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How is a Kidney Stone Diagnosed?

Diagnosing kidney stones involves a thorough medical history review, physical examination, imaging tests (ultrasound, CT scan), blood tests (CBC, CMP), and urinalysis.

  • 09 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

Kidney stones, despite their size, can cause intense pain and significant health issues. These crystal formations that develop in the kidneys bring discomfort and require a deep understanding for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Kidney stones exhibit a range of symptoms that indicate their presence. The notable sign is excruciating pain, usually concentrated in the back or side and radiating towards the abdomen. The diagnosis of kidney stones may require various tests.

Diagnosis of Kidney Stone

  • Thorough Evaluation of Medical History

The diagnostic process begins with an examination of the patient’s background. Healthcare professionals carefully explore aspects including:

  •  Symptoms experienced by the individual.
  •  Characteristics of pain considering its nature, intensity and duration.
  •  Family history is examined to identify any genetic predispositions.
  •  Dietary habits are assessed to understand their role in kidney stone formation.

This thorough evaluation forms the basis for further decisions.

  • Physical Examination
    • In depth Assessment of Symptoms: Conducting a detailed physical examination actively identifies symptoms related to kidney stones. It meticulously evaluates signs such as flank pain or tenderness as indications of kidney stones.
    • Blood Pressure and Kidney Function Assessment: Evaluating blood pressure and overall kidney function provides a comprehensive understanding of the patient's renal health.
  • Imaging Tests

To determine the presence of kidney stones, various imaging tests can be employed:

  • Ultrasound: Utilising waves, ultrasound is an imaging technique that creates images of the kidneys helping visualise any stones present. It is an efficient method to identify the location and size of kidney stones.
  • Non-Contrast CT Scan: This radiographic procedure generates sectional images, enabling accurate identification and characterisation of kidney stones. It is particularly beneficial for individuals to contrast agents.
  • Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP): By injecting a contrast dye into the bloodstream, IVP enhances X-ray images of the tract. This contrast-enhanced radiography provides a view of the kidneys, ureters and bladder, aiding in stone identification. IVP is especially useful in assessing urine flow and detecting any obstructions caused by stones.


  • Blood Tests
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): Examining the levels of blood cells, such as white blood cells and platelets, helps identify any abnormalities linked to kidney stones. Deviations in blood cell counts may indicate conditions that contribute to the development of kidney stones.
  • The Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP): This blood test evaluates substances such as electrolytes, kidney function markers, and liver function markers. It provides an understanding of metabolic processes in the body. Abnormalities in the CMP results may indicate disruptions in the body's metabolic balance and provide information about factors contributing to the development of kidney stones.


  • Urinalysis

Urinalysis is used to identify the presence of blood or crystals in urine, which may indicate kidney stone formation. Patients may be asked to collect any passed stones in the laboratory using a strainer for analysis. Analysing these stones can offer insights into their composition and help guide personalised treatment plans.

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Health insurance covers the expenses of diagnosing stones, encompassing imaging studies and blood tests. Comprehensive health insurance guarantees access to these procedures without imposing financial burdens on individuals. Early and precise renal stones diagnosis facilitates timely intervention, enhancing the effectiveness of treatment strategies and reducing potential complications. Also, consume at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily to uphold a healthier balance in the urinary system by ensuring adequate hydration.

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