How To Pass A Kidney Stone Easily
The occurrence of kidney stones is increasing within the United States. Currently, men have a 10 percent chance of developing a kidney stone during their lifetime, while women face a seven percent likelihood throughout their lives.
As more cases arise, individuals are discovering that these mineral buildups often inflict tremendous pain and internal discomfort. The removal of a kidney stone often comes in the form of passing it through the urinary system.
In the event of a diagnosed kidney stone, and based upon your doctors recommendations, there are approaches to helping the foreign body pass more easily.
Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones
When you have kidney stone symptoms, as described above, see your health care provider. Shell check your medical history, give you a physical examination, and order imaging tests, as needed.
Your doctor may ask you to drink extra fluid to help flush out the stone. By straining your urine, you may be able to save a piece of the stone. This will enable your doctor to determine the type of stone, what may be causing the condition, and how to reduce your risk of recurring stones.
If your stone doesnt flush out, your doctor may order a high-resolution CT scan from the kidneys to the bladder or a KUB X-ray to determine the size and location of the stone.
Another test used for some patients is the intravenous pyelogram , an X-ray of the urinary tract taken after injecting dye.
Things To Know About Passing Kidney Stones
Unfortunately, one in 10 Americans will experience the unpleasant little kidney formations called kidney stones at some point in their lifetime.
While not everyone will get kidney stones, its important for you to not only understand why youre experiencing kidney stones, but also what to do when you have one. Passing kidney stones is not always easy, and if youve never had a kidney stone before you may not know what to expect.
In this blog, we cover five things you should know about passing kidney stones. While we hope you are able to pass kidney stones naturally and with little discomfort, we know that it doesnt always work out that way. This blog will help prepare you for the potential outcomes during and after passing kidney stones so you know exactly what to expect.
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Can Kidney Stone Symptoms Come And Go
The length of time a stone can hang around is the primary reason that a person may feel like kidney stone symptoms come and go.
Once you start feeling the pain of a kidney stone, it can take anywhere between one to four weeks for the stone to actually pass. In the meantime, the pain can seem sporadic. Here’s why:
“During a bout of kidney stones, the initial pain is typically caused by the stone making its way through your very narrow ureter tube. There can also be pain if the stone lodges itself there and blocks urine flow out of the kidney, which results in pressure buildup and painful swelling,” explains Dr. Kannady.
As your body tries to move the kidney stone through your ureter, some of your pain may also be from the waves of contractions used to force the kidney stone out. The pain may also move as the kidney stone moves along your urinary tract.
“Once the stone makes it to your bladder, the pain might subside to some degree and you may notice urinary symptoms in its place. The final push from your bladder to outside of your body can reignite sharp feelings of pain, as the stone is now passing through another narrow tube called your urethra,” says Dr. Kannady.
How Are Children Treated For Kidney Stones
Most childrens kidney stones can be treated with the shock wave lithotripsy , a completely non-invasive procedure. Your child is placed under anesthesia and sound waves of specific frequencies are focused on the stones to shatter them into fragments small enough to be easily passed during urination.
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Hydration Is Keyboth For Passing And Prevention
Staying hydrated while passing kidney stones is crucial. Kidney stones need to be flushed out of the body, and drinking lots of fluids will help move them along. Water is best , and there are a few liquids that should be avoided while passing a kidney stone.
You should do your best to eliminate alcohol, coffee, tea and soda during this time. Do your best to drink as much water as possible. Dehydrating fluids like alcohol and coffee will not help you pass your kidney stones and may make the pain worse.
Curious about the role alcohol plays in kidney stone prevention? Read our blog
Why You Get Stones
Part of preventing stones is finding out why you get them. Your health care provider will perform tests to find out what is causing this. After finding out why you get stones, your health care provider will give you tips to help stop them from coming back.
Some of the tests he or she may do are listed below.
Medical and Dietary History
Your health care provider will ask questions about your personal and family medical history. He or she may ask if:
- Have you had more than one stone before?
- Has anyone in your family had stones?
- Do you have a medical condition that may increase your chance of having stones, like frequent diarrhea, gout or diabetes?
Knowing your eating habits is also helpful. You may be eating foods that are known to raise the risk of stones. You may also be eating too few foods that protect against stones or not drinking enough fluids.
Understanding your medical, family and dietary history helps your health care provider find out how likely you are to form more stones.
Blood and Urine Tests
When a health care provider sees you for the first time and you have had stones before, he or she may want to see recent X-rays or order a new X-ray. They will do this to see if there are any stones in your urinary tract. Imaging tests may be repeated over time to check for stone growth. You may also need this test if you are having pain, hematuria or recurrent infections.
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Can You Tell If You Passed A Stone
Dr. De cautions people to be careful with the phrase passing a stone. Theres the passing the stone from the kidney to the bladder, which is the painful part, she says. Then theres the bladder out the urethra, which generally doesnt cause pain. Often, people only know they urinated out a stone if they are straining their urine or see it in the toilet. If you have severe pain or severe nausea or vomiting, head to the ER.
You may be given a urine mesh screen or a pee strainer, which you place on top of the toilet seat to collect any material in your urine. Your kidney stone may look like a grain of sand or a piece of gravel. You should keep any stones you collect in a cup with a lid or a plastic bag to keep them safe and dry until you can give them to your doctor for analysis. Your doctor will more than likely give you information on how to reduce your risk of kidney stones like:
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Eating fruits and vegetables with citrate like lemons, limes, oranges and melons.
- Limiting salt.
How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone
The amount of time it can take for you to pass a kidney stone is different from anothers. A stone thats smaller than 4 mm may pass within one to two weeks. A stone thats larger than 4 mm could take about two to three weeks to completely pass.
Once the stone reaches the bladder, it typically passes within a few days, but may take longer, especially in an older man with a large prostate. However, pain may subside even if the stone is still in the ureter, so its important to follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont pass the stone within four to six weeks.
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Take Steps To Bypass Kidney Stones
Even though kidney stones can be common and recur once youve had them, there are simple ways to help prevent them. Here are some strategies that can help:
1. Drink enough water. A 2015 meta-analysis from the National Kidney Foundation found that people who produced 2 to 2.5 liters of urine daily were 50% less likely to develop kidney stones than those who produced less. It takes about 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily to produce that amount.
2. Skip high-oxalate foods. Such foods, which include spinach, beets, and almonds, obviously raise oxalate levels in the body. However, moderate amounts of low-oxalate foods, such as chocolate and berries, are okay.
3. Enjoy some lemons. Citrate, a salt in citric acid, binds to calcium and helps block stone formation. “Studies have shown that drinking ½ cup of lemon juice concentrate diluted in water each day, or the juice of two lemons, can increase urine citrate and likely reduce kidney stone risk,” says Dr. Eisner.
4. Watch the sodium. A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Federal guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams . If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily sodium to 1,500 mg.
Kidney Stone Pain: Firsthand Recollections Of The Experience
Ive never had a kidney stone. I dont know what its like. Thats why I spent hours reading personal experiences to understand kidney stone pain better. Wikipedia told me the basics, and ArsTechnica, StraightDope, and Reddit gave me the personal stories and recollections that created an overall picture of how unpleasant and dreadfully painful kidney stones can be .
Was bad enough that I left the party and went to myoffice and spent a large part of the night rolling backand forth on the floor in my cube debating calling my ex to come get me. Sheended up laughing, then took me to the hospital. I still owe her for helpingme.
It was what I can imagine a knife stuck in my back beingtwisted all around would feel like.
A female nurse told me it’s the worst pain a man canever feel, because a man can’t go through labor. I had mine when I was 25 itlooked like a coffee grain. Before it passed, I literally thought I was goingto die. They gave me a morphine shot right in the vein, and it didn’t do athing. They followed that with Vicodin and I passed out. I woke up a few hourslater feeling just ok.
Someone told me that the pain from a kidney stone isclose to what a woman feels while having a baby. If that is true, I don’t blamethem at all for screaming.
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Is There Any Way To Make Them Pass Faster
The best home remedy to encourage the stone to pass is to drink lots of fluids, especially plain water and citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit. The extra fluid causes you to urinate more, which helps the stone move and keeps it from growing. You should aim for at least 2 to 3 quarts of water per day.
Smaller stones are more likely to pass on their own, so you should take steps to keep the stone from growing. This includes eating a diet thats low in salt, calcium, and protein.
However, you need all of these for your body to function properly, so talk with your doctor about an appropriate diet to help you pass the stone.
Passing a kidney stone can be very painful. Taking pain medication such as ibuprofen wont speed up the process, but it can make you a lot more comfortable while passing the stone. A heating pad can also help.
If you have a fever, significant nausea, or are unable to keep down liquids without vomiting, you should seek medical care.
Likewise, if you have only one kidney or known kidney problems or damage, see a doctor immediately.
An infected kidney stone is a surgical emergency. If you notice any signs of infection, go to the hospital.
Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Many people with kidney stones have no symptoms. However, some people do get symptoms, which may include:
- a gripping pain in the back usually just below the ribs on one side, radiating around to the front and sometimes towards the groin. The pain may be severe enough to cause nausea and vomiting
- blood in the urine
- cloudy or bad smelling urine
- shivers, sweating and fever if the urine becomes infected
- small stones, like gravel, passing out in the urine, often caused by uric acid stones
- an urgent feeling of needing to urinate, due to a stone at the bladder outlet.
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Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented
Rather than having to undergo treatment, it is best to avoid kidney stones in the first place when possible. It can be especially helpful to drink more water since low fluid intake and dehydration are major risk factors for kidney stone formation.
Depending on the cause of the kidney stones and an individual’s medical history, changes in the diet or medications are sometimes recommended to decrease the likelihood of developing further kidney stones. If one has passed a stone, it can be particularly helpful to have it analyzed in a laboratory to determine the precise type of stone so specific prevention measures can be considered.
People who have a tendency to form calcium oxalate kidney stones may be advised to limit their consumption of foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, beets, wheat germ, and peanuts. Also drinking lemon juice or lemonade may be helpful in preventing kidney stones.
Passing Kidney Stones Will Probably Hurt
Passing kidney stones is rumored to be very painful, and each person will have a different experience. Being prepared for the pain and talking with your doctor about it can help to ease your fears. Plus, your doctor may be able to prescribe you a medication such as alpha blockers that can help ease kidney stone pain.
Depending on the size of your kidney stones, some may be more painful to pass than others. Even if your kidney stone is smaller than 5mm and is able to be passed naturally, it will likely cause discomfort in your back, sides and urinary tract. If pain becomes severe, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor.
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Medication For Kidney Stones
For most people with recurrent calcium stones, a combination of drinking enough fluids, avoiding urinary infections, and specific treatment with medications will significantly reduce or stop new stone formation.
Certain medications such as thiazide diuretics or indapamide reduce calcium excretion and decrease the chance of another calcium stone. Potassium citrate or citric juices are used to supplement thiazide treatment and are used by themselves for some conditions where the urine is too acidic.
For people who have a high level of uric acid in their urine, or who make uric acid stones, the medication allopurinol will usually stop the formation of new stones.
How Do I Know If I Have Kidney Stones
If kidney stones are small enough, you might not even know you had kidney stones. They may pass on their own through your urine, and the problem resolves itself.
These are called silent kidney stones, mostly spotted during X-rays in a physical exam.
But there are signs that you may have kidney stones:
- pain on your lower back or sides
- nausea accompanied with the pain
- an intense need to urinate
- frequent need to urinate
- cloudy urine
For men, you might also feel some pain at the end of your penis.
Some of these symptoms are similar to a urinary tract infection . But if you feel any pain or notice unusual symptoms, let your doctor know.
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How To Determine When You Passed A Kidney Stone
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Kidney stonesare formed when there are more of certain chemicals in the urine than fluid to dilute forming a crystal. That crystal tries tomake its way out of your system through the urinary tract. Sadly, the urethrais smaller than the stone, so its a painful process. Symptoms of kidney stones can include intense pain inthe lower abdomen or back, blood in your urine, or a blockage that stops youfrom being able to urinate. If the pain you are feeling resemblesone of the stories above, get to your healthcare provider fast. They can helpwith some of the pain and put a treatment plan together.
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Locating The Kidney Stone
Having a kidney stone pass easily also involves where the location of the mineral buildup is within the renal system. While formation takes place inside the kidneys, the hardened stones can also be found in the ureters the thin tubes that allow urine to pass from the kidneys into the bladder. After moving through the kidneys and ureters, kidney stones can be located inside the bladder, waiting to exit the body.
Research has shown that kidney stones inside the ureter, which are closer to the bladder, have a 79 percent chance of passing on their own. Kidney stones higher up in the ureter only have shown a 48 percent chance of passing without medical treatment.