Kidney Stones FAQ

1. What is a kidney stone?

2. Do I have a kidney stone?

3. What are the symptoms of a kidney stone?

4. Do all kidney stones cause pain?

5. What causes a kidney stone?

6. Can I take something to dissolve my kidney stone?

7. How do kidney stones form?

8. Was it something I ate/drank?

9. Can I prevent another kidney stone?

10. What are the treatment options for my kidney stone?

11. What are the signs of a kidney stone emergency?

12. How long does it take to form a kidney stone?

13. What is my risk of forming another kidney stone?

14. Am I going to be able to pass my (insert size here) stone?

15. Which surgery should I choose?

16. What is a ureteral stent?

17. How is a stent placed?

18. How is a stent removed?

19. Why do I have pain after my stent was removed?

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1. What is a kidney stone?

Kidney stones are the formation of crystalline structures in the urinary tract (which includes the kidneys, ureters, and bladder). These stones can cause pain, infection, and kidney damage. Stones can be small, from 1 mm to very large, filling up an entire kidney. For pictures of stones, see our stone gallery.

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2. Do I have a kidney stone?

For patients experiencing their first stone episode, the pain can be so severe and sudden that it stops them in their tracks. Without prior knowledge of what a stone episode feels like, it can be confusing and frightening to go through this amount of discomfort, which is usually described as the worst pain someone has ever experienced. A trip to the emergency room is usually required to make the diagnosis and provide treatment for an active kidney stone. X-rays, usually a CT scan, can be used to confirm that a stone is present.

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3. What are the symptoms of passing a kidney stone?

Stone pain is often described as stabbing and extremely severe. Women commonly say that it is worst than having a child. The pain can start in the upper back (flank) and then migrate to the abdomen and groin. Changing positions does not help relieve the pain. The pain of a kidney stone is primarily due to blockage of the urine drainage coming down the small tube called the “ureter” that connects a kidney to the bladder. See a diagram of the urinary system.

It is thought that the increased pressure stretches the kidney and ureter, causing the pain. This is why stone pain can come and go in waves, as the drainage tube is periodically blocked by the stone trying to make its way out. As the stone moves further down the tube, the pain experienced moves down the body. Other symptoms common during a stone episode include seeing blood in the urine, nausea & vomiting, and feeling the urge to urinate. Once a stone is passed and makes it way out of the ureter tube and into the bladder, most patients describe a sensation of instant relief as the blockage and pressure is relieved. However, stones can take from days to weeks to pass. See a diagram of locations where stones typically get obstructed.

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4. Do all kidney stones cause pain?

Most doctors feel that kidney stones only cause pain if they are blocking the ureter and trying to pass down towards the bladder. Stones that are not obstructing, such as those located in the kidney’s calyxes, are generally thought to be non-painful. This explains why some patients can have extremely large stones filling up their entire kidney with no or minimal pain.

However, it does appear that some non-obstructing stones can cause pain because of either blockage of small tubular structures in the kidney itself (the collecting tubules) or for other unclear reasons. Supporting this view is a recent medical journal article suggesting that the treatment of small non-obstructing “papillary” stones may provide pain relief. (Gdor et al, Multi-institutional assessment of ureteroscopic laser papillotomy for chronic pain associated with papillary calcifications, J Urol 2011) Additionally, testimonials from many kidney stone patients (including a urologist with a personal history of kidney stones) suggest that some  non-obstructing stones can cause pain.

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5. What causes a kidney stone?

Kidney stones affect 1 out of 10 people during their lifetimes. They are more common than most people realize. There are many factors that determines whether someone will develop a stone with some being under a person’s control while others are out of their hands.

Common factors influencing kidney stone development:

  • Gender: Men are two to three times more likely to form stones
  • Race: Caucasians have the highest stone rates as compared to other races
  • Age: Stones occur most commonly between the 20s to 50s
  • Geography: Those living in hot dry environments are at increased risk. Additionally, those living in the Southeastern United States appear to be at particularly increased risk of forming stones.
  • Seasonal climate: Stone development is more common during the summer months due to dehydration from higher summertime temperatures and possibly also from higher concentrations of calcium in urine resulting from increased sun exposure which can lead to higher levels of Vit D production.
  • Occupation: Those working in jobs with exposure to climate and dehydration are more prone to stone development.
  • Body weight: There are higher rates of stones in those with increased weight and body mass index.
  • Genetics and medical conditions: Individuals with a history of some conditions, such as medullary sponge kidney or renal tubular acidosis are prone to forming stones. Those with a personal family history of stones may have two to three times increased risk of forming stones.
  • Infections: Chronic urinary tract infections can lead to the development of infection related stones, known as struvite stones.

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6. Can I take something to dissolve my kidney stone?

Patients often ask whether something can be taken to dissolve their stones. Unfortunately, the most common stone types (calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate, accounting for 80% of all stones) cannot be dissolved with medications.

However, in patients with uric acid stones, which account for 5-7% of stones, medication (potassium citrate) can be successfully given to dissolve the stones, helping them to pass and preventing them from re-developing.

Patients with the less common cystine type stones (1-3% of stone formers) can also benefit from potassium citrate and water intake to help dissolve their stones. Cystine stone formers additionally can be treated with D-penicillamine or α-mercaptopropionylglycine to help bind and dissolve their stones.

Finally, patients with struvite, or “infection”, stones were in the past more commonly treated with hemiacidrin irrigation solution which is dripped directly onto stones through a tube placed directly into the kidney. However, because of potentially serious side effects from this medication and the difficulty in giving it, this type of therapy is now uncommon.

Learn more about different types of stones.

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7. How do kidney stones form?

There are many factors that lead to the development of kidney stones. For details and a visual time-line of the steps in stone formation, see: How do stones form?

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8. Was it something I ate/drank?

In most patients, we find diet is not the main reason that caused a stone to form in the first place. Other important factors also play a role in determining whether someone is “prone” to forming stones. In other words, a non-stone-former can eat the exact same diet as a stone-former and never get stones.

That said, diet can play an important role in the prevention of future stones. The three most important dietary factors for most stone formers to modify in reducing their risk of future stones are to increase total fluid intake, decrease sodium intake, and and decrease protein (meat) intake.

Some commonly held beliefs of  foods that promote stones including cola, tea, coffee, and calcium intake have not been shown to be true. In fact, research suggests that increasing tea, coffee, and calcium intake can actually reduce stone risk, while cola does not appear to have a significant effect (Curhan et al, Am J of Epidemiology, 1996). See more on kidney stones myths.

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9. Can I prevent another kidney stone?

Yes!, there are many effective ways to help prevent another stone. Basic dietary changes can reduce your chances of forming another stone by half while more involved medical treatment can reduce that even further. While these changes may not guarantee that you will not form another stone, they can make it less likely that you will have to experience another painful stone episode. See our stone prevention center to find out more.

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10. What are my treatment options for my kidney stone?

Treatment options for stones include allowing a stone to pass by itself, using medications to help pass a stone, and surgery to treat or remove a stone. Our stone treatment center has more information, including videos and diagrams of stone surgeries to help you better understand your options.

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11. What are the signs of a kidney stone emergency?

If you think you are passing a stone, signs indicating that you should seek immediate medical attention include:

  • Fever above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection with a stone, including burning during urination, cloudy urine, or bad smelling urine
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Intolerable pain
  • Certain medical conditions can make passing a stone potentially more dangerous, including those with only one kidney, those with diabetes, or those with decreased kidney function

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12. How long does it take to form a kidney stone?

It appears that stones can form in as short a period of time as three months. This is based on research of soldiers deploying to Kuwait and Iraq where the mean time to development of a symptomatic stone was 93 days in the hot desert environment. (Evans and Costabile, J Urol, 2005)

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13. What is my risk of forming another kidney stone?

In general, the chances of developing another stone is about 40-50% over five years. In other words, 1 out of 2 new stone formers should expect to develop another stone within the next five years. However, there are many effective ways to reduce the chances of recurrence with simple diet changes. See our prevention center for more details.

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14. Am I going to be able to pass my (insert size here) stone?

Your likelihood of passing a stone will primarily depend on its size, its location, and how long you have been trying to pass a stone. We go over this in our infographic available here: What are my chances of successfully passing passing my stone?

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15. What surgery option should I choose?

There are three common surgeries for stones. These include ureteroscopy, shockwave lithotripsy, and percutaneous nephrolithotripsy. We go over the pros and cons of each here: How do I choose which surgery to have for my kidney stones?

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16. What is a ureteral stent?

A stent is a flexible hollow tube placed inside the ureter. It allows urine to drain around a stone and helps the ureter heal after surgery. It is entirely inside your body and is not visible from the outside. Stents can cause you to feel like you have to urinate often, can cause minor bleeding, and can cause pain. Find out more about stents here: All about ureteral stents.

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17. How is a ureteral stent placed?

Ureteral stents are usually placed in the operating room by your doctor. A flexible wire is slid up the ureter and the stent is slid over the wire. The wire is removed and the stent remains. At each end of the stent are natural “curls” to keep it in place until it is removed or exchanged. See more about stent placement here: How is a ureteral stent placed?

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18. How is a stent removed?

Ureteral stents can be removed in two ways. Most commonly, your doctor will remove the stent by placing a camera into your bladder through your urethra (the tube where urine exits your body). The stent is grasped with an instrument and removed. The second method is used when a string is left attached to the stent. The string, which is visible exiting the urethra, is pulled until the stent comes out. See more about stent removal here: How is a ureteral stent removed?

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19. Why do I have pain after my stent was removed?

Some mild amount of discomfort after stent removal is expected. However, in some patients, severe pain may occur for several hours after stent removal. This is thought to be due to spasms of the ureter or swelling and temporary blockage developing after the stent comes out. Not enough is known about this phenomenon but one recent study suggests it may occur in as many as half of patients. In the study, a single dose of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug given 15 minutes before stent removal was highly effective at preventing the severe pain from developing. You can read more about the study here: Severe pain after stent removal: How often does it occur and can anything prevent it?

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130 Responses to Kidney Stones FAQ

  1. JBStonerFromOttawa says:

    So normally I wouldn’t bother posting considering that my “ailment” is solved, or as far as I know, it is. But I just think it’s important to share stories so that it may help others so instead of just being selfish and not bothering, I’ll share my stoner account. This might be better for helping first timers figuring out what’s going on.

    I passed a .2″ stone on April 04, 2014. First stone ever, perfect bill of health, athletic, no other issues. Surprised the hell out of me. Long story short. I actually didn’t know it was a kidney stone, since it was my first one. I was leaning towards Prostatitus or IC or STD just because the symptoms were all corresponding to those things, Tender bladder, pain in groin, prostate, nibbling at end of penis, urethra pain etc. Went through all the hoops and things that you do when you have these pains, ER visits, Urologist visits, Urine tests, STD tests. .Ultrasounds etc. and learned a lot along the way. Everything on the infectious side showed negative….strange…Had family members briefly throw out the suggestion that it could be a stone but I didn’t put too much weight on that theory because I always thought stones affected the 40-50+ age group. So my research focused more on prostatitus, STD’s etc. and my symptoms matched these things perfectly, if only I would have taken 2 seconds to type in “kidney stone symptoms” into the search engine.)

    If there’s one bit of advise that I can give to people who don’t know what’s going on is to, #1 get to a doctor or urologist and tell them everything. But doctors can only do so much and we all know how they can be so #2 do the research and really look at the symptoms carefully, do the analysis yourself or get a competent person in your family to do so. You don’t always need a doctor. Look, the urologist never mentioned anything about a kidney stone to me and this guy is a doctor. If he would have at least steered me in that direction, I would have had a better path for my research and probably would have figured out what was going on a lot sooner.

    As I look back now, noticing the path of the pain, the results of my home UA test kit, always showing leucocytes and blood on occasion but never nitrates(points to inflammation with no bacteria, rules out STD or UTI), no sores or sexual activity recently, and the list of other symptoms and time frames, it all makes sense now. So I just think it’s important to really keep track, listen to your body and organize all the clues that your symptoms are giving you to come to right answer. You’re body is a super complicated biological machine, there’s always a cause and effect. The hard part is listening to the clues. But anyway, that’s if you’re someone who doesn’t know what’s going on, like I was. Now I guess I’ve joined the stoner club ) April 4th, 2014! T-shirt’s in the mail ).

    For me passing wasn’t particularly the most painfull part, although large, lucky enough my rock was fairly smooth so even though it took a few months to drop through the tubing, the final push was not as nearly as painful as the ordeal leading up to it. ie on off fatigue, sweats, chills, throbbing pain, one of the worst things was the not only constant but pain full urge to urinate banging on your brain all the time. It really is a living hell. So I feel for anyone who deals with this regularly. Again, if you’re new at this, hang in there, it get’s better ).

    Anyway, for me, over for now, hopefully won’t happen again. I just want to share a few things that I believe fate and God guided me in doing unintentionally, that I’m sure helped me get my stone out. First of all, give God a shout out, tell him/it/her you’ve had enough and you need a hand. Ok, now the more tangible stuff.

    Because I was thinking this was IC, urethritis or Prostate based, I ended up purchasing a product called Cystone by Himalaya company from India. It’s an all natural herbal medication with great research behind it in helping all sorts of urinary functions such as preventing and removing kidney stones. Best of all it’s dirt cheap on ebay. 5$ a bottle for 60tabs shipped worldwide. I took 2 morning, 2 tabs with supper about three weeks before I passed my stone. I’m almost sure it helped me get the stone out. I’m also not affiliated with this company in any way. I’ll be using this product from now on. Absolutely no side effects either. I actually found it helped ease the pain if anything, almost like a mild anesthetic, but it’s not touted as having this quality…~:

    - I came across bromelain as a good supplement for general health, tissue rebuilding and bladder tissue and lining repair. so I started supplementing with bromelain. I also went and bought a bunch of pineapples, which are rich in Bromelain and begin to eat those. I would juice everything, even the cores because this is where most of the Bromelain is, and then freeze it in the freezer because the enzymes will remain intact that way for later use. Drink it, eat it with a spoon or put in on ice cream. I can’t really say with good evidence that it helped but I do know it made my pain worse every time I ate it but I’m assuming that’s because it’s acidic and will irritate the Urethra if it’s being scratched and opened by a stone. Scientifically speaking though, my body was receiving the Bromelain and the citric acid could have potentially reduced the calcium stone so overall I recommend at least trying it. I found that just plain vanilla ice cream helped reduce the pain.

    - I supplemented with Tumeric extract (spice) as a natural way to reduce inflammation, 3 a day max.

    - Whenever I had a flare up, I used the NSAID celebrex, a cox2 inhibitor that brings inflammation down at the site. And Tylenol to stop pain neurologically. NSAIDS helped a lot but not always. I prefer to use natural remedies before resorting to synthetic stuff.

    - Supplemented with Acidophilus Longum, and S.Boulardii, the former being very good to take if you’re on antibiotics to help prevent C.Difficile and help rebuild your gut flora.

    A day or two before the stone passed, being spring here now, I went out for a jog and really got some good excercise and blood flow going, and I’m sure the jarring motion of jogging and my legs jocyling the ureter helped bring drop the stone down further. So I highly recommend jumping jacks, sessions of stretching and jumping up and down….if the pain isn’t too bad, just a little bit each day helps. Gotta get active and get blood flow moving and help get that stone out the kinks of your piping. In moderation, don’t over do it.

    I also think another very helpful event was when I decided to massage the area of my belly, lower right abdomen, essentially where the ureter was. Everytime I would press this location, I would recieve a corresponding tingle or pain in my penis head ). Almost like you were to hit a nerve. I also realized and made the deduction that every time I felt the normal bubble of gas that we all get from digestion (as it would pass, I would have tingles and pains at end of penis) that it was somehow related to this area, almost like the intestine was pressing against the ureter and because the ureter was inflamed(not knowing due to what), that it would cause this pain. I knew something was up in that location so one night I performed a vigorous deep press and massage in the area, at the time I did swirls but knowing now that it was a stone in the Ureter I would have focused on more of a downward motion to help coax the stone along ). I would use microwavable been bags as hot compress on the area also. Highly recommended along with a post compress massage.

    So now that I know what it is. I’ve been trying to think back about what could have caused it, especially since it’s somewhat out of the norm for an athletic, fit, healthy 32 year old, with no previous health issues, to get a stone . Some things that I “believe”(roughly trying find cause effect here, not 100% sure) might have caused this rare event are.

    - Use of Protein shake during a work out phase, approx. 1 to 2 years back. (Protein shake after every workout, 2-3 times a week for number of months). Probably not hydrating well enough after these episodes. Also sometimes mixing protein with milk instead of water. Possible overload of protein and calcium? Kidneys couldn’t handle it?

    - Dosing of Vit D and Calcium at upper recommended limits 1 to 2 years back, on and off from then on. I only did this because I thought it was a good to do during the winter here in Canada to prevent deficiency. I won’t be taking Vit D or Calcium in supplement form anymore. Still waiting to here back on composition of my stone, but Vit D and Calcium seems to be an area of controversy. Some people might be predisposed to an accumulation when taking these things in supplement form. I’m finding out the hard way. Something to consider and talk to your Doc about.

    - Also, suffered insanely debilitating flu the prior year which left me with temporary gastrititus, IBS and kept me sedentary for a good few months. In which the only food I could eat was primarily super sodium saturated canned chicken soup ). So be aware of this, stay hydrated, limit sodium intake, use sea salt.

    - And finally, I think another aggravating factor is that in the last few months, we’ve had a very cold winter here in Canada this year so staying in and not getting a lot of blood flow I don’t think helped. Also, because of the work that I do, I spend literally 12-14 hr days sitting down at a computer, with virtually no standing or movement for sometimes up to six hours at a time. So in essence, lifestyle has not helped the situation. Be aware of this, I highly recommend taking anytime to try to exercise and get blood flowing, no matter what time of season or where you are. All it takes is a simple 30min walk or 5min jog on the spot exercise combo.

    The problem is, unless you have access to a really good doctor, who has the time and patience to listen to your story, They won’t tell you these tips. All they’ll do is sign off on a RX med and ship you out. So I hope my story can provide some help to others in this situation.

    So in summary, I would highly reccomend Cystone to prevent and remove stones, Bromelain and Tumeric seemed to work to reduce inflammation and repair damage. I recommend drinking a lot of good quality water, be careful with protein shakes and supplement intake, always find time to excercise and get blood flow going(jog or bounce motion while trying to pass stone).

    Still doing research on prevention, a lot of conflicting information out there but I think lemonade and olive oil sounds promising, along with watermelon fasts and I will be taking Cystone regularily from now on.

    Cheers
    Let me know if this helps you!

  2. nivchek says:

    if olive oil and lemon juice does not work, how do you explain all these “coincidences”. http://earthclinic.com/CURES/olive-oil-lemon-juice-for-kidney-stones.html

  3. Kristin says:

    So I experienced my 1st stone about 3 months after my gastric bypass surgery. They ate oxcelet stones which the diet for that is a whole other subject. My surgery was 6 years ago in which time I develop symptoms of my stones every 3 months at least
    The worst thing is when I can’t deal with the symptoms and have to be seen in the her and the drs treat you like a drug seeker. The pain is sometimes so unbearable

  4. Erica says:

    Hello my name is Erica and I have been dealing with kidney stones since the age of 7 yes I said 7 years old. I am the youngest person my urologist has ever seen with them. I am now 24 and currently dealing with yet another stone, surgery and stent. I stopped counting at stone number 45 and that was years ago. It’s nice to read about others having gone through similar experiences. Wish everyone the best of luck and hope one day someone can find a cure.

  5. Marquita says:

    I got my first kidney stone and it was 4mm and was told I have many more in my kidneys. I have no insurance and can’t afford more medical bills at the moment. Ever since I passed it I have headaches and very bad gas. What can I do to make them both go away?

  6. Lisa says:

    I need some advice, please take the time to read as I need to go in detail…
    On Dec. 5th I went to the ER due to severe lower back pain on right side & severe bladder pressure w/ trouble urinating. They did CT scan & blood work & said that I indeed have a 2mm stone in ureter & UTI. I have no visible blood when urinating but they said I did have small trace of blood in my urine sample they took.The Dr. told me to drink lots of water & sent me home w/ anti biotics, Flomax, 15 tabs of Percocet’s. She said the stone was pretty far down the ureter so it should pass in 24-48hrs. Well, I went home took all my meds & nothing. Ran out of meds & went back to ER 10days later (Dec. 15th), due to another pain attack! I was scared & wondering why a small 2mm stone hadn’t passed in 10days and I was, by then, outta all my meds. Well, the 2nd ER visit was worst! They kept me there 2days only to pump me full of saline 24/7 (I couldn’t even sleep!) & did nothing! They didn’t even give me pain meds to cope. They also didn’t wanna do another CT scan cause they said they thought it was too soon due to having one 10days prior & it was to close for more radiation exposure. Yea right! So this Dr. sends me home saying it should pass & drink lots of water. He also said he didn’t know why it hadn’t passed yet being only 2mm, yet he sends me home with no meds! Then I find out later that the RN was talking crap to my mom (my mom was my ride home by the way), saying that I shouldn’t be having such severe pain being ONLY a 2mm stone! As if I was lying or some drug seeker making it up. Anyway, it is now Dec 29th & still haven’t passed & still have severe back pain & bladder pressure. I don’t have insurance so I feel this is the reason the ER keeps sending me home cause they know the surgery/removal will be costly. I don’t have insurance or money to see a urologist on my own. My question is why would this stone travel so far down the ureter (close to dropping into bladder) then all of a sudden get stuck? Also note: On Dec 5th was the day I found out I had the stone so I’m not sure HOW LONG before that its been there, for all I know this stone could have been there for weeks or months before they found out on the 5th via CT scan. I didn’t have pain til the 5th when it was discovered. I have been drinking 2liters of water daily & its been 25 days & counting & still hasn’t passed. Is this normal? How long is “too long” for a 2mm stone to pass? & why wont it pass if its only 2mm? I’m so confused & in pain. Can’t even leave my house or do my normal activities cause of pain attacks & being glued to the toilet! I don’t know what to do anymore!

    • Phil j Noonan says:

      Hello Lisa.

      I’ve read you post carefully, as you asked, and will try to offer a little advice based on personal experiences.
      I’m not medically trained in any way, so any advice I give is purely from a laypersons viewpoint.
      Im 52 yrs old, male, with a few health issues, but if I tell you that in the last 5 years since I required and received emergency surgery to save my right kidney as a result of a stone 2 inches across that had blocked my entire kidney, I stopped counting at 25 small stones that I’ve passed, and my wife of 32 years gave up counting at around 40.
      Some of these were tiny ones that caused some pain, some bleeding and minor discomfort… 4 of them required hospital stays and surgery… The vast majority were/are still passed at home.
      Yours sounds like a relatively small, but painful and debilitating one, but my strongest advice is… Don’t panic.
      Your treatment by the ER and your GP don’t sound particularly evil, but they also don’t sound very helpful or reassuring either.
      Part of their dismissive attitude is borne (probably) from the fact that while you, the sufferer can think of little else except your pain and discomfort, your symptoms and the length of time you’ve had them, far from causing the professionals MORE concern, will actually have the opposite effect.
      In their eyes, you are not in any danger, your condition isn’t classed medically as serious, and warrants little or no further intervention by them… They, relying on gravity, actions of fluid pressure, and the malleability of most stones, expect it to solve itself… Eventually.
      That’s poor news for you, the sufferer, but I’m merely trying to explain their possible reticence in the face of your own obvious panic and distress.
      In all the stones I’ve passed… In all the wards I’ve lain in after repeated kidney, bladder, ureter and urethra operations ive had, All the hundreds of Stoner patients I’ve met and chatted with, I’ve never yet heard of a 2mm stone causing a major health problem, so at least ease your worry that this is “serious” …it isn’t.
      Its painful, its a nuisance, its uncomfy, and I wouldn’t wish it on an enemy… But no, it’s not serious.
      Keep drinking plenty of water, maybe try a dash of lemon or lime juice in it ( some folks swear by the ability of citrus juice in water dissolving some of the alkaline based stones) … If the pain gets bad, simple NSAIDS you can buy over the counter are a great help in short bursts (NSAIDs, non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs like brufen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, volterol…etc) these can be taken with other analgesics like paracetamol ( in the u.s it’s called Tylenol ?)
      If the pain eases enough, use gravity and nature to assist the passage…go for walks after you’ve drank plenty of water.
      If all this fails, seek out a new doctor for a fresh perspective, find one you can talk to and trust…. Try a few doctors until you find one that fits your personality.
      Lastly, if I may correct something vitally important in your post.
      You were very cynical about them not doing a second CAT scan?
      They may well have saved your life :)
      I had 3 CAT scans in 18 months, and I now have a tumour in my abdomen.
      It wasn’t there on scans 1or 2… But it just started to grow by number 3. General consensus is the radiation bursts from CAT scans are very heavy, and may very well have sparked a growth spurt of a very small lump in my abdomen.
      Don’t be in a rush for more of them :) let them do an ultrasound instead.
      Good luck, and I hope your stone passes sooner rather than later :)

      • lisa russell says:

        Hello, thanks for the reply. My main concern is how long is too long though as far as waiting? I know even if its small if its in there too long it can be damaging to my kidney, get larger than it is, or more can form. I also heard that sometimes even small ones will require surgery if they become a nuisance or get stuck (due to sharp or jagged edges) & don’t pass in a certain amount of time but the thing is is I don’tknow how long is too long I was saying before.

        • Mandy says:

          hi Lisa, I’ve had bigger and smaller stones take over 4 months to pass. Drs usually tell me to stay home and wait it out instead of going to hospital, unless I am peeing less often then normal, have a fever, or I cannot get the pain under control. I know, it feels like your kidney is going to explode at any minute, and it fees like it is going to do horrible damage. Go with your gut instinct at all times, but as far as how long, it just…depends :)

        • Penne says:

          Lisa, I just passed 7 stones with a 4 mm getting stuck about 1cm before the bladder. My urologist said the ureter narrows right before the bladder and stones can get stuck there. After taking Flomax and prednisone which help dialate the ureter and reduce inflammation, drinking a ton of water mine still didn’t come out. So, being desperate one morning I had a full bladder. I could feel my bladder and started pushing in and down very firmly in the area of my ureter several times (probably 8 times at least.). I got up and went to the bathroom and there was my 4mm stone! This sucker had two hooks on it and it looked as evil as it felt! I think the pushing in and down all the way to the bladder helped to dislodge it! A 2 mm can hurt very badly! Your ureter is only about the width of three strands of hair and those stones make your ureter spasm! Also, lemon essence oil, just a drop, in your water can help dissolve stones. But only use essential oils in glass and no plastic. Another thing that helps is a shot or two a day of 1T extra virgin olive oil, 1T lemon juice and 1T Braggs Amino apple cider vinegar with the mother in it. I’m so sorry you don’t have any insurance to help!! I can’t even imagine not having insurance to help! Bless your heart! Save that stone and find out what kind it is so you can find out what to do to help not having any more!

  7. Cieffly says:

    I’ve had a stent in for the past 13 days. The pain has been unbearable most of the time. I’ve at least had constant discomfort. I think when I urinated in the middle of the night the stent came out. I didn’t notice it but looking back I urinated more than I have been the last 13 days. Now I don’t feel any pain and no longer feel the discomfort. I’m going to call my urologist later this morning. My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. I hope it coming out doesn’t cause a problem for the laser blasting. I’m relieved to not have the pain or discomfort but worried that it might have fallen out!

  8. Stoner says:

    I would just like to say this; I have been living a life of fear, since my first stone at the age of 18. I had surgery done on me and they cut me open 11 in long. Just for one stone caught up in my uterus track. The next one was when I was 18 1/2 I had a bad eye pain and just above my left eye brow I could feel a lump! When my Dr. asked me what was happening? I touched it and it moved down toward my nose and eye socket. I then sneezed, and it hit the palm of my hand. I yelled out and said; holly shit I just sneezed out a bone! My Dr. took a closer look and she says to me … dear that is not a bone! That is a kidney stone you just sneezed out. She took it away and I then moved away before I even had any results. But I figured it was the end of that. Oh! No. Since then I have had a kidney stone removed from my saliva gland from my left side of my mouth. And so many other’s … I would just like to finally know if they will ever travel to my heart? I have been called names like I lie about them! and so on! I have been feared of this far to long! I just need a real Dr. who believes in me. Or has seen this before. Pls someone tell me that you have been through this! Am I alone on this one? Will I ever find an answer? And they call themselves Dr’s sure OK! And whats this? The internet with all the answer’s sure again! OK!!! Is anyone out there willing to find out if I am the only sap in this world who has travelling kidney stones? My story will end hear, but just to say I have one now and it’s in my foot! I have trouble walking at times depends when and where it will move to next! Before it moves to my heart! Can someone pls help me? Thanks for reading, and staying to finish my pathetic story. Ti.xo PS. Sorry to put it out like this, I had no where else to turn to!

  9. joe says:

    I had several stones a few weeks ago. First I had to go the ER and had a stent in the ureter to help out my kidnes, then stones were removed and study done on my urine. I had Flowmax and Norco while waiting for stone removal. Now I will am on Alluprinol(?) and low sodium diet and limited animal protein. I also am on a lemonade therapy which is 100% pure lemon juice with water.

  10. Shawna says:

    I’m a first time stoner and I’m so confused on what to do. I’ve had a ct scan and I have a little over 5mm stone, my doctor tells me its up to me to se a urologist, Do they advise on what treatments you should have, at this moment I’m thinking go through my back and just take the thing out. I can’t imagine going through what I just read. And I don’t think I have hit the worst pain yet, my pain is in my back and front, kind of like a constant side ache with a few sharp pains now and again, but I’m extremely gassy and not going to the bathroom very much. I just don’t know what to do. Any advise cold c0me in handy.

    • mark says:

      Shawna, yes, time to see a urologist. I just had a uteroscopy to remove an 8mm stone. They put you out so you don’t feel anything, then they can blast it with a laser from within. The last few days have been tough, but I would have a stone that size removed. To pass a stone that size would be omg bad. and… you don’t know when it would start. At a restaurant, on a trip ( that’s what happened to me). they are good at what they do, and it’s under control more.

  11. Cassidy says:

    I woke to a feeling of what I thought was muscle spasms on my left side in my back. I couldn’t walk down my stairs because it hurt to raise my left leg. I thought I would be okay, but it was a lie!! I went to the er and eventually was told I had a 4 mm stone. This was Saturday. I have been drinking water out of the wazoo, and it still hasn’t passed. It has been 48 hours. Should I begin to worry yet???

    • Trey says:

      Cassidy, I’m no expert but damn near close to it, I’m 24 and have been dealing with Kidney Stones for 3 years, had 5 procedures to remove them and still keep making them. I had a ureteroscopy done 10-17-13 and still haven’t passed anything. About 3 months ago I had a few small stones that I was able to pass and when I started having mild pain I started drinking Lipton green tea citrus in the bottle and after 8 bottles in an hour I was actually in the ER for pain and ended up passing them right after I got there. The tea was very helpful in the process.

  12. elva says:

    I was sitting at my computer Monday morning and about 9:am I felt a light stabbing pain on my upper right back. I have gastritis, so I get very many different pains and sensations off and on in my stomach. Nevertheless, this pain was like I said, on my upper right back. It got gradually strong as the days went on and I went to the ER Wednesday night. They did all the blood work and urine test, EKG, and finally a CT scan. The results were that all my organs were okay, UTI that was not very bad and no kidney stones. They gave me an anti-biotic and sent me home. I still have pain. Do you all think I passed a stone and that’s why it didn’t come out in the CT-scan and how long does one continue to have pain?

  13. Scott says:

    I have had kidney stones many times and have tried lithotripsy which works but is pretty traumatic for the kidney. I have a painful stone right now that I want to break up. My tried and true solution is to eat ten to fifteen radishes followed by drinking four twelve ounce lagers and five glasses of water. I then hold myself from going to the bathroom for two hours. I lay over the end of the bed with my body from the waist up hanging over the bed. When I absolutely have to explode I start doing jumping jacks. I then run to the bathroom and hopefully pass out a stone

  14. Hell hath no fury like the pain of a kidney stone says:

    Oh my sweet merciful cornbread, the pain I had last weekend was like anything I could have ever imagined. I tried to tough it out for hours but finally went to the ER at 6am. No stone on the x-ray, but they gave me Flowmax and anti-inflammatory meds in addition to pain killers. Two days later the tiny thing passed. Maybe 2mm tops, but in the hours leading up to it passing my urine turned very foggy, which makes me think it was breaking up

    SO, my tips are: drink a metric crap-ton of water, ask for Flowmax and anti-inflammatory meds, and find some over the counter anti-nausea pills that will help you sleep for a few hours in between each urination.

  15. Highgear says:

    All.. How is it in this day of high tech that we still only have 3 means to disrupt K-stones. Can we not develop a liquid that gets to your kidneys and dissolves that little beast of crippling pain and doesnt harm the kidney and system? How about a fluorscopic injection of meds targeted directly to the the stone to quickly dissolve it. Call me crazy…. but is this the best that medical science has to offer those of us that suffer with stones. I am now post lithotripsy…. 5 days….and still in an incredible amount of minute-hourly-daily pain throughout my right flank and back. The stone that was targeted was 7mm x 11mm. Now I fear that it was pulverized into many 2-3mm stones and smaller fragments. Taking opiods and Ultram for the pain. Ultram doesnt touch it it and the Oxycodin 5-500 do ok for 1.5 hrs and its back to labored breathing and stabbing flank pain that pulse from 6 to 8+ on the pain scale. Secondarily now my bowels are now impacted causing severe bloating and pain in the intestinal area. This is a direct result of the Dr in charge…. he NEGLECTED to RX something to counteract the constipating properties of opioids. Having to do stool softeners along with the oxy now but little too late. The impaction is higher up in the intestines and causing radiating pain into the sacrum. Did full blown enema this a.m. and eld to an hour of hell, body sweating, nausea and pain. As if it coulnt get any worse, the straining of the enema episode caused rectal hemorrhoids to emerge…kill me. I dont think we should feel this desperate after procedures, this waiting period while in pain is barbaric…..HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY.

    • Dee says:

      I have a 2mm stone since my horrific attack last Tuesday at 10:15 am!!!!!!!! I came across your experience and… don’t take this the wrong way but I was laughing so hard because your description is exactly what I am going through!!!!! No one can relate unless they have had the most unfortunate experience!!!!!!! Terrified and can’t wait to get rid of this indescrible (only if you’ve never had one) thing!!!!!!!!!!!

      God Bless
      Good luck

      • Dee says:

        Oh by the way, they gave me Toradol in my IV and that seemed to help, thank God!!!!!!!!!!! I asked to be sent home with that medication
        ***** Toradol (NASID)
        Flomax
        Hydro codone-acetaminophen 5-325 mg per tablet
        Anti nausea medicine

        I wish you well!!!!!!!!!! ;)

        Tlbs of Olive oil and lemon water I was told

    • Dee says:

      Oh and drink prune juice for constipation!!

  16. Arielle says:

    Hey everyone! I’m a 27 y o female recurring stoner, been dealing with this off and on since age 20. Just wanted to thank everyone for coming together like this. We are truly fighting the good (very dangerous at times) fight. It gets frustrating when people who haven’t had them, like my lucky duck fiance, are speculating how these things can be so small yet incapacitate as they do. I contemplated suicide for a while. Quality of life goes to squat when these hit you. I just now found a hospital that ran the appropriate tests to find them. DO NOT GIVE UP. A hospital one city over found my 2.7 and 3.1 mm stones on a scan Friday after a walk in clinic in my town on Monday shoved me out the door after just a UA. Not to mention giving me Mobic, a useless-for-this non narcotic NSAID for the pain and an antibiotic because “it seems like a bad UTI that traveled into your kidney”. We know what it’s like to have a stone. It’s unlike anything else. If you need a second opinion, go get one. Do NOT let anyone speculate, make them KNOW. You know your body better than anyone and this condition leaves no room for medical error. Keep the faith. P.S. Just passed one of my ugly hitchhikers, one to go! XD

    • angelique_marie_88 says:

      I just read your comment about contemplating suicide, I felt the exact same way! I just curled up in a ball on my bathroom floor, and between delirium, and vomiting, I just wanted to die. Finally my ex (fiance at the time) begrudgingly took me to the hospital. He was a jerk the whole time. (that’s why he is my ex lol). They scanned me I had three wonderful mobile kidney stones, and they decided to remove them, they hooked me up to an IV with delodid, phenergan, and something else. I felt so much relief and looked forward to the surgery. I stayed in the hospital 4 days because my fever wouldn’t stay down. Also I know they say you can get them every five years, but in my case it seems like every two years I have gotten these debilitating things. Good Luck.

  17. KidneyStoneSurvivor says:

    After reading some information on this site…I want to clarify that my urologist thought that I had a uric kidney stone whereby medication can be given to break up the stone. A pathology of the stone was done and I will find out for sure later this week. My urologist told me that he was able to laser the entire stone and the procedure took 90 minutes.

    For the most common type of kidney stone….nothing can be given. Sorry.

  18. JS says:

    So I’m only 27 and will be passing my first stone… I keeled over in pain a few days ago, went to the ER and they told me I have a small stone. How small? I have no idea. I haven’t had pain since I left the hospital, which was on Tuesday morning and it is now Friday afternoon. I was told that the stone should pass within a week. I also have an appointment with a urologist next week. Since I haven’t been in pain for 3 days now, can I assume the stone is now in the bladder? I mean, there’s no way I would have passed it without feeling it, right?

    • Trey says:

      JS, it is possible to pass stones and not know. You should strain your urine everytime. Some calcium stones can be smooth around the edges and you may not realize you have passed one. I passes 2 that causes very little pain. From my experience when they reach your bladder you’ll know it, it feels like you have to piss 10 gallons and it like 50 tiny needles sticking in your lower abdomen. Good luck with these little monsters.

    • Trey says:

      JS, it is possible to pass stones and not know. You should strain your urine everytime. Some calcium stones can be smooth around the edges and you may not realize you have passed one. I passes 2 that causes very little pain. From my experience when they reach your bladder you’ll know it, it feels like you have to piss 10 gallons and it like 50 tiny needles sticking in your lower abdomen. Good luck with these little monsters.

  19. Wayne says:

    sorry spelling terrible..advice on symptoms please

  20. Wayne says:

    Hi all..I am a potential first stoner and could do with some opinions from the regulars.
    I have got my left side aching all over. Especially around my kidneys. Back and front.
    The biggest pain is normally morning and night with a dull ache the rest of the time.
    I have symptoms though which i struggle to see any comments on.

    1. When i breath deep breaths its like a stabbing pain.
    2. I get a lot of wind..when i burp my lower back hurts

    I hot hospital tomorrow for an x ray as im passing blood in urine.

    Has anyone else had..stabbing pains when breathing…or a lot of gas..
    If so could you please enlighten why this symtons

    • Suzy says:

      Hi Wayne

      Not sure if you have passed your stone or not yet. I too have exactly the same symptoms that you describe (Stabbing pains when breathing, when I burp or hiccup or sneeze. I also seem quite windy). The night and early morning is more painful. I went to A & E a couple of nights ago and they found blood in my urine, did an XRAY and did some blood tests, although the blood tests were because at that stage, they suspected an appendicitis or kidney stones, but ruled out appendicitis, because the symptoms and urine in the blood pointed to kidney stones. I have been given some pain killers in the meantime and some strong suppository pain killers if the pain becomes intolerable and have been told that I need to wait until the stone passes through. . I am up tonight, because the pain has exacerbated and I am unable to sleep and thought that I would look online, I would be really interested of your outcome and whether you passed the stone naturally or had any complications or what to look out for.

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