Can Stress Cause Kidney Stones?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

can stress cause kidney stones

The progressive statistical study has proven that one in every ten people will experience kidney stones at some point in their lives. And the prevalence of this condition in the United States has gone up from 3.8% in the 1970s to 8.8% in the late 2000s, which is a humongous jump. 

Can stress cause kidney stones? The answer is yes. We have run our research and have validated our sources to conclude that prolonged stress can cause kidney stones and even worsen the condition. 

If a person has experienced kidney stones two or more times in a year, it’s proven to be due to elevated stress conditions. Various reasons contribute to stress and lead to not just kidney stones but any other problems. 

So, to help you deal with the kidney stone outcomes of stress, we have tried to gather every piece of information that can help you learn about the condition and help improve it. 

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Before you learn the connection between stress and kidney stones, you should learn the general causes of kidney stones. Below are a few of the factors that increase your risk of experiencing kidney stones:

Drinking Less Water

The human body must urinate sufficiently to drain out or dilute the things within, which can eventually become stones. If you’re not drinking sufficient water and aren’t sweating much, then your urine will seem darker. Healthy urine should have a pale-yellow color or should be clear. 

Improper Diet

An inappropriate diet will lead to developing kidney stones over time. Some improper foods cause oxalate and calcium to stick to your kidneys while urinating. At first, this might not be an evident trigger to kidney stones. But when this reaction frequently occurs within your body, then there’s a high chance you’ll experience kidney stones. 

Even though oxalate is found in various healthy vegetables and food items, your doctor will still ask you to limit it if you have already been through kidney stones. Some food items with high oxalate are spinach, bran cereal, grits, and rhubarb. 

Animal Protein

Kidney stone also gets triggered when your urine is too acidic. And this condition takes place when you eat too much red meat or shellfish. Consuming too much animal protein will cause uric acid in your body. 

Uric acid will get collected in your joints and can either create gouts or flow onto the kidneys to make a stone. Moreover, another possibility is that animal protein increases the calcium level in your urine and lowers the citrate level. Both of these aspects will escalate the chances of kidney stones. 


You’re more likely to have kidney stones if you’re overweight or obese. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) rating should be below 30 to be healthy. Anything above 30 is termed obese, and that will trigger the formation of kidney stones. 

woman holding her belly fat

Type 2 Diabetes

If you’re suffering from Type 2 diabetes, then the chances of experiencing kidney stones increase. Your urine becomes more acidic, which is already an evident cause of encouraging the formation of stones in your kidney. 


Stress is more like a condition that triggers all of the above causes that encourage kidney stones. It means stress leads you to follow a bad cycle of diet, exercise, sleep, and other such habits. As a result, it develops a chain of reactions in your body that might be responsible for the formation of painful kidney stones. 

Kidney Stone Types

When you head out to your doctor to diagnose your pain symptoms in the kidney or abdominal region, they’ll run tests to determine your type of kidney stone. It helps the doctor understand the root cause of this stone formation and helps treat it in the right direction. 

So, as you’re here to tackle this condition, you must have a theoretical understanding of it. The various types of kidney stones are:

Calcium Stones: Calcium kidney stones are the commonly diagnosed ones. They’re in the form of calcium oxalate, a substance that your body absorbs through diet or is formed by the liver. 

Struvite Stones: Struvite kidney stones are the repercussions of urinary tract infections. Such stones tend to grow faster and become problematic for the overall health in a short time. 

Cystine Stones: If a person is going through hereditary health adversity, namely, cystinuria. In this condition, your kidneys will be forced to excrete too much amino acid. And that leads to the formation of cysteine stones. 

Uric Acid Stones: When people tend to lose too much fluid due to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, a high-purine diet, malabsorption, chronic diarrhea, or anxiety diarrhea, uric acid stones are formed. Some genetic factors also contribute to forming such stones in your body. 

What Causes Pain from Kidney Stones?

The painful sensation with kidney stones is usually because of the spasms due to stones stuck in your ureter. The pain again escalates due to the pressure imposed on your kidney due to urine backup. 

Many women have also described the pain of passing a kidney stone as worse than pain during childbirth. In some cases, the stones are small enough to cause no blockage and pass through the urinary tract without giving you any pain symptoms. 

The stones causing the blockage initiate pain at the back, around the kidneys, spine below the rib cage, groin, or lower abdomen. 

a hand holding a brown kidney model

There’s a tissue that surrounds the kidney, called a capsule, which doesn’t have any nerve fibers for transmitting any form of pain. But, due to the kidney pressure and urine backup, this capsule expands. Hence, this swelling activates the nerve fibers and signals the brain an intense pain. 

If you ask us how fast can kidney stones form or grow bigger to cause pain symptoms, then the answer is either in a few weeks or months. It all depends on the saturation point of your body to withstand the urine with some adverse substances.  

Can Stress Cause Protein in Urine?

When you’re under intense stress, depression, anxiety, or burden, your body will develop physical oxidative stress. Hence, this will affect your body’s renal system and increase the production of albuminuria. It’s a sign of kidney disease, which signifies that you have too much albumin, a blood protein, in your urine. 

The condition where stress initiates a protein flow in your urine is called proteinuria. The lesser the protein in your urine, the better will be your kidney health. There are diagnosis and treatment remedies to help cure this problem before it worsens to form kidney stones. 

How Does Stress Contribute to Kidney Stones?

Stress, when reacted together with chronic dehydration problems, will lead to form kidney stones. Anxiety, depression, and stress increase the blood pressure in your body, and the blood sugar level also rises. And both of these conditions can affect your kidney, as well as your heart. 

Stress often forces us to change our usual lifestyle habits. We miss out on routines for food, sleep, and exercise. At the same time, we adopt bad habits of consuming alcohol, heavy intake of caffeine, eating junk, and gaining weight. Such lifestyle changes give rise to various medical causes of kidney stones. 

For women, stress can cause more than just kidney stones. People were also asking us questions such as, “Can stress cause spotting?” And the answer is Yes! Stress can cause spotting in women if it occurs during the initial phase of the menstrual cycle. Click the link to learn more!

How to Prevent Kidney Stones Caused by Stress?

Some medically suggested remedies can help you prevent kidney stones caused by stress. If you’re worried about what your stress symptoms can lead you to, then kidney stones are one possibility. It’s time you implement the below remedies to prevent the worst pain conditions due to kidney stones:

Exercise: Exercise acts as a stress reliever and will ease your mind to avoid negative habits for your health. 

Stay Hydrated: Count on drinking around six to eight glasses of water every day. It will help you dilute all the waste chemicals in your urine that can form kidney stones if they stay back. Fifty percent of all fluids you consume in a day should be plain water. 

Better Sleep: You must get around eight hours of sleep every day which will eventually keep you away from caffeine and also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

man sleeping on bed and hugging a pillow

Eat Healthily: Omit the idea of eating too much red meat or foods rich in sugar and sodium. You can eliminate too much sugar and sodium by avoiding processed or packaged foods. 

Increase Fiber Intake: Insoluble fiber found in barley, rice, wheat, and rye will help you deteriorate the calcium effect in the urine, as you know that too much calcium, when mixed with oxalate, can also form stones. 

Don’t Let Stress Cause You Any More Irreversible Pain: FAQs

What is the Main Cause of Getting Kidney Stones?

The main cause of getting kidney stones is dehydration. When you’re not drinking enough water, the harmful components in your urinary tract don’t dilute and stay back in your body to form stones. 

Can Stress Affect the Kidneys?

Yes, stress can affect the kidneys in the worst ways possible. It will deprive you of a healthy lifestyle and may develop abnormalities in your blood pressure and sugar levels. As a result, kidney stones become a possibility. 

You can also check does stress induced hernia.

Does Stress Cause Kidney Pain?

Yes, stress can cause kidney pain. Stress is one of the common reasons for the formation of kidney stones. Stones can get stuck in the urinary tract and block the flow of urine. This condition can develop intense kidney pain.

Can High Cortisol Levels Cause Kidney Stones?

Patients with high cortisol levels increase bone resorption, which contributes to their hypercalciuria condition. It’s a sign that your urine has high amounts of calcium. And that’s what will eventually encourage the formation of kidney stones. 


Now that you know what kidney stones can do to you and how stress is responsible for it, take your chances on preventing it. If you were keen to know, “Can stress cause kidney stones?” you have your answers now! 

We understand that stress, for whatsoever reason isn’t easy to just flush out. But, if that affects your overall health, especially your important life organs, it’s better to keep stress aside and get back to the usual lifestyle that will keep you healthy. 

Being healthy and overcoming stress is a key fundamental in terms of avoiding kidney stones and other health disorders. And to help you in that pursuit, here’s Serenity Mood Enhancement, a stress-relief supplement that promotes good sleep, mental recovery, adrenal support, and enhanced energy.

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