Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Kidney stones vary in size

Kidney stones vary in size
beginning of content

Kidney stones

Kidney stones form from crystals in the urine (wee). They can be painful and sometimes serious. It is important to see your doctor if you think you might have one.

You’re more likely to get kidney stones if you’ve had one before, if they run in your family, or if you have certain health conditions like obesity, high blood pressure or gout.

Some medications, such as antiviral drugs, can increase your risk.

But for most people, they just happen for no good reason.

There are many types of kidney stones, but most often they are made from calcium.

Kidney stone pain

The pain of kidney stones can be severe, although some people feel no pain. You usually feel it in your back, side, lower belly or groin. It is caused by the stone passing from your kidney to your bladder, or from your bladder to the outside world.

Kidney stone symptoms

If you have kidney stones, you may also:

  • have blood in their your urine
  • feel sick
  • vomit
  • have a fever, hot and cold shivers or sweats
  • feel like you have gravel in your urine
  • feel like you need to pass urine often or urgently.

Kidney stones diagnosis

If your doctor thinks you might have kidney stones, you might be asked to have urine tests, blood tests and scans such as an simple plain x-ray and or an ultrasound.

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine recommends that a computed tomography (CT) scan may not always be necessary to diagnose kidney stones. Ask your doctor if a CT scan is necessary for you. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

Kidney stones treatment

You can take simple painkillers like paracetamol if the pain is mild. If the pain is severe, you will need to see your doctor or go to an emergency department.

Ensure you drink adequate amounts of clear fluid such as water.

Most stones are small and come out on their own in the urine. You can check for stones by urinating through a piece of stocking. If you do catch a stone, keep it in a clean jar so your doctor can find out what it is made from.

A larger stone might need to be removed by a surgeon, who can use ultrasound to break it up, or an operation to remove it.

Some people are also advised to take medicine to make the urine less acidic or antibiotics if there there is a kidney or bladder infection.

Preventing kidney stones

You can reduce the risk of getting a kidney stone by:

  • drinking plenty of water
  • eating less meat
  • including citrus fruits, like oranges, in your diet
  • including dairy foods or alternatives in your diet.

If you have had a stone before, your doctor may advise you about additional treatments to help you avoid getting another one.

For more information, visit the Kidney Health Australia website.

Last reviewed: October 2016

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 97 results

Kidney stones - myDr.com.au

Kidney stones: find out the causes, symptoms (including renal colic), tests and treatments. Also, how to prevent kidney stones from recurring.

Read more on myDr website

Kidney stones

For most types of kidney stones, the best ways to prevent stone growth or recurrence are to drink enough fluids, avoid urinary infections and treat with medications.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Kidney stones

Kidney stones cause severe pain that spreads from the loin to the groin, due to a stone that blocks the flow of urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Read more on WA Health website

Kidney Stone Analysis - Lab Tests Online AU

To evaluate the composition of a kidney stone, to help determine the cause of its formation and to guide treatment

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Kidney Stones

The kidneys filter the blood and remove the extra waste and water as urine. Many waste chemicals are in the urine. They can sometimes form crystals that clump together to make stones.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Kidney stones | Kidney Health Australia

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Kidney Health Check | Kidney Health Australia

Kidney Health CheckIf you have one or more risk factors for chronic kidney disease it is recommended that you see your doctor for a Kidney Health Check every two years. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure it is recommended that you have a Kid

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Gout - Lab Tests Online AU

Gout is a condition caused by uric acid crystals forming in the body. When the crystals deposit in joints, inflammation results in severe pain, especially in the feet. The most frequently affected joint is the big toe but gout can also occur in the hands, wrists, knees and feet. During these attacks, uric acid deposits may build up in cartilage, tendons and other soft tissues. They may also form lumps called tophi under the skin and may accumulate in the kidneys causing kidney stones and kidney damage.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Keeping your kidneys healthy | Kidney Health Australia

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Acute Kidney Injury

Acute kidney injury is sudden damage to the kidneys. In many cases, it is temporary   but in some people, it may lead to long‐term chronic kidney disease.

Read more on Kidney Health Australia website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback