Passing a kidney stone ranks among the most excruciatingly painful experiences possible, according to people who have gone through the ordeal. Even if you’ve never had one before, it’s an easy statement to believe, since a kidney stone is effectively a small rock moving through your urinary tract.
Our team at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina has seen the debilitating pain kidney stones cause firsthand. Not all kidney stones require specialized treatment, but that doesn’t make them any less painful when you’re waiting for them to pass. And this can take weeks or months to happen.
If you have a kidney stone or want to be ready if one ever develops, these tips can help you through the process.
It’s hard to ignore the pain that comes with a kidney stone. These symptoms typically strike suddenly and severely, often on one side of the back. It’s also common to have nausea and vomiting.
However, it’s also typical for kidney stone pain to come and go over the first few hours and even seem to improve within a few days. Because of this, people often assume the problem has passed and wait to seek medical attention.
Instead, our team recommends seeing a specialist as soon as you experience kidney stone symptoms, such as:
The sooner you get medical attention, the faster we can determine the size and location of your stone and whether infection is present.
A kidney stone’s size is a major factor in whether it will pass on its own. Generally speaking, those 4 millimeters or less pass without intervention 80% of the time. However, it can take 31 days on average for them to pass.
If we determine your stone is likely to pass on its own, it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids to keep the stone moving and increase urine production so you urinate more often. This also keeps the stone from growing any larger.
For best results, we recommend drinking at least 2-3 quarts of water and citrus juices each day. If you have difficulty keeping liquids down because of vomiting or nausea, seek medical care immediately.
Kidney stones form when minerals stick together in your kidneys and crystallize into hard little rocks. Because of that, you want to avoid certain foods while passing your stone to keep it from getting any larger.
In most cases, this involves eating a diet low in calcium, salt, and protein. However, we can provide detailed recommendations based on your assessment and kidney stone history.
You should also strain your urine at home when trying to pass the stone so we can analyze it and confirm its mineral makeup.
While pain medications won’t make the stone pass any faster, they can make you more comfortable during the process. Other kidney stone medications might include calcium channel blockers or alpha-blockers that can help relax the ureter.
In addition to medications, a heating pad can also ease kidney stone symptoms, and it’s safe to use in combination with other medical treatments.
If your kidney stone isn’t passing as expected, or if your symptoms worsen, contact us at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina as soon as possible.
While many kidney stones can pass on their own, some require nonsurgical or surgical intervention, such as:
It’s also common for people with kidney stones to become dehydrated and require intravenous fluids. So staying in close contact with your doctor plays a crucial role in getting through a kidney stone.
Do you have a kidney stone? Don’t wait to schedule an assessment with one of our compassionate providers.
Contact our Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina office in Wilmington or Southport, North Carolina, to schedule an appointment by calling or booking online today.