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What Causes Kidney Stone Pain

Medication For Kidney Stones

Kidney Stones: Causes of Excruciating Pain (Dramatic Health)

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.

What Causes Kidney Stones

Waste products in the blood can occasionally form crystals that collect inside the kidneys.

Over time, the crystals may build up to form a hard stone-like lump.

This is more likely to happen if you:

  • do not drink enough fluids
  • are taking;some types of;medication
  • have;a medical condition;that raises the levels of certain substances in your urine

After a kidney stone has formed, your body will try to pass it out when you pee.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Kidney Stones

While kidney stones tend to affect men more often than women, they can affect anyone. In saying that, there are certain factors that can potentially increase your chances of kidney stones these include not drinking enough fluids or taking certain medications.

The risk of kidney stones can also increase because of the following:

  • Family or personal history
  • Following a certain diet such as high-protein, salt, and sugar
  • Obesity

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What Kidney Stone Pain Feels Like And Where Youll Feel It

Not all kidney stone pain is the same. For example, the location of pain can change as the stone moves from the kidney to the bladder, says Lieske. When a stone is moving into the ureter, people may feel pain in their flank, or side, or their back, he says.

Notably, if the stone is stuck where the kidney connects to the ureter, the pain can be severe, says Ralph V. Clayman, MD, a professor in the department of urology at the University of California in Irvine. On a scale of 1 to 10, pain can be a 10, he says.; There is no position in which the person is comfortable.

This type of pain has a tendency to come and go in 10- to 30-minute cycles. It can also radiate to the groin area and the front of the thigh, he adds.

Once the stone has moved down to the part of the ureter closer to the bladder, a person tends to have pain in the abdomen or groin, says Lieske. Men sometimes feel pain at the tip of their penis.

As the stone moves down the ureter, it can also mimic the pain of other conditions, says Clayman. For example, if the kidney stone is on the right side of the body, it may feel like appendicitis, or inflammation of the appendix. If the stone is on the left side, people may mistake the pain for diverticulitis, inflammation, or an infection within the small or large intestine, he says.

Fortunately, from this point, the stone can usually pass from the bladder out the urethra, which is typically twice the diameter of the ureter, says Clayman.

Whos Most Likely To Get Kidney Stones What Are The Risk Factors

Kidney Stone

White men in their 30s and 40s are most likely to get kidney stones. However, anyone can develop kidney stones.

There are several risk factors for developing kidney stones. These include:

  • Not drinking enough liquids.
  • Having a diet that includes the substances that form the stones .
  • Having a family history of kidney stones.
  • Having a blockage in your urinary tract.

Certain medical conditions can also increase your risk of developing stones. This is because they may increase or decrease levels of the substances that make up a kidney stone. These conditions can include:

  • Hypercalciuria .

Certain foods can also place you at risk of a kidney stone. These foods include:

  • Meats and poultry .
  • Sodium .
  • Sugars .

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Symptoms Of Kidney Stones

Small kidney stones may;go undetected and be passed out painlessly in the urine.;But it’s fairly common for a stone to block part of the urinary system, such as the:

  • ureter the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder
  • urethra the tube urine passes through on its way out of the body

A blockage can cause severe pain in the abdomen or groin and sometimes causes a urinary tract infection;.

Read more about the symptoms of kidney stones.

How To Get Relief From Kidney Stone Pain

When pain does occur, it can be so severe that many patients have to go to the closest emergency room to seek immediate treatment. ;Often a single dose of pain medication given by an ER doctor is enough to alleviate the pain for a prolonged period of time, allowing the stone to pass, says Lieske.

While narcotic pain medications can be carefully given for this purpose, studies suggest that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs milder pain medications with fewer side effects can be as effective. A review of 36 clinical trials that compared NSAIDs with stronger pain medications for kidney stone pain relief found that NSAIDs were equivalent when it came to pain reduction and led to fewer side effects. 30977-6/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”>7)

Tamsulosin is also widely used to help relax the muscles of the ureter, increasing the chance of passing the stone and helping reduce symptoms of pain, Bechis notes. However, new evidence suggests this medication may not add as much benefit as previously thought, he adds. A study published in July 2015 in the;Lancet found that tamsulosin didnt help stones pass. 60933-3/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”>8)

How long does kidney stone pain last? It depends on how long it takes to pass the stone.

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What Is The Treatment For Stones That Do Not Pass On Their Own

Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses shock waves to break a kidney stone into smaller pieces that can be more easily expelled from the body. The device used for this procedure is called a Lithotripter. Kidney stones can also be removed surgically. A percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure in which a kidney stone is removed via a small incision in the skin. A kidney stone may also be removed with a ureteroscope, an instrument that is advanced up through the urethra and bladder to the ureter.

Why Are Kidney Stones So Painful

What Types of Pain Do Kidney Stones Cause?

If youre questioning whether youve ever passed a kidney stone, chances are, you havent. While occasionally a kidney stone will present with only;mild discomfort, most people describe the pain as excruciating. Some women claim its worse than childbirth.

Why is that?

A kidney stone is a solid mass made up of tiny crystals. One or more stones can be in the kidney or the ureter at the same time. Its not the stone sneaking down the ureter as much as it is the blocking, Robert Rechtin MD, of Group Health, explains. The stones are irregularly shaped, so as theyre moving down the ureter, the ability of the urine to flow by it varies, so if its partially blocked or completely blocked off, the pain is excruciating.

In contrast, if the urine can go right by the stone and get into the bladder, theres minimal pain, which means the severity of the pain could vary from hour to hour.

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Kidney Stones And Pain

Kidney stone pain can be excruciating. Individuals who have never had a stone may be suffering from a great deal of discomfort without knowing why. In reality, kidney stones are generally silent until they begin to pass. A stone that grows to 3 millimeters or larger can block the ureter as it moves from the kidney to the bladder. This movement can cause unbearable pain, usually in the lower back, right / left flank, or groin. ;Kidney stone pain can be intermittent or ongoing.

Why Passing A Kidney Stone Can Be So Painful

Think of the urinary tract system as your bodys plumbing system, explains Timothy F. Lesser, MD, a urologist at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. The kidney makes urine, which spills into the ureter, a tiny tube that transports the urine from the kidney down to the bladder. The bladder fills, then empties. “‘Passing a stone’ a stone;traveling from the kidney;down to the bladder, and traversing the length of the ureter, he says. The stone leaves the urinary tract through the urethra, the tube that transports urine outside the body from the bladder.

A stone passing;is;so painful because the;kidney;itself is exquisitely sensitive, explains Dr. Lesser. When a stone blocks the flow of urine through the urinary tract, backed-up urine can put pressure on the kidney, resulting in pain.

It is thought that the kidney itself does not have nerves with classical pain fibers, says John C. Lieske, MD, a consultant in the division of nephrology and hypertension at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.;But the tissue surrounding the kidney called the capsule does contain nerve fibers that transmit pain.;Backed-up urine swells and expands the capsule, he says.

This swelling activates those nerve fibers, causing signals that are interpreted by the brain as an intense, visceral pain, says Prakash N. Maniam, MD, a urologist at the Medical Specialty Group at;Poinciana;in Kissimmee, Florida.;

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Symptoms Of A Kidney Stone

Small stones move into the bladder and out of the body with minimal symptoms.

Larger stones, though, can become lodged in the ureter, block urine flow and cause sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, and blood in your urine. Symptoms may also include burning urination, nausea, and fever. Fever could indicate a serious infection, a reason to call to your doctor immediately.

The location of your pain signals the location of your kidney stone:

How Common Are Kidney Stones

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

Each year, more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. It is estimated that one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives.

The prevalence of kidney stones in the United States increased from 3.8% in the late 1970s to 8.8% in the late 2000s. The prevalence of kidney stones was 10% during 20132014. The risk of kidney stones is about 11% in men and 9% in women. Other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity may increase the risk for kidney stones.

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How Long Does It Take A Kidney Stone To Form

You can have kidney stones for years without knowing theyre there. As long as these stones stay in place within your kidney, you wont feel anything. Pain from a kidney stone typically starts when it moves out of your kidney. Sometimes, a stone can form more quickly within a few months.

Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors. They might do a 24-hour urine test to check how quickly you develop stones.

Diagram With Kidney Cross

The kidneys filter the blood and remove excess water and waste chemicals to produce urine. Urine travels from each kidney down the tube draining urine from the kidney into the bladder. This is called the urinary tract.

Many waste chemicals are dissolved in the urine. The chemicals sometimes form tiny crystals in the urine which clump together to form a small stone. Most kidney stones are small and pass out with the urine. Some stones become stuck in a kidney or in the ureter.

In most cases, there is no known reason why a stone is formed. Most stones are made of calcium. However, in most cases, the amount of calcium and other chemicals in the urine and blood is normal.

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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.

Are There Any Foods Or Drinks That Help Treat Kidney Stones Are There Any Home Remedies

Why do stents cause some kidney stone patients pain?

There are three liquids rumored to help with kidney stones:

  • Cranberry juice. Although cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections , it doesnt help with kidney stones.
  • Apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and it can sometimes create changes to your urine, which helps with kidney stones. But, this doesnt always help. Talk to your healthcare provider about the use of vinegar.
  • Lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in citrate, which can help prevent kidney stones from forming. Citrates are found in several citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and melons.
  • Coffee. Studies show that coffee may decrease your risk of developing kidney stones.

Avoid soda and other drinks with added sugar or fructose corn syrup. They increase your risk.

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Are Certain People Predisposed To Developing Kidney Stones

Dr. Rechtin says there is no known genetic factor, but kidney stones do tend to run in families.

Also, those who have had gastric bypass surgery tend to excrete more urinary oxalate because these patients tend to absorb less calcium from their gastrointestinal tract, which may put them at an increased risk for having oxalate stones.

Kidney Stone Causes Symptoms Treatments & Prevention

Your kidneys remove waste and fluid from your blood to make urine. Sometimes, when you have too much of certain wastes and not enough fluid in your blood, these wastes can build up and stick together in your kidneys. These clumps of waste are called kidney stones.

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Where Do Kidney Stones Come From

Kidney stones form develop when certain substances, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, become concentrated enough to form crystals in your kidneys. The crystals grow larger into “stones.” About 80% to 85% of kidney stones are made of calcium. The rest are uric acid stones, which form in people with low urine pH levels.

After stones form in the kidneys, they can dislodge and pass down the ureter, blocking the flow of urine. The result is periods of severe pain, including flank pain , sometimes with blood in the urine, nausea, and vomiting. As the stones pass down the ureter toward the bladder, they may cause frequent urination, bladder pressure, or pain in the groin.

“If you experience any of these symptoms, see your primary care physician,” says Dr. Eisner. “He or she will likely perform a urinalysis and a renal ultrasound, abdominal x-ray, or CT scan to confirm kidney stones are the source of your pain and determine their size and number.”

Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones

Find Kidney Pain Every Day For Your Information ...

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.

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Other Ways To Prevent Kidney Stones:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to produce enough urine and to dilute the concentration of acid.
  • Follow a diet low in oxalate, which is present in certain foods like spinach as well as vitamin C supplements.
  • Take certain medications like potassium citrate that help break down and remove the material that is causing the stone.

Do Some Medicines Make Kidney Stones More Likely

Taking certain medicines can make you more prone to making kidney stones. Examples include:

  • Some chemotherapy medicines for cancer;
  • Some medicines used to treat HIV

However, many people safely take these medicines without developing kidney stones. If you think that a medicine you are taking is the cause of your kidney stone, you should not stop taking the medicine but discuss it with your doctor.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

  • Do I have a kidney stone or is there another reason for my symptoms?
  • What type of kidney stone do I have?
  • What size is my kidney stone?
  • Where is my kidney stone located?
  • How many kidney stones do I have?
  • Do I need treatment or will I be able to pass the kidney stone?
  • Should I be tested for kidney disease?
  • What changes should I make to my diet?
  • What type of procedure should I have to get rid of the stones?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Kidney stones can be frustrating at best and agonizingly painful at the worst. To stop your situation from getting worse, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The pain can get severe, and surgery might be necessary. Remember: dont skip your prescriptions, drink lots of water and follow any dietary guidelines. Also, remember that kidney stones are a temporary condition. They wont bother you forever.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2021.

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