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The Agonies and Ecstasies of Kidney Stones

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Kidney stones – you either love them or hate them.

Just kidding. Who in their right mind, unless they are of a self-sadistic nature, would love kidney stones? It’s not simply a painful experience, it’s flat-out torture. In fact, I remember a quote from a tough Marine that was used in an old American Medical Association home guide article on kidney stones: “I’m one of those guys that has tattoos in the most sensitive places and I used to get my teeth drilled without Novocaine. But when I had my kidney stone, I was crying“.

A mother of two quoted in an in-flight magazine article about kidney stones said that passing them is more painful than giving birth.

Who am I to argue? I had my first kidney stone attack at the age of 30 in 1999, and had my second major attack only last night.

It’s not just the excruciating pain of a kidney stone attack – akin to someone taking a power drill to your lower back and someone else pulling and tugging on your urethra – but it’s the length of it as well. Attacks are very rarely short. The two attacks that I’ve had lasted five hours. I’m ready to cry uncle after only ten minutes of this pain, yet the mind-numbingly scary part is there’s nothing you can do. You have to ride the gut-ripping experience out for hours on end.

Then come the chills, and then once you have completely emptied your bladder and bowels, comes the vomiting. This is the real fun part. Often, during a kidney stone attack, the body is so stressed that it empties itself of everything – even half-digested painkiller pills! – in an attempt to deal with the stone. Digestion almost completely shuts down as a result and anything that was sitting around either before or after said digestion gets eliminated one way or the other. Vomiting doesn’t always occur with kidney stone attacks, but for major episodes it does.

And unless you can find a position that both your back and groin find acceptable, sleep may come but it’ll be sporadic and essentially worthless. Forget painkillers – you’ll likely, as aforementioned, to just throw them up. And when relief finally comes and the pain subsides, you’ll feel ecstatic. It’s remarkable how drug-like the cessation of severe pain can be. But you will feel as though you’ve been beaten up. And, in a very real way, you have been. Kidney stones kick ass, and not in a good way.

The basics (according to this site: Kidney stones are comprised mostly of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. They form when crystals of these mineral salts get trapped in the kidney, forming a stone. This is the most common form of stone, though another type, the struvite stone, forms as a result of infection of the urinary tract.

Kidney stones can be hereditary, with the condition known as hypercalciuria most responsible for hereditary-based stone formation. Whites are more likely to be afflicted by kidney stones than blacks, and men have a greater chance of suffering them than women. (Liberals: Think about this the next time you wish ill on white males.)

Coffee, tea, leafy vegetables, wheat bran, red wine and chocolate may be trigger foods. Isn’t that great? Most of the foods that you either should eat, need to consume in order to be able to start the day, or might plain enjoy at snacktime are on the “watch” list!

The good news about kidney stones is that, in addition to feeling higher than heroin once the pain stops, only rarely do they require surgery. Most stones will pass on their own or they can be easily removed or encouraged to break up (using shock waves).

I think kidney stones are nature’s way of letting one know to not sweat the small stuff. Regardless of kidney stones are, how they form or what’s responsible for their formation, once you have experienced one, you will know that you can handle just about anything life throws your way.

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  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    My husband had a kidney stone before he was my husband, when he was only 22. His parents took him to the hospital, where the Demerol helped him not care about the pain. The doctors told him that kidney stone pain is akin to labor pain, so I can sympathize with how much it hurts!

    BTW, broccoli is supposedly on the kidney stone watch list. So my husband still uses that as an excuse not to eat it, even though he has never had a second attack. He says that’s because he never eats broccoli.

  • http://calblog.com Justene

    Ride it out? ER, IV morphine, probably some other antinausea drug by IV. Last time, I was admitted for five days. After all the fluids to flish the first one, a second on the other side loosened. It was a little tough at 3 am to convince the nurse that I was scamming more morphone when I was suddenly doubled over and holding what appeared to be the “wrong” side.

    I am unclear why they hurt. They are essentially harmless. What evolutionary switch gave us pain receptors there? Your liver can deteriorate away and it won’t hurt at all but that harmless kidney stone is indeed the worst pain there is.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Justene: “Ride it out? ER, IV morphine, probably some other antinausea drug by IV.”

    I think this piece came back to haunt its author, big-time.

    It turns out my kidney stone hell wasn’t over, after all … it flared up again just a few hours after writing this, would you believe it! It got so bad that I called an ambulence for myself.

    I spent fifty hours in hospital, spilling blood for the doctors to test and getting X-rays taken, and even needed morphine at one point. I just got out of hospital today (Saturday, May 14). I’m now on a course of anti-inflammatories and anti-biotics.

  • Dan

    I’m on my second stone attack. The first one was 2 years ago and it was also the first time I vommited from pain. I had to go to the ER day before yesterday. They gave some pain killer and anti-nausia drugs in an IV which kicked in pleasantly fast. Tonight, I’ve taken my 3rd Tylox. There’s only one left and one refill. Though it’s dangerous, when ever the pain gets intense, I place a tennis ball or shoe under the kidney and lay on it. I discovered years ago that some forms of pain can be minimized by applying extreme pressure to the affected area. I don’t recomend this to anyone as it could cause extensive damage to your organ/s but, it’s okay for someone like me because I place personal comfort far above personal health. Also some forms of pain can be used to counter other pains but, again, it isn’t a wise thing to do. I do it because I’m stuborn and flatly refuse to live in discomfort no matter what the cost. Some of the things the rest of you mentioned in your comparison to the pain actually sound to me like something that would relieve the pain…to a certain point anyway. I remember the attacks I had before how they made by already spastic colin hurt so badly that I actully began to hate the collin itself and had little fantasies about destroying it to releive the agony. That was how intense it was. This time wasn’t as bad but, it was bad enough to give me dry heaves. The worst part is after the x-rays and cat scan the doc told me I have one in the ureter and two more in the kidney itself. Guess I’m in for a lot of severe pain and hectic days to come. :(

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  • http://www.safehealthdirect.com Macgrath

    Kidney stones are solid accretions (crystals) of dissolved minerals in urine found inside the kidneys or ureters. Also known as nephrolithiasis, urolithiasis or renal calculi. They vary in size from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. Kidney stones typically leave the body in the urine stream; if they grow relatively large before passing (on the order of millimeters), obstruction of a ureter and distention with urine can cause severe pain most commonly felt in the flank, lowe

  • Rob

    After watching my father suffer through 2 attacks, the second one inflamming his prostate so badly it needed surgery, my biggest fear is having a stone to pass. I have never seen anyone in that much pain before and I was present at the births of both my sons.

  • Nancy

    The first attack, morphine at the ER was a kindly assistance, along w/my system being washed out w/lots & lots of IV fluids. The next one, I glommed on to what the problem was early on, and drank lots & lots of water, and I was very lucky: it passed on its own; but I don’t count on that kind of luck twice. Quelle pain!

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Dan, Rob and Nancy:

    It has to be among the hardest of pain to endure – I’m not saying the hardest, but it’s surely up there.

    Morphine helped me. I felt pain returning before I felt like talking a walk around the hospital campus just to stretch my legs. The nurse gave me a shot of morphine just to ensure that I wouldn’t be doubled over if it became bad. Well, even through the morphine, I had pain. It makes me shudder to think what state I’d have been in had I not had that shot.

    My father suffered from a kidney stone attack too. He was in a very bad way. But to date, he’s only had one attack and that was in 1998.

    I’ve got to see a nephrologist [sp?] to determine the cause of my kidney stones, and I saw the urologist recently who determined that my stone had passed. From this stage on, prevention is the key for me.

  • John Sept

    So far I have passed 6 of them and one had to be blown up. They say that when they blow one up the next day you feel like you got hit by a car. I felt fine, but when i went the bathroom it was blood and tissue. Not the most attractive thing to see. Mine are calcium oxelate, so basically all the good things for you like vitamin c and calcium are bad for me. Great. I heard that sucking on lemons help the pain when attacked.

  • Aaron McGraw

    I just passed a stone on Saturday, and I think if someone suggested to me to suck a lemon at the time, I’d have stuffed their head into their chest. Yes, I’m a former army grunt now covered in tattoos and have had teeth drilled without novacaine…I got a chuckle out of the tough marine story, to say the least. I didn’t find myself crying…but I was REALLY irked by my girlfriend’s presence (I asked her to leave eventually) in the ER…the Turodol they gave me didn’t do squat–I tossed and moaned until they started with the Demerol via IV every two hours. Puke? You bet greenish yellow crap to accompany the vermillion stuff I was passing out my penis in lieu of urine. I spent the night tossing and turning in the hospital…was awakened to be told that I’d be going in for surgery in half an hour, voided my bladder one last time and amazingly I passed a 5mm stone. It clicked when it hit the bottom of the plastic hand-held urinal.

    Now, early Tuesday morning the effected kidney is still causing pain. I’m begining to wonder if this is normal.

    Any thoughts? Or does the pain linger on…my back is still quite sore and it seems that I’m not peeing as much as I used to…the color is fine, and the pain isn’t intense…but I sure as hell am sore.

  • Aaron McGraw

    Get your URIC ACID levels checked after passing stones. Seems that stones can be indicative of the onset of renal failure…Yeah. Bummer for me.

  • amy

    I Currently Have 2 Kidney Stones. 8mm In My Right. 5 Mm In My Left. I Had Pain 4 A Week. Then No Pain 4 A Week. And Now Constant Sore Kidneys/Back. Any1 Know If This Is Normal?

  • Dil Barnett

    Nothing to sell!! I stumbled onto a self-administered method that has been quick, almost painless, and consistently effective for many others and me . The freely offered method is at (www.jumpandbump.com)Best of stone luck!! Dil Barnett

  • Jenny P

    I haven’t been diagnosed yet, but I am about 99% sure this is what I am suffering from right now. It’s absolutely terrible, and what you say about how one feels when the pain stops is true. I live in a dorm, and have probably spent 10 or 12 of the last 48 hours sitting/laying on the floor in the shower, letting scalding hot water burn the pain away. That, and contemplating how to best kill myself in case the pain never stops.

    Thank you for this. I would say I’m glad to see I’m not alone, but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

  • KB

    I am just recovering from kidney stones and hope I am through the worst right now. I was addmitted in hospital and had a total of 9 injections for pain in 2 1/2 days. I did not eat for 2 days and was given fluid IV continuously. When i passed it my urine was dark brown (coffee color) and had lots of sand looking particles in it. I felt much better after, but still have back spasms.

    I would not wish this thing on mine enemy.

    I am not the type of person to contribute in this manner but the pain I endured has compelled me to share.

  • Rob

    Monday morning I woke up pain free for the first time in a week, so am still on the post-stone high, I spent most of yesterday grinning inanely to myself

    So in the spirit of sharing..

    Pain started on a sunday night.. after a day of tests and wandering from Xray to CT to Doctor to Urologist I was scheduled for ESWL on the Tues morning. Since my stone was Xray opaque, it could not be seen on Xray, so I was injected with a dye that would help show where in my ureter the stone had stopped. Problem was that the was so blocked, that the dye didn’t flow down from the kidney to the stone. Finally after a morning of increasing pain the treatment started about 3pm and by 4pm I was in ward.

    I had hoped that was the end of it, but although I was peeing blood for a day there seemed to be little in the way of stone fragments in my urine. Over the next few days, I suffered chills, fever, nausea, vomitting and pain (don’t forget the pain). Painkillers did help for a while, but to got to the point that I had to take them so frequently that my already traumatised stomach complained all the more – just adding to the misery.

    Sometime early monday morning, something somehow felt different – hard to put a finger on why amd when I woke up later (courtesy of more pills) the pain had gove and finally there were bits of stone in my urine.

    I have no idea why the fragments took so long to come down, but I will be asking my urologist when I see him

    Only plus of the whole episode is that I did at least lose a couple of kilos in weight

  • Bob

    I went to the emergency room last week with what became diagnosed as a 9mm stone in my left kindey. They admitted me to the hospital and gave me a stint the next day. They controlled the pain with Delaudin(sp) and while the pain was intense, I guess I have a fairly high threshold since I remain convinced that child birth without drugs would be much more painful. I’m scheduled for the Lithotripsy next week (June 29th) and while I don’t have any pain from the stone itself, I am experiencing other very uncomfortable symptoms in the meantime. Headaches, low-grade fever and chills, high urgency to urinate with very low output have become my life. I went back to the urologist with these symptoms and they did tests and found no infections and basically said this was normal.
    I’m wondering, especially from those of you who have had more than one stone in the past, just how normal this is and if I can expect other more uncomfortable symptoms before the Lithotripsy? What about after?

  • Scarlett Marenger

    I have been passing stones for 25 years but they only started to kick it up since 2000. Have probabley passed 3 dozen stones Have had
    laser blasting and Lithotripsy more than once.
    When you have a severe attack with back pain it means that the stone is blocking urine flow from that side kidney. You need to get to the hospital because if it goes on long enough it can kill that kidney. They cannot seem to find out why I create stones. But I have researched a lot myself.
    My Naturopath says drink lemon water to help dissolve them. Following is a list of the BAD stuff; Instant coffee and tea, black tea, broccoli, strawberry or any seeded fruits, Cocolate big time, spinach, whole wheat breads, nuts or nut butters, tons of stuff.

  • tncali

    One thing that helped me until it was a decent enough hour to drag my family to the er was standing in the shower with the hot water pounding the aching kidney. I hung on the door like that for about 2 hours…then went to the er looking like crap…but after the morphine I didn’t care what I looked like. I had 3 very very small grains…but the pain was WORSE than the two children I gave BIRTH to.

  • http://moneyall4u.blogspot.com de amoy

    Certainly feels very painful, to read these articles, it seems I have a feather occiput stand, the most egregious case, where we have always felt that untold pain as the sky will fall down on our heads. Of course will be very grateful if there is a medicine that can liberate us from all this suffering.

    Although my family and I have never suffered from this disease, but of course I will feel very happy to know there are drugs that can cure this disease

  • http://nitpickingnightdragon.blogspot.com Mark Edward Manning

    That’s the thing: My stone was quite small as well, but jeez, did it hurt. Sometimes I wonder if it was a jackstone — the really spiky stones. That way, it doesn’t matter if it’s small, it’s the shape of the stone that causes the pain.

  • Colleen

    I just turned 25, and passed my first Stone 3 months ago. Upon further testing, they determined I still have a 5mm stone in my left Kidney..
    The stone I passed was 2.5mm, and boy did it hurt!
    I remember crawling on the floor for days because the pain was so bad! I was constantly hunched over because any upright position was just too painful! And I had no idea what was wrong with me!
    I have a very high pain tolerance, and I could not grasp this as it felt like I was having my left side wrenched out!!
    Because I had small amounts of blood in my urine, I figured the pain was cramps due to my period. After 3 days, I finally ended up in Emerg!
    Passing the stone wasnt bad for me at all, In fact I remember very little of the pain..The docs had me on morphine..and I dont even remember it hurting! I just remember being SOOOO happy to have passed it and have the darn stone out of me!
    ( the week prior was the painful part)

    Now back to my 5mm stone. The urologist told me it may take years before this stone ever bothers me, and to go for a yearly Xray to monitor it.
    To be honest..Im worried. Im not looking forward to experiencing the joy of passing a kidney stone again; And knowing that this one is there ( and twice the size of my first) is a constant reminder to me. Its torture!

    My question. Does anyone have an idea how long a stone will stay in your kidney before passing?
    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • elayne

    just recovering from 1st(and 2nd)attack of kidney stones,,,AGONY!!!the vomiting sure did come,the pain is like nothing ive ever had and hope to have again,the painkillers,anti spasmodic drugs and stuff have improved it(heres hoping!)

  • Z

    I am not looking forward to it, would be good if people gave coping advice….?? I mean at the end of the day, fair enough it clearly is very painful… but all of u got through it, do be proud of yourselves!

  • Gavin

    I woke up last night at 4:30 by the worst pain I ever imagine. I stood up and immediately fell over from the pain. 15 min later I was in the car to the ER vomiting uncontrollably on my floor mats.

    Got to the ER and spent one hour on a bathroom floor sweating,shaking,and vomiting from the pain until finally they brought me a IV pain med. They had forgotten to give me my pain relief meds!!!

    Anyway that was the worst hour of my life period. I thought tooth aches were bad but they are a cake walk compared to this.

    It was a 2mm stone and I’m not sure if I have passed it yet but the pain is gone for now. I just hope I don’t endure that level of pain ever again. Pain meds seem to be keeping it at bay.

  • Frank

    I have passed three stones over the past five years. The first at 2.5mm, the second at 4mm and the third at just over 1mm.

    The pain was severe with all three stones, but I have to say that the size of the stone seemed relevant to the pain.

    On the last stone, I tried the JumpandBump method (www.jumpandbump.com)and it seemed to work well. It was worth the read. If nothing else, it took my mind off of the pain.

    I currently have two stones developing in my left kidney, one that is 3mm and one that is 5mm. I must be one of the lucky ones!!!

    I understand from my Urologist that there is a 75% chance of passing a 5mm stone. Boy, am I looking forward to that! He called them small! I wanted to ask him if he had ever driven a Volkswagen through a garden hose, because that’s what I envision a 5mm stone to be like. I hope to be close to some morphine on that day! He also told me that I may never be affected by these two stones that they could stay in my kidney and never affect me. I have only known about them for about five hours now and I am ready to have my kidney removed so that I don’t have to wonder when/if they are going to affect me.

  • Frank

    One note that I forgot to mention, is that my urologist prescribed Flomax during my last stone and I passed it the sameday as the pain started. It really seemed to work as the previous two stones took more than a week to pass.

  • David

    I had 39 hours of “Labor” and finally I passed my first (hopefully only) kidney stone. I have had broken bones, a ruptured disc, and a punctured lung, nothing even compares to this pain. I will give you this advice…if you are throwing up (I did multiple times) get your butt into the ER. They will give you anti-nausea medicine and morphine to work through this. They will keep the fluids in you to pass your stone. I past my stone at 7:00 AM.
    I have a question thought if someone could give me advice. It is 12 hours later and I am having deep soreness in the kidney that had the stone. Is this normal?

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Having been through three kidney stone ordeals in my life I can testify that there is ONE good thing about having them.

    MORPHINE.

  • STM

    Ha! So Mark, we do have something in common :)

    I have my own horror stories and I won’t repeat all of them here, except to say that the last time, people noticed I was turning green just before I collapsed – about 20 minutes after drinking a Cranberry juice (which might have been coincidence).

    That stone got stuck halfway between kidney and bladder and was the size of 9mm bullet. It had to be put back into my kidney so they could destroy it with ultrasound a week later.

    I just felt like I needed to pee for a week … endless niggling agony.

    What a nightmare.

  • Neale

    Talk about been able to walk tall after enduring a kidney stone attack. When I had my first attack I had no idea what was happening. No analgesics seemed to help, I may as well have been eating candy for all the good they did, but a very hot bath gave some temporary relief. I was 5 hours into the attack before my neighbour drove me to the hospital. By this stage I was grey-green and sweating like an eskimo taking a vacation on the equator. Now here’s the part even I can’t believe, I then WALKED on my own two feet into the ER, how I managed that I’ll never know. Then, bliss, oh joyful bliss; IV morphine until the stone was passed some 8 hours later. Before this all happened I thought of myself as a total wuss when it came to pain, now I know I could walk up to Mike Tyson and tell him what a big, dumb, ugly sissy he is, because I know that he could never lay down as much hurt on me as a kidney stone attack. Everyone that endures a kidney stone attack should be a heroism medal. It it fails to alter your perspective on life, then you have something much more seriously wrong with you than kidney stones.

  • Madison

    Just a few days ago I was in the ER dealing with severe abdominal pain. Doctors couldn’t find out what it was. I had a scope done, ct scans done, many ultra sounds done. Boy it was crazy. The hospital finally admitted me into the hospital. The doctors never gave me any pain medicine for the pain I was having. After being admitted I started peeing blood and having severe pain in my bladder. Still, no matter how many times I asked for pain killers, no one would give them to me. Two days after the terrible pain I passed very little bits and pieces of stones. Turns out that I did have a stone, but it shattered on its own and today I’m still passing little pieces of it. Goodness gracious this is painful.

  • kelsey

    I am 19 years old and just passed my first kidney stone this past weekend! IT WAS THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. And the right side of my back (the stone was in my right kidney) still seems sore. Is this normal? It’s not painful, just uncomfortable. I’ve been researching stones so much because I do NOT want to go through that pain again! They had me on morphine and sent me home with lots of Vicodin. It’s incredible how sensitive the inside of our bodies are, that something so small could hurt so much!
    So, anyway! somebody please let me know if it is normal for your kidney to still feel uncomfortable a few days after the stone has passed?

  • Laura

    My dad died from a kidney stone. Make sure that they read your kidney scan clearly. They told him it would pass and sent him home. When he was pissing blood a day later he went back and it took them forever to admit him. If they would have read the scan they would have seen that the stone was lodged on a little shelf in his kidney. It abscessed and he went septic and into a coma. He died 2 1/2 weeks later. From a fricking kidney stone…and a stupid ER. Yes, they have been sued and we won but it doesn’t bring him back. So please make sure that you advocate for yourself and tell them to read the scan.

  • Aussie Melbourne

    I like to think I can handle pain fairly well but these things can really test you.

    I had my first stone at about the age of 20 and because I had no idea what it was, my brother rushed me to hospital. I passed it there over a space of 8 hours.

    Since then I’ve passed a further 5 at home without pain relief. I always prey for the extremely painful but fast passage. I ‘good’ stone is 30 mins on the toilet vomiting and then a sudden rush of bliss as the stone enters the bladder.

    Anyhow, I’m writing now because I’m in the middle of an attack now. I held out for 5 hours at home vomiting but the pain became too great and I decide to visit the hospital. Morphine works like a charm …insist on it when you can. Most of the other painkillers don’t do much (and as mentioned, you tend to vomit them out).

    After a CT scan, it turns out I have 10 stone on one side (5mm maximum) and 8 on my other side (7mm max). So I’ll be revisiting this experience again I’m sure. I’ve been given Indomethacin and when another attack camp today after leaving hospital, it seems to dull the pain a little and is tolerable at present.

    Hang in there friends! :)

  • Aussie Melbourne

    Laura, I’m really sorry to hear your loss. That is absolutely disgraceful on the ER’s part. What a horrid complication :(

  • Marie

    I passed my first stone when I was ten and needed surgery. They put a stent in and peeing after I got out of surgery was the single most painful experience of my life. Beforehand I was vomiting, felt the constant need to urinate, and had excruciating pains in my side. After they took the stent out two weeks later I passed the stone and was fine. They put me on preventative medicine called Urocit-K for calcium oxalate stones and I was forced to change my diet.

    Having this experience so young, I thought I would recognize when it happened again. But about 5 days ago (I’m 18 now) I started to feel the urge to pee ALL the time, but had no pain. I went to four doctors. Two told me it was a uti and THREE of them said for sure it was NOT a kidney stone. I went for an xray just in case but nothing came up. Then yesterday morning the pain started and I passed a stone! I took it into the lab so we can see if it is the same type as last time, but am still awaiting a call. As it turns out, the stone was too far down to catch on an xray. so Bob from June 19th, don’t think you’re crazy if you feel something that “isn’t there”

    Unfortunately this happened around 430 in the morning yesterday. My stomach was already a disaster before and later in the night I started my period. Now I have three culprits that could be causing pain so I don’t know what the hell is what. Do you think I should go to the ER? I don’t want to have kidney failure or another stone and pass it off as cramps…

  • Andrea

    I am only 15, and I think this is what I have. I had an attack DURING SCHOOL, while sitting in class with tons of people around me, trying to take notes. I had no idea what was wrong with me or what was happening. All I knew was that my left lower back hurt like hell. I tried different ways of sitting, nothing helped. I thought it had to be period cramps, but I never get bad cramps, so I was confused. As I sat taking notes the pain just kept getting worse and worse, I started shaking and sweating, and I finally got up and asked to go to the nurse. She told me it was just period cramps and to call my mom and ask for advil and try to stick it out through the day. Yeah, that wasn’t an option for me. I thought I was dying, literally. So I told my mom come get me, NOW! I didn’t care what the nurse said. So she got there, and by that time the pain was horrible! Worst pain of my life, no doubt. Once we got out of the school I started screaming and crying (I kept my calm in school somehow) and by the time we got to the car I was sprawled on the floor kicking, tossing, turning, screaming, and my mom thought my appendix burst or something. She rushed me up to the doctor’s office, and by the time we got up there the pain had just stopped, completely. The doctor said it was a “muscle spasm.” Yeah right, I don’t think I had a muscle spasm… that lasted for a whole hour and a half. But my mom and I accepted it and went home. (This all happened yesterday.) So today I decided to go back to school. As I was getting ready, the pain came back again, same place. I knew it wasn’t a muscle spasm. Within 10 minutes I was on the couch, kicking and screaming, feeling helpless and like I was about to die. My mom called the doctor right away, and somehow it all clicked for her and she’s like, she must have a kidney stone. So me and my mom are about to leave for the er. wish me luck. Hope I don’t have to have surgery… /:

  • Katey

    I am 16 years old and have had an ongoing problem in the past year. I’ve ended up in urgent cares and emergency rooms alike. I went in for a CT scan last friday and found that I have two stones in my left kidney; one 1 mm and the other 3mm. I currently have a 4mm one stuck in my ureter. I am taking a pill to hopefully pass my 4mm stone.

    Kidney stones are the worst pain I’ve personally ever felt in my 16 years. Everyone who’s been afflicted with stones, I feel your pain!

  • Steph

    I am 23, and I got my first kidney stone about 2 months ago on valentines day. I had no idea what was going on, one minute i was fine then soon as I stood up I got pain on my right side! It was absolute agony, I had never felt pain like it before.
    My mum called for an ambulance and I was rushed to hospital. The doctors there said it was a urine infection, because they found blood in my urine.
    I didn’t believe that at all, it was too painful to be a little urine infection. They kept me in overnight for observation, and the pain was agony. I though I could tough it out. Boy was I wrong, I lasted about 20 minutes before I called for some pain killers. I was on an IV because I couldn’t keep anything down, I was vomiting so much. So they gave me Morphine. Ahhh bliss!! I love Morphine. It was amazing how the pain was just washed away.
    I had a scan done the next night, and they said it was a small kidney stone. They sent me home the next morning, saying that it would pass by itself and to drink plenty of water.

    Well its been nearly 2 months and I still don’t know whether I have passed my stone or not. Had no pain for the last 2 months, been drinking lots of water. So who knows whats going on?!!

  • Steve

    A common theme I seem to see on this and other forums and blogs is that too often folks think that kidney stones are all the same. They are most definitely not and therefore various remedies work better for some and not for others. Depending upon the stone type, prevention and treatment can be very different. Also, for those who want a more natural approach, these remedies also vary depending upon stone type. This is simply crucial. Even though some stones, like calcium oxalate, are more common than others, you really have to find out what you have before embarking on various prevention and treatment plans.

  • Sean

    I’ve read every comment and my situation really seems to differ from most. No wonder the first doctor I saw told me it couldn’t be a kidney stone.

    My pain started several months ago, but not in my back. It was all in my lower abdomen for the first few weeks. I went to a clinic and was given proton pump inhibitors for what they thought was acid reflux. The pain began increased over a few days and moved into my testicles as well as my abdomen but still nothing in my back. I had an ultrasound done on my testicles and nothing.

    A couple days after the ultrasound the urgency to urinate started. After four or five days of that I went to the ER and had a cat scan which revealed three stones, two in my ureter and one in my kidney.

    They gave me delaudid and sent me home. I went to bed expecting the next day to be rough but to the contrary, the pain was entirely gone. No pain for five days then enough discomfort that I took a pain killer. That night I passed a three mm stone. Then another pain free week.

    this was followed by about 10 days of moderate pain and then my second stone. Four mm, or six mm if you count the spikes.

    So that was towards the end of March, now it’s mid May and I’m still waiting for this last stone. I started feeling it five or six weeks ago and I’ve been having on again off again pain. Nothing like what I’ve read here. Not nearly as intense, just a chronic two weeks on two weeks off kind of thing.

    I’m glad that my situation is less severe than those that I’ve read here but I have had moments that I’m about to lose it because it’s taking so long. I’m at the start of another cycle and I’m afraid that if I call my doctor one more time he will just think I’m scamming for more pain meds.

  • jan

    if the pain has stopped does this mean that the kidney stone has passed through your system or could it be stuck ?

  • Tommy

    In 1988 at age 45 I had my first kidney stone (uric acid). Since then I have passed 84, BB size or larger. (I didn’t count the ones smaller than a BB) I would like to talk [edited] to anyone that has a history of multiable uric acid stones. [personal contact info deleted]

  • frank

    Next time I get a stone i’m just going to have my kidney removed it’ll be less painful, all kidding aside they had to pull mine out with a claw type device throught my penis after this I almost passed out trying to pee.

  • Joe

    I have 3 small ones on the move at the same time…..it has been 4 days so far and still drinking water and taking painkillers…

  • sasha

    hi. i’m on my 3rd kidney stone attack. I’ve had just about every bladder/kidney disorder you can have. I’ve had around 15 surgeries. I also have an incurable bladder disease (interstitial cystitis). Anyhow, I’m 24 and just got kidney stones 3 mos ago. I got a 3mm stone removed 2 mos ago, 5mm stone removed 6 weeks ago and now have ANOTHER 5mm stone!!! its frustrating, my Urologist said he’s never seen them form so fast and large. I find it pretty painful but nothing to scream about. to me, a UTI is 10 times more painful than this. heating pads and hot baths are your friends :) and if it gets bad enough, go to the ER for some liquid magic in your IV :)

  • dana

    I’m on my fourth stone. The first three I had were no big deal. I’ve always had really bad kidney infections and they were always a lot worse and lasted a lot longer than my stones did. About a month ago I had another kidney stone attack that somehow seemed a lot different than my other ones. For one thing, I was passing blood with this one, and for another, the pain was a lot more intense. I barely made it to my doctor’s office before the pain took over. I fully expected to pass the stone over the weekend like I had all the other ones, I didn’t. The dr. ordered a ct scan and discovered that the stone was very large and had barely made it out of the kidney and gotten “stuck”. It was over one half inch around and I have several more inside the same kidney waiting to come out. I had the lithotripsy done 4 days ago. The second day, I passed about 6 stones and last night I passed another 7 or 8 stones. The bad thing is, as soon as I pass a few stones, I feel better for a few hours and think maybe it’s all over, and then the pain starts all over again. The pain meds aren’t working anymore, hot baths aren’t working anymore, heating pads aren’t working, I’ve called my dr. for stronger meds and my husband is picking it up tomorrow. Hopefully, these will work, if they don’t, I have no idea what I’m going to do. I thought I had a high pain tolerance, I went to work for 3 weeks until they got me in for surgery, but, my gosh, since the surgery it’s been almost unbearable. If anyone has any suggestions, please, let me know.
    Thanks, for listening.

  • http://www.colin-ferguson.com Colin Ferguson

    Interesting read. Thanks for the post and the many useful comments.

    I have a 6pm stone and only found out about it after a tough and contorting workout. I’m not sure what I can do to reduce the size but hopefully the naturopath has some ideas. I have no idea when I’ll “have my baby” — days, weeks or months. That being said I hope I had a good idea by asking my doctor for a pain med prescription in advance. As one commented said I didn’t look forward to having 6 hours of screaming for pain meds while being diagnosed in the ‘ER. Now I just have to figure out how to keep ‘em down when it hits. Thanks for that tip!

    I’m unsure if a couple of incidents of sudden but pretty harsh back pain were kidney stones or kidney stone issues. I doubt it but pays to keep an open mind.

  • jawaca

    omg…unbelievable pain…worse than childbirth and with nothing to show except a tiny grain of sand that persisted in creating the most intense pain I’ve ever felt…like a knife in the kidney and twisting. Then the vomiting to top it off so you can’t take a pain medicine becuase it is just a waste of money-it comes right back out!

    From the Ct scan I was told I have more on my right side which I am so afraid of…how can I get rid of these before passing them? Will anything dissolve them?

  • Slingy

    I was recently on holiday and passed two 5mm stones. I originally thought I had appendicitis, but the pain would come and go in waves. Unfortunately I didn’t have any painkillers available. The second one was worse because I was stuck on a plane for an 8 hour flight. I just couldn’t find a comfortable position

  • rt

    i have had 3 kidney stone attacks over the years on one accasion the doctor gave me petherdine did nothing then morphine did nothing for the pain either it is a pain u can not discribe unless u have been through it by the end of it you think you have had the shit beat out of u by three blokes drink lots of water and prey they dont come back if they do i feel your pain

  • E

    After urinating blood and experiencing UNBELIEVABLE flank and back pain in Nov 2010, I have been diagnosed with having 4 kidney stones in left kidney, some in the right kidney and a 5 mm stone in the left distal ureter. I have not passed any stones as of yet. Dr. prescribed Flo-Max (which has been used as a muscle relaxer) to promote the passing. Nothing yet. Just came from ER due to a new pain in abdomin (thought the stone went to bladder, but no) and rec’d a pain reliever. CT confirmed stone still in ureter. Will continue to drink loads of water and now will add lemonade to the mixture. Wish me luck — looks like I’m going to need it.

  • rae

    absolutely the worst pain i’ve ever experienced. after a week of slowly increasing soreness, i sat down to study and within minutes was on the floor…visit to er showed a tiny grain of sand on it’s way down…pain got so bad that I was lying on the floor of the er begging for help through rivers of tears while they tried to get my signature for treatment…pain lasted about 30 hrs…throwing up all the pain killers, sweating, crying, considering taking a knife and just cutting my kidney out (when i finally slept, i dreamed my next door neighbor broke into my house and stole my air conditioner – must’ve been the fever)…now, it’s ten days later, and it still aches…but there are a couple of bright points; doctors discovered i have kidney disease and now i can start treatment to prevent kidney failure, and i met my $7,000 insurance deductible…hang in there, everybody

  • Rebecca DeWitt

    I’ve had 11 kidney stones from 1mm to 8 mm in size. I have had lithotripsy once to break up a stone, and have been to the ER 13 times for kidney stones, sometimes for the same stone because they got stuck. I would never ride out the pain and never have. I know how the beginning of a kidney stone attack feels so I take 2 vicoden and an anti-nausea pill and have someone take to to the ER. I am usually given morphine or dilaudin and an average stay is 6 hours. Afterwords I continue to drink water all day and add potassium pills in. If I have them I take Flo-max or Toradol to help keep my ureters open. I would also recommend seeing a urologist if you’ve had more than one–they can determine your type of stone and give you pointers on how to avoid stones. Good luck!

  • TK

    I went to the ER over the weekend with my first kidney stone. The pain was horrible they gave me morephine for pain and told me to keep drinking lots of fluid and that it was 3mm and that I would pass it. My question is that I am not sur if I have passed it yet but my major pain is gone but I am having moderate pain on the lower right side of my stomach. No sure if this is all related to the kidney stone. Can someone please let me know.

  • Kidney Stone

    Hi Mark
    As you quite correctly state the majority of kidney stones (80%) are Calcium based stones. What is crazy is that these stones can be prevented.

    These kinds of kidney stones are an indication of 2 things:

    1. Dehydration. This is the main factor in the formation of Calcium based stones. Coffee, Tea and Soda Drinks should be avoided because they have a diuretic affect on the body.

    2. Poor Diet. Eating processed and canned foods should be avoided as these foods contain added salts, sugars and preservatives that increase the risk of kidney stones.

    The old addage – Rubbish in Rubbish out applies. The more rubbish you put into your body the more rubbish there is for your kidneys to try and get rid of. Increasing water/fluid intake helps but it should be combined with changes in diet to prevent kidney stones from forming.

    Prevention Formula:

    Increased Water Intake + Rubbish Reduction = Reduced Kidney Stone Occurence

    Great Post. Hope this helps.

  • Fred

    I had my first kidney stone attack when I was 20. I was taking a shower in the morning when I started feeling a weird tingling sensation in my lower left side. 15 minutes later comes excrutiating pain, like someone shoved a knife into me and started twisting it.

    20 years later at the age of 47, I got my second attack. Again, lower left side, and once again, it happened in the morning. I was driving to work when I started to feel that weird tingling sensation again. I immediately thought, “oh no” because I knew what was coming. It hit me as I got to work. I thought I could tough it out, but I just sat in my cubicle writhing in pain. I took Ibuprofen, but that didn’t help much. I ended up going home to ride it out. It lasted 5 hours when all of a sudden, the pain disappeared. It amazing how instant the relief is when it finally passes.

    I dread having another attack. I guess I should be grateful that it was 20 years since the last one. I hope it’s another 20 years, though I’ll be 67 by then and it might just kill me next time!!

  • Mark Edward Manning

    Thanks, Kidney Stone for the info. I have definitely taken care to keep hydrated since my past attacks.

    Fred, I too dread another attack. It’s been six years since my last one, so hopefully that means I’m doing what it takes to prevent it.

  • bryanbrokenback

    I have just had my second attack. My first was a month ago in 2011 and now I’m ringin inthe new year with bloody pee but this stone there was hardly any pain. Some stabbing pain in back but only like 20 mins worth the worst was the shock of seeing so much blood in my urine. And I take 80mg oxy ,the ops, 3 times a day and 7.5 mg Vic’s and it did nothing for stone pain only expelling it helps.

  • tyler

    the other day i was driving to a friends house on the highway and all of a sudden i had this horrible pain in my lower back and i almost passed out at the wheel. well it was so bad i had to call 911! come to find out i had kidney stones only 1mm but oh my god it was the worst pain ever. i wanted to shoot myself i ended up passing it and its been 3 days and im still sore! i hope i never have to go through that again!!

  • cindy

    Had my first attack on Sunday…horrible!!! Went to the ER and was given anti nausea meds and Morphine to start. The Morphine didn’t touch the pain..They finally gave me Dilaudid, which is about 4x stronger than Morphine..It kicked the pain way down..I didn’t see anyone mention this drug on this board..but it is available and works..so ask for it.

  • Mimi

    Just had my first ever stone attack at 29. I woke up at 5:30 thinking someone had kicked me in the back. Within minutes I was puking, on the verge of passing out and begging my husband to call 911. I seriously thought I was dying. I could barely walk into the ER. I passed one stone and still have one more to go but this one is high up in my kidney and smaller. The agony of waiting for that d@mn stone to pass is killing me. I’m on Flomax to help reduce swelling and hopefully make it easier to pass, oxy for pain, and phenergan for nausea if I need it.
    After having TWO children, I can say that this pain is SO much worse than labor. At least with labor, you have an amazing reward at the end of it. I have a follow up with my FP to determine what kind of stone(s) I have and to see if I’ve passed the smaller one. The first one is about 2-2.5mm.

  • Pamela

    My Husband for the last 16 years has suffered from kidney stones, he has been hospitalised, x-rayed and had all the tests.His stones are uric acid so they are small unlike the pain. He takes nettle tea 3 times a day when he feels the onset of a stone attack, this numbs the pain, stops the sickness but not the toilet discomfort but it is still manageable, not like before when he used to sick painkillers up.Germany have licensed nettle tea as a medicine to help patients and my husband hasn’t had to go to the hospital for 4 years so he swears by it. Hope this helps all you sufferers out there, try it and see, anything is better than that pain.

  • T

    so I passed a 3mm stone after 4 hours and a catscan. the pain intense…worse than being shot or breaking a none. luckily it only lasted a few hours. very lil nausea but bad sweats and zero appetite. 5 days later I’m still completely beat tired. got to go back to work but I barely can get out of bed.

  • T

    this was my first stone at 39. I ate tons of junkfood and drank a 6 pack a day of pepsi….rarely any straight water. this was a small 3 mm stone that looked like lava rock. catscan said this was the only one. had all the same symptoms except vomiting. I felt starvingly hungry but was to exhausted to eat. still feel the same way 5 days later….except no pain or burning. drinking a gallon a day of water and trying to walk around. just dragging ass and dizzy. probably caught a virus at the er. the hardest and most painful part is that I have no insurance…cost me 10,000 and a week off work.

  • AD

    I am a doctor and I had my first attack 7 months ago when on holiday. I had to fly back and drove straight to hospital. I had a 7 mm stone in the proximal ureter. This needed a stent and lithotripsy 3 weeks later. Although the renal colics subsided the discomfort and frequency of the stent were pretty bad. 7 months later I am having another attack. I have been in pain for one week and was hoping that this stone is going to pass. I had to leave the hospital early today as I could not function properly. If the pain does not improve I will probably have a CT scan tomorrow.

  • Robyn Toronto

    Having kidney stones twice, my doctor suggested that I start drinking cranberry juice daily every morning, as cranberries are supposed to help prevent the formation of kidney stones. Well, I am not a big fan of juice, so thought I would give the Cranberry Concentrate from Lady Soma Products a try. Its a cranberry supplement with Vitamin C in it. I am very pleased with the product, and it has totally helped!

    Cranberry juice tastes awful and is mostly sugar, and the antibiotics give me stomachaches. Absolutely no side effects for this Lady Soma Cranberry Supplement. Don’t know now what I’d do without it.

  • asha naraine

    I had this pain in mabdomen, that went from dull to to mind-numbing in about a week, my first visit to the er i wad peeing dark red urine and could barely walk, they sent me home with anti-biotics thinking it was a urine infection, went back to the er 4 days later with more blood an pain they kept me overnight and gave me a helio scan on my abdomen, where they discovered a 5mm by a 10 mm stone, going to see a urologist, they gave me nothing for the pain,i went bck to the er by ambulance, they gave me painkillers , trying to manage until i see uroligists for surgery, i have given birth twice and had broken ribs and a broken collar bone,this is by far the worse pain i have ever experienced, im having an attack now, the pain meds work if u can keep them down, good luck and gid bless anyone with stones, a pain i wouldnt wish on my worse enemy, here comes the nausea…..

  • lottenoles

    I am going throu my 3 rd attack. My first hit at work about 9 years ago (thank goodness I workin a hospital). Meds, CT, andbeng sent home after 2 days no more pain. (I never saw it).

    Then January of this year I had another attack, at home, my husband took me to ER and I got meds and another CT. Dr.. said the stone had justt moved since he could see where the urine had backed up. He also informed me that I had another one ready to drop. (I never saw this one either got tired of straining my urine and was never toldto bring it to uurologist to see what type it was).

    Well yesterday I was about to paint my nails and boom my left side started hurting. I tried to tuff it out, and did for about 30-45 minutes and my husband again took me to the ER. This time they told me its a 3mm stoneand to strain my urine and go/follow up with urologist. This stone was the worst. Since even I could tell my urine had a lot of blood and it also had bacteria.

    So I am now in moderate pain, sometimes severe pain with 4 different prescriptions: 2 types of pain meds, 1 for nausea and 1for
    antibiotics.
    If only this stone would pass and the pain go away!!!! I have to work tomorrow night.

    So for all who have, have had, and may have kidney stone(s)
    GOD BLESS!!!!

  • Ron

    Just had my second attack which sent me to the ER which I was told I had one tiny 2mm stone. Was sent home to pass it and about 6 hours later passed two stones one 4mm and apparently the 2mm stone they had seen. Upon an actual radiologist and urologist looking at the CT scan the ER had taken, the Urologist’s office called to tell me that I had an ‘uncountable’ amount of small stones in my left kidney. I passed two more 4mm stones and an actual ‘uncountable’ amount of smaller stones about the size of the head of a straight pin which they call ‘gravel’. My ordeal this time took almost 9 days to pass what I hope is all of them, since yesterday after passing the last 4mm stone…I felt wonderful. Instant relief. Kidney stones are very painful and the pain is emitted from the stone causing the Ureter to spasm and the kidney backing up with fluid. The only pain medicine that is useful for kidney stones would be Toradol or Ketoralac. These are non-narcotic NSAIDS which are very strong and stop the spasming of the Ureter…Backed up with Flomax to Dialate the Ureter and lots and lots of Lemonade(Citrates actually break the stones up some) I’m hoping I’m all flushed out…Day two of relief so far.

  • michel

    1st attack, needed 6 stitches from passing out and bashing my head into things. 2nd attack I laid on a vibrating cushion which shook the stone thru in about 20 minutes – with little pain. The pain seems to occur when the stone gets stuck. I’ve had 6 stones now, the latest last night. Still not pleasant, but I’ve deal with them at home, with no drugs, and vibrated them thru very quickly, with a minimum of pain.

  • Kev

    My first stone was approximately 4mm and nearly 6 years ago. After spending 24 hours praying for death and throwing up my toenails I managed to drive myself to the ER where I was admitted and it was lasered/removed. Just before Christmas I had another attack out of the blue. Again went to the ER and thank God for morphine. After several days I went in for lithotripsy which did not work. Went back for Cystoscopy/laser but due to a stricture the Dr. could not get to the stone. He placed a stent and we tried again in one week. This time he was able to get to the stone in the ureter and one in the kidney as well. Several days later I’m back in the ER due to blood clots blocking the ureter which they said was fairly common but would dissolve and pass. I now think I have a small stone stuck in my left ureter as I have a constant low grade ache in the left flank and two more stones in the right kidney. There are just not enough letters in the word suck to fully describe the suckiness of having to deal with kidney stones.

  • shelby

    i am 17. kidney stones run in the family. my brother got one when he was 12. i laughed and was like haha i aint gunna get one. then a year later i was out of town and got this sharp pain at night and i was omg i have a kidney stone. i was 3 hours away from home with my cousin and her friends. we rushed home and my mom gave me some pain meds. by the time i got to the doctor it was out of my kidney and i passed it. they did a ct scan and i had a bunch of “inbedded” kidney stones. i was like oh great. karma is a bitch. then one came loose in jan. of 2013 omg i had forgotten how much pain it was. they finally gave me pain meds about 3 hours after i got there. when i finally got it i was so relieved i forgot how to spell my darn name. it hit my bladder about an hour aftr that. i didnt pee it out till about 2 days later now i have one again! its bigger than a BB i dont know how many mm that is. i went to the ER and missed school. i went to my moms urologist. they did a x ray. she said it was bigger than a BB. it has been 6 days and it still hasnt hit my bladder. i am tired of this freaken pain. i would be fine if i only had to deal with it for 3 days but no it has been 6. i have been taking dildid and im tired of sleeping lol. all i can say is that i get dehydrated easy. so when i dont drink enough water or anything for that fact my kidney stones grow. my kidney stones are made out of calcium and sodium. it was explained to me like this: if you dont drink enough water the calcium and sodium clump together and create a stone. i have a grandma bladder and so i have to pee alot and i have a doctors note but i still have that one teacher who gives me a problem so i stopped drinking in school. well when i went to the hospital i they had to pump 2 bags of fluids in me. so i was really dehydrated. but my question is could the stone be to big to pass? i am a really small person. i am 4’6 and 120 pounds. i am done growing. anyways. could the stone be to big for me to pass? is that why i have been in pain for 6 days straight. the dildid just takes the edge away. i think my body is getting use to it.

  • Davis

    I guess I have had an attach about once a year since I was about 25. I am now 31 and only three times have I had the hell pain (about one hour of screaming and rolling around on the floor like a mad dog) I have had pain in my side/bladder area many more times without ever getting the hell pain. The manageable side and crotch pain can last for weeks or months before the terrible pain/passing. My pee is often bloody all year round. I have come to the uneducated conclusion that I am making/passing stones almost all the time and only a few are big enough to cause the terrible pain when entering the bladder? Or get snagged on just the right spot?

    I am thankful that I do not go through that hour of agony with every stone, but the anticipation is torture when you can feel it in the kidney for weeks. I end up missing work and taking pain pills in anticipation of the big pain that sometimes never comes. Anyone else have a similar story? Anyone that knows more like to telling what is actually going on or how they would handle it?

  • susanro

    I just found out I have one due to blood in urine and back pain that is awful! Having it blasted in 2 weeks….I appreciate all of the comments that have been shared – glad I found this page.