Ask KidneyStoners.org: Why do I still have pain after passing a stone?

In our “Ask KidneyStoners.org” section, we field questions from stone formers or their family members. See previous questions and answers here.

 

January 13, 2012.

Question about residual pain after passing a stone from a stone former in England, UK:

” I am 61 years old and have never had a kidney stone before last Saturday (almost 1 week ago). I was hit with sudden, excruciating pain in my kidney area. I went to hospital and was treated with pain meds and kept in over night. The pain was so bad that I thought I would pass out with it. The following day the pain had subsided and I had a full bladder CT scan (no medium used). The scan showed a swelling below the kidney, indicating that I had had a stone but that it had passed. The doctor could not see any sign of any more stones although the CT scan had not yet been reported by a radiologist. The problem is that I seem to have some dull pain still around the same kidney and fear it being another stone. I wonder if there would be some residual pain after passing a stone for a week or so? Or could it be more trouble?”

Answer:

The experience that you described is consistent with a stone episode and although a stone was not seen on your CT scan, it is not uncommon for patients to have already passed a stone by the time a CT scan is obtained. It is also not uncommon to have residual discomfort after a stone has passed. We aren’t aware of good data on this phenomenon but we have seen patients complain of mild discomfort for up to several weeks after passing a stone. This discomfort may be due to remaining inflammation or swelling in the ureter and kidney area and should resolve on its own.

There are also some less likely reasons why someone may have persistent pain. Some of these include:

1) A stone was “missed” on the CT: While CT scans are highly accurate for detecting stones, there are a few scenarios where a stone can go undetected. A CT that does not include images of the entire length of the ureter but that instead stops before reaching the bladder can miss a stone that is further down. Also, a stone in the lowest part of the ureter near the bladder can sometimes be confused for calcifications known as phleboliths that can look similar on a CT scan.

2) There was another cause for your pain, unrelated to stones: Congenital obstructions of the ureter, known as ureteropelvic junction obstructions, can cause pain similar to a stone episode and will demonstrate swelling in the kidney on a CT scan. However, other clues on the CT scan will usually allow your physicians to determine whether this scenario is a possibility. Other uncommon causes for kidney swelling and pain that may not be easy to detect with a non-contrast CT scan can include passing a blood clot or piece of kidney tissue down the ureter, having a scar or other obstruction of the ureter, and very rarely, having a tumor involving the ureter.

It would be advisable for you to followup with your physician to review the radiologist’s report. Some physicians, including most urologists, may also review the actual CT scan images. You can consult with your physician to determine whether a followup ultrasound or CT scan is necessary to insure that the swelling in the kidney resolves. It should resolve if what you had was actually a successfully passed stone.

Please note that this information is not intended to represent medical advice or professional opinion. Each patient’s case is unique and we recommend that all patients seek care with a local medical professional who can thoroughly review the circumstances and details of their case.

 

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36 Responses to Ask KidneyStoners.org: Why do I still have pain after passing a stone?

  1. Laura Bishop says:

    Experienced extreme pain in my right side mid back beginning at 9 a.m. yesterday, by 10 a.m. the pain being unbearable I took 10mg of Oxycodone, then at 10:30 a.m. took 10 mg of Baclophen hoping a muscle relaxer would help. So then by 11:00, I was vomiting. After a potty break, still no relief. So off to the ER I went. Several hours of pain meds, Phenergan, blood texts and CT scan, Dr says that while they do find one stone in my left kidney, they can find nothing in the right kidney. One day later and my right side is still aching.

  2. Iktam says:

    Im 26 y old I had kedney stone 2cm yes a huge one hh i remove it 6month Ago but i still have pain not a hard one but it disconfort i have seen a doctor he sad i have nothing everything is ok but im sure that im not ok ,so it normal to feel that after the chk wv until this time ? or i have to see an other dr im in dalls if recmd me a good dr thank you and i m sorry to bother you

  3. Sandi says:

    I had a kidney stone 3 mm. Had a second CT and the MD said it was gone. Now I am having almost constant pain/ pressure on the left side and was awaken with pain like I had before passing the stone. Actually had to take a pain pill. They are treTing me for a overactive bladder but the sensation is continual. I feel like the Dx is incorrect . They gave me an appt for 6 months and said they will do a kidney sonogram then. I however cannot continue like this, I donor even want to leave the house when it is at its worse. Seems like it is more tha OAB. Any thoughts out there?

  4. Keith says:

    I passed a stone on my own about 2 weeks ago approximately 3mm in size. I also had litotripsy done in late April to get rid of a 5mm stone. That worked thankfully. I am still experiencing some kidney discomfort from time to time as well as discomfort in the inner right thigh which I think is the bladder..Anyone experience this?

    • Vickif says:

      I passed my stone over a month ago and have a nagging ache at that Kidney sight. Very annoying. If you figure it out, let me know.

  5. Keith says:

    I passed a stone on my own about2 weeks ago approximately 3mm in size. I also had litotripsy done in late April to get rid of a 5mm stone. That worked thankfully. I am still experiencing some kidney discomfort from time to time as well as discomfort in the inner right thigh which I think is the bladder..Anyone experience this?

  6. patricia Hill says:

    I passed stone. Doctor said I had small one in left kidney but so small it would not hurt if it decided to pass. If it passes will that explain the horrible repeat pain on the right side of my back at the waist? Thank you.

  7. Mike says:

    About 7 days ago I started having pain in my groin / right testicle and went to the ER. I was asked to take a urine sample and do an ultrasound on my testicles. While taking the urine sample, there was an intense burning which followed up with an alarming amount of blood when I finished (I thought for sure I had some sort of prostate cancer), however the ultrasound as well as the urine test came up with negative for anything of the such. I was asked to take another blood test, urine sample, and have an xray done of my abdomen. The xray showed no signs of a stone, and the urine showed no signs of blood, but my blood test showed a very high number of white blood cells and zero red blood cells, which indicated infection. After telling the doc about the incident with the urine sample, his diagnosis was that I had a kidney stone which I had passed before the xray, and the high white blood cell count was from a infection left by the stone. I was given enough antibiotics to last 6 and a half days taking 2 a day. It’s now the 5th day of my medication and I have been feeling very subtle pain in several places around my abdomen. Yesterday almost all day I had subtle pricks of pain in my right side below my rib cage, but today the pain has been closer to my left testicle. Could this be a second stone that I am passing, is it the after effects of passing a stone, or could it just be the last of the infection? I’m a 27 male and I think this is the first time I have had a kidney stone. I’m seeing my family doctor tomorrow for a follow up.

  8. Sylvia says:

    I am 15 years old and I just had surgery for my 6mm kidney stone last Tuesday. My doctor put in a stent and told me to keep it in for a week. However, if the pain was unbearable I was allowed to remove it. I removed it yesterday evening and I’m still experiancing an insane amount of pain on my right side in my back. I have tried everything from taking a bath, drinking water,taking my meds, sleeping, a heat pad, and more. The pain is unbearable still and iI’m not sure on what to do.

    • joyce says:

      How are you dong with your stone.I have been in pain since August 2014,had a stent put in and in a week or so had my 6mm stone blasted and had another stent put in.I had the second stent taken out at the Dr.office and I had such pain from that I almost screamed in the office and asked if that was a normal amount of pain and reaction.It is almost 2weeks since I had that done and I still have pain .I am so sick of drinking I havent eaten very much since that too.How long did it take you to be pain free?

  9. Dor says:

    I passed a kidney stone three days ago. The pain was so unbearable. Went to ER …. nothing they can do but pain meds. Nothing showed up on the scan. Day three and im pretty sore and weak….. is this normal?

  10. tam says:

    I was told I had a 0.3 size stone near my bladder and now have infection.. I still per every hour and the pain is dull. Need to go to doctor next week. Was in the er with bad pain. I am so weak all the time. Had one in May but it was gone quick. This is just hanging on forever.

  11. Chip Beard says:

    I am a 50 yr old man, two days ago I was driving into work and began experiencing excruciating pain in my left lower back. I went to my Doctor, she sent me for a CT Scan, they said I had a kidney stone 2mm, gave me Flomax and pain meds (codeine). Later that night the pain intensified, I was drinking lots of water, walking, etc… Finally around 4am (18hrs after first noticed pain) I passed what I considered the stone. Was finally able to sleep, for 3 hrs, then the pain returned, and it took 8 hrs to pass a second stone, looked about the same size as first. This process has now repeated itself 2 more times. It has been 48hrs since original pain started, I have experienced at least 4 different episodes where the pain has increased and subsequently I have passed a stone. I am scheduled to see my Doctor again on Monday, but I’m not sure I can go another 48hrs like this….any suggestions?

  12. K.Ravi says:

    I passed my 5.5mm stone within 4 days after severe pain on my right side. I took daily 4 ltr water with lemon drops

  13. Christine Newland says:

    I had some dull pain in my right side u der my ribs and lower back pain which eventually intensified and felt like my lower back was broken. At first I thought I had gall stones and had an ultr sound which came back negative. I then had a very bad attack with chills, nausea and projectile vomiting and darker ursine. Rushed to ER …put on morphine and fluid drip. Was likened to worse than labor pains. Had another ultra sound. This time they found a 3 mm kidney stone in right side. Sent home with Flow Max and codeine for pain but told only to use Flow Max if I have another really bad episode and to just drink lots of water. It has even 4 weeks and still have on and off discomfort, especially in bladder down low….a dull Intermttant aching. I have tried Lemmon water….cranberry juice….ginger tea. Will try ginger impress as friend suggested. My stone is stubborn about leaving. How long might it stay in there. Do they ever blast them at this 3mm size? If I cannot tell what type of stone it is, how do I know what diet to follow to prevent this from getting larger or forming others? Thanks.

    • Christine Newland says:

      Oh….I had no fever and no infection.

      • Sasha says:

        It took me over 12 weeks to pass my 3mm stone….i wouldnt recommend lithotripsy just yet…drink plenty of lemon barley water consume alot of water. I also recommend(of course depends on your age) a bit of an intense cardio exercise like skipping jumping jogging. I tried out shaun t’s insanity and it worked! When it hurts most is when the stone is trying to get out so even though you are in pain just keep walking! Dont pamper the stone force it out!!!!

        • Rich says:

          Sasha’s advice is excellent! I passed mine after about 55 hours. The pain was so bad I wept, but after 48 hours of pain and nausea and bed rest I’d had enough, and started taking walks, doing jumping jacks, and mowed the lawn (riding mowers vibrate a lot). After 4 hours of jumping around and walking (yes, it really, really hurt), and lots of fluids and some light chicken soup, the 4mm bugger finally passed quietly.

          • Charlene Crosthwaite says:

            I’ve passed a total of six stones! Four after a stent was inserted to push a large (1.7 centimeter) stone out of the tube it was blocking.
            Passing them not pleasant with constant backache and cramping. Was told not to do a lot of moving around before large stones were blasted as they were causing my kidney to bleed. Drank lots of fluids and given Flomax for a little while. Still have a few stones about 8 millemeters in size, so stent staying in another week. Blasting took place on the 15th of July. Dr. said it could take a few weeks to get rid of the remaining stones.

  14. Glinda says:

    I have been suffering with a kidney stone for offer three years. Some of the “excellent” medical advice I have received is “the blood in your urine is not from your kidney stone” my urologist. “That pain is not your kidney stone, it is too high”,- emergency room nurse upon hearing my complaints, ( prior to the xray that showed I had a blockage.)” You won’t have any pain from this kidney stone..it will stay in your lower kidney till you die” -urologist
    “kidney stones ONLY hurt when they enter your ureter” my urologist and primary doctor. “the kidney stone was broken up by the therapy” -urologist only to discover a week later by my primary that it was still located in the kidney unchanged. “you should not need any pain medication” yeah right…

    • Charlene Crosthwaite says:

      I was diagnosed with kidney stones and a mass (that required a biopsy–benign–thankfully), but started experiencing severe pain and brownish urine two weeks later, only to be told that it was probably from the biopsy. Four days later I was hopitalized with a blocked tube and had to have a stent installed. Uncomfortable, yes, but not nearly as painful as the blockage. Stones can move around and cause bleeding at anytime. I felt that people thought I just wanted to get the pain medications. NOT! They make me extremely sick when I take them. Make sure you drink lots of fluid. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is to pass them.

  15. Niki says:

    I am a 30 year old female. Up until recently I have never had any major medical problems. On Halloween I started to feel some pain in my left side which radiated into my back. After almost two weeks of on and off pain I finally went to the ER where they did a CT and found a 3mm stone, also told me that I had a UTI. I was told to follow up with my primary and gyno along with a urologist. When I went to the urologist he told me to drink plenty of fluids and it should pass. After two more weeks it still didn’t pass so they did surgery to remove it on Dec 14th. (6 weeks after initial pain) The recovery was horrible for about 3 days then managable, and finally back to normal ( ten days later) but the problem is that it’s been a month of feeling great and now I am having very familiar pain in my left side. I am wondering if this is lingering from stone #1 or if it is a potential stone #2? The urologist did say that I have other stones forming but since I am still new at this I’m wondering if this is normal post stone pain? I of course will be following up with my urologist but was just looking for answers in the meantime. Thanks.

  16. Anita Weichert says:

    I woke up with pelvic pain and in my lower back and thought it was female problems went to the ER and they did a CT scan sent me home with Ibuprofen and said to make an appt with Gynocologist. The appt was a day later and I suffered all day with the pain and went into the doctor the next morning by then I was having nausea along with the pain. I thought well maybe appendisitis nope, I sat in the gynocologist office in the bathroom with dry heaves, the nurse knocked on the door and the dr. gave me a shot of zofran for nausea and said he knew what it was he did examine me and no it wasn’t female, he said he had gotten my CT from the ER and there were 4 kidney stones on the right side and blood in my urine. He sent me to the hospital they gave me bags and bags of reg fluids also a one time antibiotic and flomax and then a bag with sodium for 12 hours. I finally passed the stones, they strained my urine everytime I went but I was also passing dead skin from the after affects. So went home the next day on ibuprofen and hydrcodone and flomax. My right kidney and right side of stomach where the utters are is still swollen. Going on day two. The pain is alittle better. I go to a urologist this week for a follow up. i have never experienced this before, I am a diabetic of 40 yrs. Thank you for this site it has helped so much I hope this helps some too.

  17. Shamshad says:

    hai…. i have stone in my left kidney..1 month back doctor have inserted one DJ Stent between my left kidney and bladder.yesrterday i had an operation to remove the stone.In the discharge sheet, it’s written like :

    “Left DJ stent removed,Rigid ureteroscopy done>two guide wires inserted in the ureter.left lower ureter stone fragmented with laser and removed.Rigid ureteroscope removed.iniial access sheath inserted.Flexible uretero pyeloscopy done.left middle calyceal stonegrasped and removed.New 26 cm DJ stent kept ”

    can you please explain what he have done.
    thanks in advance

  18. Stacey says:

    I passed a 3mm stone on 08/06/12. Went to the ER 08/05/12 with pain so bad I couldn’t stand it. CT picked up one stone. Was sent home with pain meds and was told to see a Urologist. I went to his office 08/7/12 he did a ultrasound and Xray. The Xray was clear the ultrasound showed swelling and fluid around my right kidney but no stones. Have been running low grade temp but on antibiotics and taking ibuprofen. I am still having pain on my right side and some in my back. and feel a little bloated on my right side. Everyone I have spoke with that has passed one said they feel normal again once it has passed so not sure why I am still having pain? Can the swelling and fluid around my kidney cause this pain? I am very new to this and not sure what you should feel like after a stone. Thanks.

    • KidneyStoners.org says:

      If you did not see a stone pass, the stone may still be there. Not all stones seen on CT are visible on plain Xray and ultrasounds likewise can miss stones. If the ultrasound still shows swelling and fluid, that also argues for the stone possibly still being there. However, because the stone was a small one at 3mm, it has a high chance of passing and most urologists would let you try to pass your stone yourself. This process can take days to weeks.

    • Shanie says:

      Even I have the same problem, in my case the stone was 4mm they said. by the time I went for the sugery the doc couldn’t find a stone, then he says it may have pushed back in to the kidney or passed it’s been 2 weeks after I’m still having the pain but the pain is not bad it’s like a dull ache. So I dont know what to think, the doc has asked me to do another CT scan

    • Theo says:

      Hi Stacey,

      I passed a few stones last month & also was still having pain afterwards. All of the nurses & docs failed to tell me that the pain can last for weeks after stone passing! Thank goodness for these patient forums where I found out about the lingering pain being normal and common.

      I’ve lost faith in the medical system after what I went through with these stones. I basically ended up diagnosing myself after several different doctor appts., 2 ER visits, almost an entire month of missed work & 4 weeks of HELL!!

      I’m scared to death to ever have this happen again!

      Take Care,
      Theo

    • Andrea says:

      My –my I also recently went to ER with pain on my left side and back area.
      CT was done they said I had passed a small kidney stone. I was sent home with anti inflammatory and pain meds, several days have passed and still I fill pain. I’ve read so many different scenarios, could the swelling really be causing this pain still after one week actually almost two weeks.
      Exactly how long does it take before you get relief?

    • Vickif says:

      It’s been one month for me after passing stone and I still have the dull ache in the kidney area. Very annoying. Anyone figure this out yet?

  19. Skypie says:

    Passing a Kidney Stone does not mean that there is only one. In many cases, there could be several small, 2-4mm stones that are located within the Kindey, waiting to move. If you have expereinced one stone passing, and you did not require ER assistance, consult with your family doctor. I recenty had to visit the ER and thought that a stone had passed. Fortunately the hospital ER located in downtown Toronto, which btw is free to ALL Canadians and only took 15-minutes for me to be processed and in a bed with pain medication and IV and then after 1-hour into a CT Scan. Prognosis, I have two stones, one trying to pass and one not indicating that it wants to pass. The Scan shows stones either at the top, middle, bottom of the Kidney. The one’s at the bottom are problematic. I wsa presecribed Flomax to help move the lower stone and Percocet for the pain. I’ve used lemon juice and it does work on Calculus stones, but do your research to see what you can avoid in your diet to lessen the probability of a stone.

    Hope this helps…

  20. G. Shortell says:

    I passed a kidney stone approximately two weeks ago. I continue to feel discomfort feeling a need to urinate even after emptying my bladder. I continue to drink plenty of water & stopped drinking coffee. Hoping the discomfort will pass soon.

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