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

  1. Kerry says:

    Hi My Wife passed a Kidney Stone over 5 days ago, CT Scan showed no sign of a Kidney Stone yet she is still experiencing pain (Mild) at times to the point where she can’t get comfortable. Is this normal after passing a Kidney Stone ? Or should we be heading back to the emergency department?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated


  2. Melissa G says:

    i’m 16 year old female who had a kidney stone recently, it was the worst pain i have every felt in my entire life since i’m so young. i’m not sure if i pee it out yet since it was very small but i think i did but i recently went back to the ER for pain around my rib cage on my right where my stone was and they found a urinary infection they gave me pills but my ribs hurt like crazy still!!! what is wrong with me ?! it’s only been 2 weeks.

  3. ECA says:

    I woke up with pain in my back. It progressed throughout the day, followed by vomiting on an off for the day. I took Zofran to help with nausea and Ibuprofen 800(4 of the over the counter 200 mg) every 8 hours for about a week. My pain got better, then would return about 1 or 4 am. I bought a bag of lemons and started squeezing half a lemon’s juice into room temperature water and drinking daily. My pain became almost non-existent and I stopped taking Ibuprofen. The lemon water can break up the stones due to the citrate content. It becomes alkaline in your body. Lemon water daily (first thing in the morning) can also help with energy, metabolism, skin, and other health benefits. I hope this helps!

    • JT says:

      Lemon water does not have any effect on an existing stone, it merely helps prevent the formation of more calcium oxalate stones. Whatever stone you passed must have been rather small because ibuprofen alone is not analgesic enough to control real kidney stone pain! You got very lucky based on your story. I’d rather break my arm than pass a kidney stone after all I have been through and it’s still not over. This is my second stone in 6 years and this has been the absolute worse pain of my life!

  4. May Bullard says:

    How can I tell if I’ve passed kidney stones. Can they be seen?

  5. 5mm kidney stone left my kidney June 2016, went to ER week later due to the pain, throwing up you name it ….Doctor said you should pass in a few days, This is not my 1st time having one so i know my body better then any doc, he refereed me to a Urologist because they like to spread the $$$$ wealth around, I did not go.

    10 months later to almost the same day i passed it out, Looked just like the other 2 i had in the past but they were 2mm or 3mm….Changed diet drink lots of fluids and exercise helped me.

  6. Kate says:

    I’m a 29 year old female and I just passed my first stone. The pain was unbearable. Today however, I have been in pain all day. I had to work, but I didn’t do anything crazy or any lifting, but the pain is still there. Is this normal? I have a follow up appointment in two days, but I just wanted to find out if having pain after it is passed is normal. Thank you.

  7. Sandy says:

    I am a 42 year old female, I just passed my first kidney stone today. After 6 looong months of off and on pain, I’m sharing my story because I think we all need to feel like we are not alone out here, even with the Dr.’s , friends and family they will never understand what we go through. It messes with you both physically and mentally, after having it for so long I felt like I was bothering pple with my pain or they thought I was over reacting. I can remember the first moment I felt my stones moving, it was unbearable. I remember going to the ER and vomiting for 3 days between the pain meds and pain. After a week I stopped my pain meds because my bowel movement was difficult and sometimes nonexistent. I had to take 2 weeks of disability from my employment cause I could have an episode at anytime and I would be doubled over in fetal position. Than suddenly my pain went away out of the blue I thought I passed my stone and didn’t realize it, but deep down I still knew she was still in there but resting in a happy place. 5 months goes by nothing than Bam on a very important day for a business meeting I feel a pain in my back that was just jabbing me, I thought it was just Pms so I just took some ibuprofen and went with my morning routine. Once I got to the meeting I was feeling fine until I ate some donuts after 5 mins my pain came back with a vengeance, 10 min into the meeting I had to rush to the restroom barely making it and vomiting my brains out for an hour I was a prisoner in the restroom. As quick as the pain came was as quick as the pain went away. I could tell my boss was confused, so was I. I blamed it on the donut that day, but I quickly realized it was my stones because nobody else got sick. After 2 weeks the pain was off and on again and finally this last 2 weeks it was intense, i can actually feel when my stones dropped to my lady parts but it stayed there for 1 week. I drank lots of water still nothing, painful urination, every hour need to relieve myself. It felt like someone was stabbing me from my belly button to my vagina. Finally this afternoon it passed with just a small pinch, I did not feel instant relief and an hour later I’m feeling sore on my back and kidney area. Hopefully this is the road to recovery. I hope this has helped you feel as you are not alone. Because I know reading everyone else’s story it has made me feel somewhat normal.

    • Jan says:

      Thanks for sharing. I went thru the same situation a week ago but I’m still very, very sore in the kidney area. It definitely is no joke :(

    • Jess says:

      Thanks for sharing! My mom is going through this right now. She passed her stone but didn’t find that out until hours at the ER. I know she’s feeling like she’s alone and no one understands how painful it is. It’s been 2 days and she’s still vomiting and feeling back pain. I’ll let her know about this awesome post!

    • JT says:

      You likely had 2 different stones not one because I’ve never heard of it taking 6 months to pass a single stone. A few weeks perhaps but half a year?? Idk about that. You probably need to make some changes to your diet and drink lemon water to help prevent more of them from forming.

  8. Sarah says:

    Last July ( it is now March ) I pasted one kidney stone. I was told there was no other stones. But I had to follow up with a CT scan, Ultra sound, and MRI. Because they are looking for something really bad. I have had constant pain in my kidney sense I pasted the stone. unless I broke a rib and did not know about it. But there is pain.

  9. Michelle M. says:

    Last week, I was rushed into the ER with severe abdominal pain. I didn’t think it was a kidney stone cause I was always told kidney stones would be felt in the back. Ironically, after I had my last child, I had gallstones which I thought were kidney stones cause the pain was in my back. Anyway, it’s been 6 days, and I am having pain in my side where the stone was, not the same excrutiating stone pain, but discomfort that is making me wonder if it’s a U.T.I. caused from the stone. Reading this forum though is giving me comfort. I am planning on doing baking soda tonight though with a glass of water. It’s old school. (Yes, I have been drinking lots of distilled water, taking apple cider vinegar (with the mother) every morning, with raw honey). Cranberry juice too.

    • Rebecca Sandborn says:

      You could have UTI. I did before I knew I had a stone. Had an urge to urinate after 20 days on antibiotics. It end up being a stone lodged in my ureter. The passing of stone pain was a couple months after the UTI.
      Good luck. Don’t risk it treating UTI yourself. You could become septic or die and perhaps lose limbs

    • Zimbata Rasta says:

      Try to avoid the cranberry as it can cause stones to return…green tea and chomomile tea helps a lot too…just returned from er after passing stone..

  10. Lenann says:

    I had pain for too long and decided to go to the dr because I just knew it was a kidney stone. .6 x .7 x .8 mm and was told it was too big to pass along with a partial obstruction. I’m nursing my daughter and was told he cannot prescribe me anything and I’d have to meet with a urologist to schedule a surgery for removal since it was too big to pass. Well I passed it the next morning – without any drugs! I was so relieved, but I have a dull pain on both sides of my kidney so I’m hoping there’s no infection. I still plan to meet with the urologist and test my stone. Thank you for posting that dull pain is normal – I know I have another .3 stone, but was afraid there was another issue 😉

  11. Nancy says:

    Two Saturdays ago I woke up with THE worst pain in my side ..I thought I was going to pass out. I don’t know how I drove myself to the ER but I did…sweating, shaking and when I got there threw up until I thought my stomach was coming out. They did a cat scan and gave me great pain meds…whoo hooo, found a small stone. Yesterday went in to have it taken out because I couldn’t take the pain in my kidney and need to urinate was beyond uncomfortable. They went in but couldn’t find it..don’t know when I passed I didn’t need a stent (Thank God) but my kidney pain is still very much there. I was told it could be swollen and irritated from the stone and back up of urine cause by it. From reading all these comments I see many have kidney moderate to severe pain afterwards so I am glad to know it is kind of common and there is nothing wrong with me. I will say a prayer for myself and everyone here that noone has another stone..those little #$#@ are beyond painful !!

  12. Don Ferencz says:

    To all my fellow kidney-stone sufferers out there (from a two-time laser lithotripsy survivor and multiple stones since then): Get yourself some 100 mg diclofenac suppositories and NEVER go anywhere without at least one within reach. Please do yourself a MASSIVE favour and believe me. You’ll need a prescription from your doctor. If he/she doesn’t give you one, you may want to either think about getting a new doctor or opening your own pharmacy, or both. Trust me; you need to have these in your arsenal against God’s inscrutable sense of humour. Good luck. Unfortunately, you’re not alone!

    • Mr McGee says:

      You are absolutely correct. I am a persistent KS sufferer since 2008 and have had around 4 rounds of Lithotripsy and a utereoscopic removal with stent, along with passing them naturally as well. The most recent one, 3mm (picked up in a scan in February this year) emerged as a 5mm one, and it was thanks to Diclofenc 50mg suppositories and either oral co-codamol or solpadol to help the pain and the passage, along with a lot of water. At one point, I took two 50mg suppositories. If the stone is of a size that it will pass (<5/6mm is the recommended), then Diclofenac will help immensely and this is what a lot of urologists now seem to be doing. This, I'd say, is provided you're symptomatic aware, and haven't reached the stage of extensive renal colic that's causing sickness and the need to pass out.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.!

  23. 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

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

  25. 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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