Ask Why do I still have pain after passing a stone?

In our “Ask” 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?”


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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100 Responses to Ask Why do I still have pain after passing a stone?

  1. Brett says:

    Your messages give me some comfort so thanks. I am a 50 year old male and just had a stone issue for the first time. I passed the stone after the most miserable 2.5 days of my life and a trip to the ER but I still have significant discomfort in my left kidney, same side as the issue and this concerns me. I went to the urologist today (3 days after passing stone) for a follow up visit and he said this is common although he didn’t have a good answer. I am having an ultrasound tomorrow to make sure my left kidney looks normal. What seems strange is I felt great after the stone passed for say 12 hours and then the pain hit me again. This time it felt more in my lower back as opposed to my left side under my rib cage. It made me think the one stone had an evil twin. The pain now only gets to about a 5 out of 10 but just seems strange to me that it is there at all. I have been taking Advil for this and it works wonders but I am looking forward to getting through a full day without meds. I just had to take more Advil.

    If I had to go through the stone passing again here is what I would tell myself. I would still get to the hospital. I would let them do their thing (CT scan, X-Ray etc.) to confirm a stone and its size. I learned that a stone under 5mm has a good chance of passing on it’s own. Over 5mm there is a totally different story. Mine they said was only 2mm but when it came out seemed to be larger. The ER gave me good meds but sent me home with Percocet and Flomax (to dialate the ureter). Here is the wisdom of having gone through this ordeal – I was prescribed one Percocet every 4-6 hours and Advil okay to take at same time. Take the meds as directed but take again before the pain returns. I waited too long in between and pain became unmanageable to a point that caused vomiting. After allowing the pain to build I found that I had to take 2 Percocet’s to relieve the pain and of course I checked with the Doctor to be sure this was okay. If sleeping for the night, I would even set an alarm for myself to take the meds before the pain woke me up.

    The other thing I tried was a home remedy. I have no idea if it was what made the stone pass but it lived up to its promise. I paid online($40) for a concoction. I was desperate. I will just say it included Coca Cola and asparagus puréed. I was supposed to drink 6 cans of coke in 2 hours followed by puréed asparagus (made into liquid in a blender). I would have tried anything. I love Coke so I said why not. So I got myself to the store bought what I needed. Came home and drank one coke, waited 20 minutes and drank another. At that point I vomited violently and stopped the process. The stone did pass the next morning about 16 hours after I drank the soda. Again I have no idea if it had anything to do with the passing but trying nothing was not an option for me. One thing to note is that I did not experience any pain in my you know what when the stone came out. I was not sure what to expect so that part was a relief. I take it the ureter is thinner than the urethra. Also if I wasn’t urinating into a container and then dumping the urine through a strainer the hospital gave me, I would have never seen it. The stone was dark, pointy and smaller than I expected.

  2. john mike colianno says:

    i passed two or more stones yesterday, the pain in my lower back and left leg are still very strong, i can not walk with out very strong pain in my back almost to there another problem i am having or am i moving to fast after this experience, do i need more time to recover

  3. RH says:

    I had my kidney stone in January time, found out it was stuck, got sent home had several checkups but they couldn’t make a decision on how to help me pass it naturally, I had my opp in September got put to sleep and they had decovered the stone wasn’t there anymore but I’m still getting chronic pain in my kidney😔

  4. Ankit Verma says:

    One night while my stay at office I had the tragedy. I was trying to sleep inside sleeping bag. I started feeling some uncomfort in my spinal area. I stood up and then set for a while on chair. I started feeling pain in back and felt like going to loo. I passed my stools but with lots of sweating and pain. I looked me in mirror and saw my self sweating and felt like vomiting and severe heaviness in chest. I rushed to the room and set for a while but no improvement. It was 2’oclock night. I asked help to one of my colleague and was taken to nearby hospital. They given me painkillers and pain subsided and got the discharge. At home pain started again but this time on right kidney side and I had another visit to hospital. The ultrasound report detected a 3mm stone and I was admitted in hospital. After CT scan, Intravenous pyelogram and X-rays, it was found that a stone was 4.5 mm which stuck in ureter on right side. I was operated by uteroscopy with laser lithotripsy. The doctor had put the stent and discharged me to home with medications. The stone was made up of Calcium oxalate (90%) along with urate and cystine. I further visited hospitals for routine checkups. I had my stent removed after 4 weeks of operation. The doctor advised me to drink plenty of fluids and have some dietary restrictions. I was discharged with antibiotics, painkillers and anti-oxalate medicines. So it was my experience of kidney stone. An unexpected tragedy :-(. I am looking to have recommended lifestyle. But still how would I save myself to have such horrible tragedies? as kidney stones can develop further involving a genetic risk.

  5. Sammy says:

    I passed a kidney stone over a year ago..three months ago I started experiencing a dull pain on the left side kidney area..over the counter pills are not asking could it be residual pain from having had a kidney stone or could it be a kidney infection requiring antibiotics

  6. Xiomara Mendez says:

    I’m currently trying to pass a kidney stone I’m having pain on lower part of stomach n I been having urges to urinate but only a little comes out this is the first time I have to deal with a kidney stone and the pain at first was unbearable

    • Sam says:

      I hope this has resolved. If not, I recommend seeing your provider as you may be causing damage due to a partial obstruction.

  7. Dinesh says:

    I got kidney stone operation 2 months ago but I have feeling pain at kidneys sides why it will happening after operation it is danger or not I want know pls any suggestions

  8. This was my 4th stone. Last one was in 2011. It sort of snuck up on me… Started out as a lower abdomen ache. In fact, I thought it was appendicitis, but then… oh THEN… that oh-too-familiar stabbing, radiating, breath-taking pain hit. JeezLouise! Out on back (in fetal position, child’s pose, head-in-pillow-butt-over-head, absolutely NO relief whatsoever) for 5 days. Rx opioids helped with pain, but interfered with bowel movement (not to mention coherency), so stopped meds and finally (10 days after initial pain) was able to void bowels. Passed the stone two days ago, but – to the OP point, I still feel (what I term) “sympathetic” pains. Almost like “echoes” of the nasty 6mm alien-looking meteorite that made its way from planet Kidney to planet Gotcha! These “echoes” show up in abdomen, left upper chest, right kidney area (where stone formed/descended)… I realize that this may sound odd to some, but that’s what’s going on for me.

    I continue to take ibuprofen (but only moderate amount) and the pains seem to be subsiding day by day. Ugh! I am no stranger to the pain you suffer(ed?) and wish you a speedy recovery.

    • Matthew Dobbs says:

      I have just read your account…..thanks very much, as i am now in agony trying to suppress my laughter only just having been discharged from hospital with the same problem. Seriously though, thanks for the clarity…i too am suffering from after-pain and i was feeling a little concerned, but not now! My problem is as a survivor of a mine blast and therefore continuously on copious quantities of morphine, to get any pain relief at all was all but impossible. I was worried that it was coming back with full vengence, but your description is spot on! Thanks Matthew

    • Angela says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I have the same issues. I had one yesterday, and I still feel the dull pain. It is good to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  9. dev says:

    I had a 6mm calcium stone on right kidney, It was removed after ESWL treatment. By observing the ultra sound report I came to know that there is no stone left. But I don’t know why till after 5 months of ESWL there is a dull pain , occasionally. Kindly tell me the reason behind.

  10. Jose Fuentes says:

    Im currently trying to pass a kidney stone. First time. The pain has been unbelieveable. I thought I passed a stone last night but now I think it was just a blood clot. The pain came back around 4am. I also started getting constipation. I have no urge except to urinate. In currently taking Ketorolac 10mg every 6 hours. Im about to go to pharmacy and ask them about the constipation and something over the counter when the meds run out. Its only for 5 days.

    • Margaret Price says:

      You better start taking big steps to address the constipation. Miralax is safe and can actually be taken 2x a day along with 4 stool softeners a day. The stones either cause diarrhea or constipation. Constipation is much worse with the potential to form and impaction….which will make that kidney stone pain pale by comparison. Bowel rest while you take meds for constipation will help. And this is the one time that bulky fiber could make things worse. If you are taking pain meds, they make the motility in your bowel very sluggish.!

  11. Imran Ahmad says:

    Following is CT SCAN of my cousin 48 years old (male). Plz suggest on this, he is in pain:

    CLINICAL INFO: Patient has presented with 3 days h/o pain right lumbar region associated with
    nausea and single episode of vomiting.

    TECHNIUQE: 1.3 mm reconstructed images from a scan performed on GE Optima 660 128 Slice CT
    scan Freedom Edition (with low radiation & high definition mode) reviewed on AW/Vitrea workstation
    using different window and level settings. Non-contrast CT scan KUB is performed


    Both kidneys are normal in size however lower poles of both kidneys are medially directed and
    fused anterior to aorta forming horseshoe configuration with anteriorly directed bilateral renal
    pelvis. There is mild dilatation of right pelvicalyceal system with mildly dilated right ureter
    throughout its length due to presence of a calculus measuring 5.6 mm in right distal ureter just
    before (6.9 mm away from) VUJ with CT attenuation ranging from 424-512 HU. Mild right
    periureteric stranding is noted. No nephrolithiasis or hydronephrosis is seen on left side. The
    perinephric fat on both sides is normal and regular with no evidence of stranding on left.
    Left ureter is normal with no evidence of any calculus or dilatation.
    Urinary bladder is normal.
    Infrarenal double IVC noted with left IVC draining into left renal vein.
    No other gross abdomino-pelvic pathology is appreciable within the confines of non contrast examination.


    Horseshoe kidneys with anteriorly directed bilateral renal pelvis. A 5.6 mm calculus in right
    distal ureter just before VUJ leading to upstream mild obstructive right hydronephroureter and
    mild right periureteric stranding.
    Infra renal double IVC noted with left IVC draining into left renal vein.
    Please correlate clinically.

    Transcribed by: SherAlam
    This is a digitally verified report by
    and does not require signatures
    Dr. Sana Kundi

  12. Pingback: Groin Pain After Passing Kidney Stone | Kidney infection treatment

  13. Lisa Gravley says:

    I passed 2 stones last month and now having same symptoms again, anyone know if this is normal for stones 2 come back so soon? My doc had me on soma 350 mg 3x a day, gave relief but pain was still present for 2weeks after passing them n now same symptoms are back!

    • Jose Fuentes says:

      I would find out what type it is. For me I have a suspision that it may be from uric acid. Every couple of years I get gout which is from excess uric acid. I may have to go on permanent medicine which might take care of it. If you have the same problem that would help you. If its from calcium there are some online kidney remedies you could google. Also change your diet by drinking more water, eating less salt and drinking lemonaide with real lemons. That will raise your citrate levels in the blood and may help prevent the stones. Good luck!

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