Kidney stone...what to do (need answers fast-ish).

Do I need to go to the hospital? What would they do? Isn’t it a matter of just handling the pain? Are there things I can do on my own to help relieve the pain and pass the stone quicker? Should I increase my water intake? Avoid certain foods? Anything?

Go see a doctor immediatley. I don’t know if your condition makes a stone a bigger problem, but why risk it? And they’ll give you painkillers, which you may need pass that stone sooner, and other medication you may need. And if you haven’t been to a doctor you don’t know that you have a kidney stone, so get to one now. I thought I had a stone a few years ago, but it was worse than that, and I went into renal failure. Go see a doctor now.

Oh, I have no doubt this is a stone. And everything I’ve read regarding treatment says that the only medical treatment is necessary when one can’t pass the stone on their own. That treatment comes in the form of electrical currents being put through the stone in order to break it up into smaller pieces so that it can pass. But it’s Saturday and my only option would be the E.R. I am not experiencing any other symptoms than pain. Can’t I just try to pass this on my own before going to the hospital?

They may use extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsyto break it up if they can. But without an ultrasound you don’t know if it’s stone or something else. I’m sure doctors would also recommend waiting some period of time, at least 24 hours before medical treatment is necessary if you can stand the pain. If you’re passing blood you might need anti-biotics. I shouldn’t be so reactionary about this, but I look forward to a life on dialysis some day if I’m not lucky enough to die first.

As long as you’ve done your Google homework, there’s no reason to go all the way to the ER for something as minor as acute abdominal pain. Just throw back a few shots of whiskey and find something manly to bite down on, like a belt or maybe a cowboy hat.


Assuming a pre-existing diagnosis of kidney stones without history of complications like hydronephrosis or infection, basic advice for a recurrent attack is to drink LOTS of fluid, and take what analgesics you have on hand in proper doses.

Reasons to seek medical care include intractable pain, fever, chills, sweats, passing of blood clots in the urine, or failure of symptoms to resolve or improve within 72 hours.

Things that can be done in the ER include checking the urine for evidence of a stone or infection, doing a quick IVP or CT scan to see if there is hydronephrosis or multiple stones or some other diagnosis entirely, give stronger analgesics (like toradol or possibly an opioid), give doses of meds like tamsulosin to relax the ureter and help the stone to pass, do a cystoscopy to manually remove the stone and/or place a stent to keep the ureter open. Lithotripsy generally isn’t done on an urgent or emergent basis.

I’ve had lots of patients tell me they had a stone recurrence, and they were right. But I’ve also had a lot of patients tell me they had a stone recurrence and they actually had something else, so I hope you’re really sure of your diagnosis.

Good luck!

Drink lots and lots of water to flush it out.

I’m voting go the hospital. Here’s a hint for you. Do you have a good part of town and and a “bad part” so to speak? Go to the ER in the best part of town even if it is a much futher drive. Though this is probably only a good idea if someone else will drive you. You’ll still probably end up getting seen sooner. Also the ER on a Saturday night can often be rather enlightening and or entertaing.

Seriously, go to the ER. I know it’s a financial hit, but the pain is going to become unbearable, if it hasn’t already. Urgent care clinics and regular doctor’s offices usually don’t handle kidney stones, in my experience.

ETA: Also, having a kidney stone has gotten me bumped way ahead in line when I’ve gone into the ER.

Agreed. Usually I’m the one that refuses to be treated for stuff that I’m pretty sure is minor, but this could be potentially dangerous. It could be large stone that requires surgery. It could be something else. If it’s a simple kidney stone that you can pass, then the ER docs will send you home in short order. Let the professionals handle it.

And they’ll also send you home with pain killers. Which you will be willing to kill for at that point.

I would go to the ER, if I were you. A kidney stone was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. The pain didn’t come and go in waves, it just got worse and worse until I wished for death. They insisted on doing an x-ray (and even offered to do an MRI, which I declined), which was stupid because I had micro-droplets of blood in my urine and the other hallmarks incl. unflagging flank pain and nausea/vomiting.

The pain probably will get worse, and eventually cause you extreme nausea, making it impossible to drive. And you’ll wish you were dead. So go now before you have to call an ambulance, because ambulance rides are expensive. Plus if you go to the hospital, they’ll send you home with a little strainer to pee through. You can bring back the stone once you pass it, and they can analyze it to figure out what kind of stones you get.

Does your doctor have a 24-hour phone line for emergencies? If so, maybe try to call it? They can make a referral for you to go to the ER if it’s necessary, which might help you for insurance purposes.

Not an MD like the good doctor above, but as semi-regular victim ( every 2-4 years for the last ~15 ) of small kidney stones that I’ve never had difficulty passing, this is exactly my approach. Also the reason I try to keep a few vicodin or the equivalent around in case they pop up.

But if you don’t have strong painkillers on hand, it might be worth the trip just to deal with the agony.

Well I checked and there was an urgent care clinic right down the road from my place. I went in and the place was empty so I was seen right away (lucky!!).

They took a urine sample and it came back totally clean. The doctor came in, and after talking to me and going over my meds and medical history, and making some cursory physical exams of the areas in question, diagnosed me with a “badly pulled muscle”. :confused:

I have to admit I was greatly surprised. I had never felt a pulled muscle like this before. However, this doc was convinced my kidneys were ok. He gave me a script for some muscle relaxers, advised me to rest and ice the area; and that was it.

After the weekend I will still contact my regular doctor, just to be sure. I think blood tests are probably not a bad idea, if the pain doesn’t subside with ice and rest.

Glad things checked out relatively well for you.

I had low back pain once so sharp and localized that I was half-convinced it was a kidney stone (and though I’ve diagnosed hundreds of them, I’d never had one.) So I saw my doc, and was quickly reassured, after a urine check, that it was indeed muscular.

Glad to hear it isn’t a stone. :slight_smile:

FWIW, if you ever do have a stone, drink a beer or two.

There are a couple potentially mitigating factors in my life that led me to being highly suspicious of kidney stones. For one; I am currently training and dieting for a bodybuilding competition and it entails a very high-protein, low-carbohydrate and reduced calorie diet. Increased protein puts additional stress on the kidneys.

Also, there are some medications I take that put strain on the kidneys as well. Most notable is Topamax; which is anti-seizure medication that is prescribed to me “off-label” as part of a multi-med migraine prevention regimen. One of the potential side effects of it is kidney stones. Now I’ve been on it for a few years, so normally it wouldn’t be an issue, but now that I’m on my diet, who knows? Maybe it was affecting me now?

So the fact that I was doing this diet and taking these medicines and then getting sudden, sharp, immobilizing pains in the area of one of my kidneys made me logically think I had developed a stone.

My mind tends to bolt to the worst possible outcome whenever possible, so I am often relieved. This was no exception. :smiley:

This. I’ve done it about 18 times now. The pain **will **increase beyond the abilities of pills to handle. You will need IV painkillers, and will sacrifice your children and cats to get them at some point.