features of urinary tract obstruction.
But the most common complaint arising from renal calculi is a dull and an intermittent pain in the loin or back, which increases by movement, particularly on walking upstairs. Protein, red cells or leukocytes may appear in the urine. Therefore, it can be said safely that a dull pain in the loin is mostly an indication of a renal stone.
When a stone gets impacted in the ureter, an attack of renal colic develops. The patient suddenly becomes aware of pain in the loin. This pain radiates round the flank to the groin and often into the testis or labium (if patient is female). The pain gradually increases in intensity and reaches to a maximum in a few minutes. The patient is really restless and generally tries unsuccessfully to obtain relief by changing position and by pacing the room. There is pallor, sweating, vomiting and the patient may groan in agony.
The pain usually decreases within two hours, but may continue unabated for hours or days. It must be kept in mind that the pain is usually constant during attacks. However, slight fluctuations in severity may occur.
Hematuria or blood in the urine is common with renal stones because majority of the stones are oxalate stones. Although quantity of blood loss is small, but even this amount makes the urine smoky.
Recurrent UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) may also occur accompanied by fever with chills and rigors. Pyuria and burning micturition may also manifest.
Guarding and rigidity of the back and abdominal muscles occur during severe attack of pain.
Uremic symptoms occur in cases of phosphate stones, which lie dormant or hidden for a long time, causing a progressive destruction of renal parenchyma which results in generalized weakness, anorexia (loss of appetite), headache, pruritus and loss of libido.
While in case of ureteric colic, the pain is sudden, in contrast to the renal stone dull pain, and it passes from loin to the groin. This pain is so severe and agonizing that it causes the patient literally to draw up to his knees and roll about. The pain also causes nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating and strangury.