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

  1. Zanita says:

    I get kidney stones OFTEN. Two days ago I passed 2. One was about 5 mm and the other about 2. Since, I have what FEELS like a UTI. I don’t according to my urine test done at the hospital. I know stones can bruise your kidney on the way out leaving residual kidney discomfort but is same true for urinary tract/bladder?? Nothing helps with this pain. I literally just stay in the bathroom all day/night in agony. I’m miserable and my poor husband is at a loss as to what to do. Has anyone else had these symptoms? If so, what did you do?

  2. Christine Van Buren says:

    I have had kidney stones in the past and just a day ago passed a brutal 5mm one. I was told years ago from men who teach at my school and got kidney stones that Crystal Light Lemonade breaks up kidney stones. You have to get the powder kind not the ones already mixed, apparently some doctor told one of them and it seemed to work on them. I tried it a few yrs ago when I had stones resting in my kidney and they disappeared! I am now drinking the crystal light like crazy to get rid of the one in my left kidney. It worked before I pray it works again. I am planning on making a pitcher of it once a week and drinking it to avoid ever getting one again. You have to buy the actual crystal light brand it has some type of chemical in it. I pray it works again for me and for all of you. Good luck! It can’t hurt to try!

  3. Paul Kingsman says:

    Had first experience with KS last week. Ended up in ER 2x, have never experienced pain like that. Finally passed stone 6 days later. Have not seen any commentary about elevating feet and legs during major bouts of pain, but this helped me dramatically. Took two ibuprofen and elevated feet/legs immediately. Took the edge out of the pain then tried this on bed next time pain returned. Again, worked well, helping me get some rest. Immediately upon waking, I passed stone.
    Not doctor and this may not work for everyone but just wanted to post in case it did.
    Paul

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  5. Maria Clarke says:

    Has anyone still had a lot of bloating and gas after stone has passed i had one 6mm ct scan done it passed but i am still very bloated and some ache in my back still ??

    • Kristen says:

      I passed a stone about a month ago & my stomach is still bloated. Every now & then I also still feel like I am in the beginning stages of a uti (irritated & uncomfortable but no burning when I pee). Strangely, my younger sister is going through the same thing except she passed her stone a few weeks before I passed mine. She is still bloated too. Her doctor ran some tests before she passed her stone & said her intestines were swollen. They had many theories that were all ruled out until the kidney stone. I didn’t think kidney stones affected your intestines but what do I know. I went to my OBGYN because of the supposed uti pain but I was told I didn’t have a uti. They did an intra-vaginal sonogram (awkward & uncomfortable by the way) to make sure I didn’t have any tumors or anything visible that would cause the swelling. I didn’t so he basically gave up & told me to see a kidney specialist. I have a bit of a wait until he has an opening so I guess I am on my own until then. Good luck & let us know if you have any luck on figuring out the cause because my sister & I might have the same thing you do.

  6. Big Mike says:

    I had a 7mm stone. Had to go to ER three different times, because the stone would move a few inches and stop. Ever time it stopped moving the pain would go away. It come back again a month later. The pain was so bad I couldn’t walk. I finally passed it about a month ago, I been having dull back pains which I think is the kidney trying to heal from this massive stone. I hope to never get one again. Also if you drink lots of milk your chances of getting one is possible that’s what my doctor told me. My stones was from calcium build up. Guys trick I learned from passing mine if your feel the stone in your penis get your bladder full go pee but pinch the flow off build up as much pressure as possible and open the flow up this will help the stone come flying out and you won’t have to worry about the pain of it coming out.

  7. Varun sharda says:

    I had a stone on my left kidney which went out almost 1 month ago but I I have still back pressure in left kidney don’t know why this happen what should I do know

  8. frank says:

    a kidney stone can bruise the kidneys on the way out….it can cause inflammation… this is just common sense to me… so i would assume that sometimes you can continue ro have an uncomfortable feeling in your lower back for a while after the passing of a stone… it takes time to heal….i passed a kidney stone about a month ago and i still have a very mild dull ache in my lower back…. but its getting better and better… kidney stones can cause trauma…. their is no doubt about it….. i take aloe vera juice everyday to speek up the healing process…. if it the uncomfortable feeling in my lower back continues i will go see a doctor… but i dont like to run to them every time have pain…..

  9. J Chan says:

    I’ve been dealing with urinary urgency for some time. On and off in phases. It’s been back for a few months. I’ve also suffered from increased awful menstrual cramps. My skin looks like crap, and discolored, with dark bags under my eyes. Last Monday I went to a new gynecologist who said it’s all hormones, which I actually suspected. She was supposed to do a pap, looked up the vagina and gasped, ‘You’re bleeding!” I said I know, I told you my period is supposed to be coming in a couple days. That’s why I’m trying to figure out if the dull aching, severe cramping, and urgency to pee is either hormone related, urinary related, period related or if I have ovarian cysts back. She was clueless. Wednesday night I passed two kidney stones while peeing. They just flew right out. One came out and the next time i peed, another one came out. Went to GP the next day. He sends me for xray AND ultrasound of bladder, kidneys and urinary tract. I got xray right away but they can’t take me for ultrasound til next week. Well I go to my old gyno in two days. This morning I woke up with sharp, stabbing, excruciating pain in my clitoris. Stabs of pain like someone was stabbing me with a sharp needle. I panicked, they were so bad. Took 2 ibuprofen immediately. It calmed the stabbing down but thereafter I had very dull aching in entire lower pelvis. I’m spotting. Still have urgency to pee. Had pain straight down my pubic area, like sharp jolts. Hips have also ached for last couple days. I’m certain this is either kidney stone related or hormone related. Doctors are IDIOTS. They know you’re in pain and send schedule emergency ultrasounds. You have to wait. Urologist? You’ll have to wait a few weeks. I’d rather jump off a bridge. The depression is horrendous. Family thinks I’m just a constant complainer, no compassion. Only way to get answers is go to the e.r. and I have severe anxiety and don’t want to sit there for 6 hours. So I sit here wondering what’s worse: my own fear of the e.r. which holds me back from going right now and getting an answer, the fear of a kidney stone attack (which landed me in the e.r. 10 years ago with worst pain of my life) or the bs care I’ve received when people blow me off. I hate doctors. I freaking hate them. People suffer and you’re just told to wait for this and that, or else go to the e.r… This has been like living a nightmare where you can’t have any peace of mind.

    • suz says:

      OMG you poor thing. I have suffered for a month now with a kidney stone that they kept telling me would pass went to ER twice and was sent home with meds that didn’t help. I tried drinking, jumping, swimming and attempting to force it out, but in fact when they finally did surgiclally remove it they had to put in a stent from the kidney to the bladder/uretha ….the urologist told me later, I never would have been able to pass it, the passage was too small. That was three days ago and my bladder / stomach/ bowels are still enflamed…..but I’m better. Next time ….if I ever have another stone, I’m calling an ambulance and not leaving the hospital until it is gone. Good Luck. Hang in there and be persistant. Demand results.

  10. Terry Caughron says:

    I just passed a 4 mill stone at home thought
    I was going to die 45 min pure hell then 4 hours
    Of bad pain then im ok go back work next morn
    Then get ready for bed pow feels like i fix have
    Another stone i was freaking out no no not again but. Pain goes down with meds i go sleep wake up 2 hr again over and over through
    Night hurting bad , like an 8. wonder if this is
    Normal please tell me it is, didnt happen this bad with first stone but was no where this big
    Either thats been 7-8 years ago

  11. Govind says:

    Hello,

    I had a kidney stone operation last year September 2016, from last few months i feel slightly pain in the operation area. Why is it pain?? Its paining while playing or running, please tell me something about it.

    Thanks

  12. Mary says:

    Question? I have a stone trying to move. Did any of you feel the flank pain as high up into the shoulder blade area? Mine is all right side.

  13. L. M. says:

    63 stones passed since May thru August. another round of tiny gravel stones of about 50 more of these. Then, oddly, pieces of dark gray dead tissue??? Why would this happen?

  14. Cynthia Tennyson says:

    I passed a stone this am and am still urinating blood. Want to know how long this goes on? I feel like someone punched me in my kidney! The stone, which I retrieved was about 1/8 of an inch. Should I contact an MD? There is a no narcotic painkillers thing going on here, so the hospital is of no use to me. I’m on my own for pain control.

  15. Ashley says:

    I had a kidney stone about 6 weeks ago passed it after going to the er and getting fluids morphine Toradol and flomax. They took a ct and that was the only stone I had then literally 5 weeks exactly to the date I was back in the er with another stone… I just worried now bc although I have passed this one as well my lower back is still a bit achey. My right kidney seems to stay in discomfort unless I take my pain meds… reading these comments I feel better knowing it’s normal to ache after the trauma

  16. Linda says:

    I am in ER right now. Passed kidney stone 3 weeks ago. Have had continued pain and what feels like an intense UTI. Urine shows no signs of infection and no blood. Pelvic shows no masses. I am at a loss. Don’t understand how I can be having these symptoms that are keeping me from sleeping?!?

    • LISA says:

      I have the exact thing going on. I had all ig my blood work re checked, urine rechecked and I’ll feel better one minute next I’m feeling terrible. I have a urologist appt in the 7th. Praying for relief.

      • Lacy says:

        Lisa,

        What did you end up finding out? I have had over 100 stones, but this last one has been different. The stone itself was fairly small. But I passed it almost a week ago. I have had a crampy feeling in my right lower abdomen and pressure in my pelvis. I had a hysterectomy, so I know mine isn’t female related. I go to my urologist this week, but just wondering what you found out?

  17. charity caldwell says:

    I’m having the same problems, passed the stone 3 weeks ago, treated 3 rounds of antibiotic for uti, on the last antibiotic pill and still feel bladder pain & some back pain.. is this normal? & of course 2 weeks away from a urology consult

  18. delphine says:

    It was actually a relief to read many of these comments and feel more assured that my symptoms are, though horrific, “normal.” I first had a KS about 2 decades ago and recall the pain as excruciating then; ended up in ER, meds, passed the stone etc. Just had a recent double attack: got the left and radiating flank pain, small amt of blood in urine and then was certain the stone had passed. Only to have the pain come back stronger—If I had waited any longer I would not have been able to drive to the ER. CT scan showed a 4 mm stone. Nausea, wanting to vomit, unbelievable pain. It took 10 mg of morphine with 15 mg of toradol to get the pain under control. Released home with Flomax, narcotics (which was useless and cause more constipation and nausea.) I was told if the pain comes back in full force the “pills won’t help–you have to come in for more IV pain meds.” SO–more than 2 weeks later, the pain has continued but has been (barely) manageable with Q 4hr 650 mg Tylenol with 400 mg Motrin. I am guessing the stone has passed ? No clear indication, just gradual lessening/worsening of pain x 10 days. Supposed to have a follow up urologist–taking too long, I could be dead. The almost constant pain/discomfort (which seems to subside only to come back with a sudden vengeance is debilitating and dehumanizing. I’ve been trying various remedies: olive oil/water/lemon juice mixed; basil tea; can’t say what has really helped if anything. The struggle continues.

    • Trisha Hanley says:

      I basically had the first attack I have wver had with a kidney stone this past May. I have known that two stones were in the left kidney. Ut for 10 years they just sat there…quiet. Then, here we go. Driving to work I get a poling, flank pain that then escalates into full blown radiating flank and back pain with nausea and vomiting. I drive 45 minutes to the hospital where I live in case I was going to be admitted. Sure enough, 6.5mm stone popped out of the kidney and was stuck in the upper proximal ureter. I am given morphine and toradol to get inblocked and then I see a Urologist the next day. We decide to do ESWL and blast it in the ureter. I start to pee out smaller stones that total the big stone when it ended. When I go for a follow up CT Scan, what do we see? The stone. Aitting again in the proximal ureter but it seems smaller. This makes no sense so we start FloMax again and schedule a second ESWL. Well, before I get to this second stone blasting, this thing decides to move way down in the distal ureter and can no longer be treated with ESWL because of the location. The Urologist can do a Uteroscopy and back the stone out or we can try to flush it out with tons of fluids and FloMax. I opt to give it a week because I don’t really want the scopes and moreover…a stent! No f-in way! Well, this thing felt like a UTI, bladder pressure 24/7 and worse yet, timy waves of pain in the lower groin area as it made its way down. This was happening for three days solid. I went to work on Oxycodone and Advil to try to get through it. Thank GOD I have a corporate office job and someone to drive me to and from work! I am sitting at my desk and all of a sudden, I feel a very odd “whoosh” in my lower bladder area. Yup. It flew out of the lower ureter and plopped into the bladder. I drank a whole bottle of water amd then went to the restroom with my strainer. Boom….there it is. Hercules. A 5.5mm stone. If this was left from ESWL then the stone I had was at least 10mm total or this was the second stone they said was much smaller. I call BS. It wasn’t small at all. It is now one day after all stones are now gone. I feel so much better with the wxception of some very dull low flank pain. Very dull but I know its there. It is probably the swelling from the ureter since there was quite a bit of hydroureter when the stone was stick in there and we saw it on the scans. I am glad to be rid of this and hope to NEVER go through this again. OMG!!!

    • Terry Caughron says:

      I just passed a 4 mill stone at home thought
      I was going to die 45 min pure hell then 4 hours
      Of bad pain then im ok go back work next morn
      Then get ready for bed pow feels like i fix have
      Another stone i was freaking out no no not again but. Pain goes down with meds i go sleep wake up 2 hr again over and over through
      Night hurting bad , like an 8. wonder if this is
      Normal please tell me it is, didnt happen this bad with first stone but was no where this big
      Either thats been 7-8 years ago

    • Robin says:

      Wow. I am currently struggling with non stop UTI symptoms after 2 visits to the ER for kidney stones. I still have not seen them pass and worry they are still there. Mine measured 3mm on the CT scan. I am a NP student and start clinicals tomorrow and wonder how am going to manage not running to the bathroom every 10 minutes to pee. I feel like my symptoms will never go away.

      It seems like the kidney stones started after I had a viral infection that left me dehydrated.

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