OT - Passing a kidney stone

Submitted by Zarniwoop on May 18th, 2017 at 11:25 AM

I'm going to be passing a 5mm stone that's currently stuck in my ureter within the next few days. Looking for veterans that can tell me what to expect.

Is it worst in the ureter or the urethra?

Outside of the pain meds, is there anything I can do to make it more bearable?

Any other suggestions. I ended up in the ER last night because of the excruciating pain of having it taversing my ureter. Not looking forward to more of this.

Yes, I know this isn't a medical board. But, I'm utterly miserable with pain and this is my online "home" so to speak. There's something comforting about seeing the layout when you're in agony.



May 18th, 2017 at 1:27 PM ^

I truly believe that this thread is one of those "Only On MGoBlog" moments, so well done to the OP and on the serious side, hopefully things begin to improve and you pass the stone soon enough. 

Somewhere, someone is lamenting OT season, I am sure, but you can't deny that you learned something here.

The Oracle

May 18th, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

I had a kidney stone about 25 years ago. I woke up in the middle of the night with a searing pain in my side which I thought was appendicitis. I was sweating and soon threw up. I was living alone in a shitty apartment at the time and my car was in the shop, so I had to take a cab to the hospital. After a few tests, they diagnosed the problem, shot me up with some Demerol (wow...the only time I've ever taken an opioid) and I ended up a little out of it, lying on a gurney.

While I was lying there, a little gay guy (not that there's anything wrong with it) who I thought was a nurse walked up to me and in an apologetic tone told me he had to do something, at which point he stuck his finger up my ass and then quickly left. I eventually began to feel better and went home a few hours later. I painlessly passed the stone the next day. Years later, I had a girlfriend who was an ER nurse. She told me the ass probing was nothing she'd ever heard of as being done in those situations.

The Oracle

May 18th, 2017 at 11:38 PM ^

Meh...I was in so much pain it didn't really matter, and I didn't think much about it until years later. I'm holding on to the idea that maybe it was some kind of experimental treatment.


May 18th, 2017 at 1:45 PM ^

1. Stop drinking sweetened drinks

2. Start taking Vit C. and Magnesium (chelated forms are best).  There are studies out there that show they dissolve kidney stones and other calcium deposits.


May 18th, 2017 at 1:57 PM ^

...and certainly no replacement for actual medical advice, I'd concur that compared to multiple back/neck surgeries and jaw reconstruction, this was worse. Came up fast, and spent most of the night in the bathroom dry heaving from pain, sweating from pain, questioning the sanity of not going to ER. There were occasional periods if brief respite followed by a surging pain that my father and brother-in-law had warned me of. Amazingly, the moment it passed, it was over, and didn't even feel it through the part of the route you think might be the worst. For our genetics, we were advised to keep hydrated, and keep an eye on all of the products that boast "added calcium", which none of us were actively selecting, but it became noticeable how many food, vitamins and beverages make that boast. For all of us, we have been stone-free for 15 to 20 years (God forgive me for even typing that), but certainly can't suggest that it's the same for you...only highlighting that sometimes simply keeping an eye out for what you pick off the shelf can make a huge impact, even for something otherwise obscure (until you experience it.) Best of luck, and like others, check with doc and the sooner it's out the better.

Tully Mars

May 18th, 2017 at 2:49 PM ^

A good friend of mine (Tim Hall, PhD) leads a really innovative group in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan that is developing significant improvements to Lithotripsy to help make the stone passing easier.  Leaders and Best to help future patients through this painful process! Here's a few links to their publications.  You can also read a story about the general technology, which is being pursued by a large group of Michigan researchers, here or here.  They are all great scientists and great people personally.  You may eventually receive the benefits from the company they founded.



May 18th, 2017 at 2:33 PM ^

I've had 4 and they are awful.  What was worse in my case was that I had hyperparathyroidism, a condition that was causing my body to pull too much calcium from my bones and dump it into my vascular and urinary systems.  Upshot:  lots of kidney stones, and if left unchecked, could have led to brittle bones/osteoporosis.  It's also conceivable it was causing some damage to my heart (too much calcium in your blood = not great for your heart).


So, it might be worth it to look up hyperparathyroidism....it's somewhat rare, but if you're tired a lot and producing multiple stones in a year or two, I'd ask your medical professionals to check it out.  It would involve:

- having your blood calcium level checked via blood test (done in most annual physicals)

- having your Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) level checked via blood test (not typically done in most blood work-ups)

- having your urinary calcium level checked via a 24-hour collection test/kit


Good luck.  And don't take too much ibuprofen, because if you get to the point of excruciating pain, I'd like to endorse what someone else said about Toradol -- it was magic stuff for me.




May 18th, 2017 at 3:15 PM ^

Thanks for the suggestion.  I have been tested for hyperparathyroidism twice and this is not my problem, but  it is worth checking for those with repeated kidney stone episodes.  

I have also have had five Litholink 24 hour urine collections and analysis while efforts continued to modify my urine chemistry to reduce stone formation.  These tests confirmed I have hyperoxaluria (excess oxalate in the urine).  

I agree that Toradol is very effective for kidney stone pain or other urinary tract pain.  This was also the pain killer favored when I had a recent prostatectomy.  However, if you have impaired kidney function, Toradol is contraindicated because it may contribute to renal failure.  


May 18th, 2017 at 2:39 PM ^

Toradol is your friend.  If you haven't gotten your urologist to get you a prescription for Toradol yet, then do it.  Now.

Toradol is like Advil (Ibuprofin) on steroids.  It is especially effective at taking away pain from kidney stones.  It is the ONLY thing that takes away pain for me from kidney stones.  Morphine doesn't even touch mine. 

You don't want to take it for more than about a week because it can be really bad on your stomach, but hopefully by that time you will have passed the stone.  In the meantime, hopefuly, taking the Toradol as needed will eliminate most of the pain for you.

As someone upthread mentioned, there are 3 points where stones really tend to hurt, and then it is mostly smooth sailing.  The part where you would think it would be horrible (the part where it actually comes out) is a walk in the park). 

Kidney stones are the only thing in my life that have ever hurt so much that I vomited due to pain.  (That's happened twice.  Fun stuff). 


May 18th, 2017 at 2:55 PM ^

I've had them use laser on me before. That was insane as i woke up and pissed blood and stones for over a month. Had to piss into a screen. The one I had last week was big and I could actually feel it stuck inside my penis. No joke here. It was the size of a BB and under the bottom of the penis u could feel it. So cranberry juice always helps pass it along. So I drank a whole gallon type of cranberry juice and just waited to piss. Once I had to go real bad I basically held it in with my hand a bit and waited, then I released my penis and yes the stone shot out and sat there at the bottom of the toilet. I've had stones about 5 times in my life and there the moist painful thing ever.


May 18th, 2017 at 3:03 PM ^

I had one about 8 years ago. Cause was likely biotin supplements. I started having discomfort on a Friday, and passed the stone on the following Monday. It felt like I had a really bad bladder infection and nothing my doctor gave me was giving me relief (she thought it was a bladder infection). On Monday, I sat in a hot bath because that helped a little, and then half an hour later, I passed it with little fanfare. Suddenly, the symptoms were gone. I don't know if the male and female experiences are different regarding pain, but childbirth was way worse for me.


Don't stay thirsty, my friend. Drink a ton of water. 


May 18th, 2017 at 3:45 PM ^

I have passed two. But my experience is probably different from most.

Both of mine were 5 mm. Both of them caused me no pain except for one 5 second period here I was doubled over, during the first one. The rest of the time it basically felt like I had an itch I couldn't scratch for two weeks. I passed both of them into the little strainer that the doctor gave me.

Both times though the stone got lodged in the ureter in the middle of my penis right at the end of a pee stream. The stone remained lodged there both times until the next time I had to pee and then it immediately shot right out.

During those couple hours when it remained lodged in the middle of my penis, it caused me no pain. The ureter is quite stretchy. It just felt like a little lump on the bottom side of my penis.

In fact, for the second one it got stuck there in the morning right before I went golfing. So it remained stuck there for a couple hours while I played nine holes. It really didn't bother me though I was only mildly aware that it was there while I was playing when I'd squat to look down a putt. I drank a couple Bloody Mary's though so that probably helped!


May 18th, 2017 at 5:32 PM ^

The second one was soo much pain I passed out, as luck would have it I was in the hospital. I I was sitting in a chair begging for pain meds after they got my IV in. Delauded was what let me loosen my grip on the chair I was in. I got so relaxed I passed the stone and pissed it out the next day.

The most painful part for me was getting the stone to pass between my bladder and kidney. As for pain I can tell you the only thing I can compare that to was this nerve near a tooth that went up the side of my face to the top of my head that went berserk every in between season like between winter and spring  summer and fall this went on for years until I ran into the right Dr. who precribed me Neurontin It was gone and only came back once or twice after that.

Thereason I say that is I have had my hip replaced 4 x's on the rt side and my thigh bone was shattered trying to get the stem out which obviously should have never been removed. I know pain very well and my kidney stones have got to be in my top 2 maybe 3. All 3 of my stones were equally painful I just for what ever reason passed out on the second one, I think because they thought I was in there looking for a free high and they let me sit. My wife said when they heard me quit moaning and close my wide open eyes is when they strolled over and finally gave me something for pain ...Bless their hearts. So on a scale of one to ten I give kidney stones an 11.

Toby Flenderson

May 18th, 2017 at 6:19 PM ^

For my 21st birthday this year I passed a 6mm kidney stone. The pain does live up to the hype but you can do it. Remember for future. Drink water and stay hydrated. Having one kidney stone means you are more suspecible to them in the future. 


May 18th, 2017 at 6:57 PM ^

A neighbor drank at once a litre of diet coke, and a Bayer. Said the acid in the coke made the stone rounder and eased the pain. Best wishes to your nightmare.


May 18th, 2017 at 8:25 PM ^

Veteran of 4 stones myself. As soon as I feel symptoms in the kidney (like a backache that won't respond to changing position, massaging the area, or anything else) I start drinking lots of homemade lemonade with aloe juice/gel. The aloe performs the same lubricating function as olive oil and tastes more innocuous. Unfortunately, the pain isn't always in the same place - during one attack I went to the ER thinking it was appendicitis because it felt like the pain was deep inside the abdomen; but that's where the front of the kidney is located.

When I feel the pain coming on, I make sure to get home so I can take oxycodone/hydrocodone to stop it. You want to manage the pain before it's too severe; if you wait too long you may have to go to the ER for big guns like dilaudid or morphine or fentanyl.

I've never had pain last for more than 18-24 hours - even so, withdrawal from the opioids is nasty. Once the stone passes from the kidney into the bladder, there are no more symptoms and I eventually just piss it out - except for the last one, which managed to grow in the bladder until it was too large to pass from the bladder into the urethra, requiring a litholapaxy (transpenile robotic stone crushing). Thankfully that included general anesthetic.

Hang in there.



May 18th, 2017 at 8:45 PM ^

Now this is what I want you all to do:
If you got faults, defects or shortcomings
You know, like arthritis, rheumatism or migraines
Whatever part of your body it is
I want you to lay it on your radio, let the vibes flow through
Funk not only moves, it can re-move, dig?
The desired effect is what you get
When you improve your interplanetary funksmanship......

Durham Blue

May 18th, 2017 at 10:01 PM ^

It's a muthafucka ain't it?  I passed one and thought I was in hell.  Luckily it went quickly.  I'll never forget the lower back and hip pain, cold sweats, nausea, nearly passing out from the pain, etc.  Sorry, man.  It really sucks but it'll get better.

M and M Boys

May 19th, 2017 at 11:22 AM ^

I have an appointment in 1 1`/2 hours with my Urologist to determine next steps since I have not been able to pass a 8 MM stone in the last month taking many of the meds listed above.........

And, memories aside, thanks for all the helpful advice..................