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How are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?

"Silent" kidney stones, those that cause no symptoms, are often found when an X-ray is taken during a health exam. Other people have their stones diagnosed when sudden pain occurs while the stone is passing, and medical attention is needed.

When a person has blood in the urine (hematuria) or sudden abdominal or side pain, tests like an ultrasound or a CT scan may diagnose a stone. These imaging tests tell the health care provider how big the stone is and where it is located.

A CT scan is often used in the ER when a stone is suspected. It is used because it can make a quick and exact diagnosis.