- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How to Deal With Kidney Stones
The Start Of It All
I am a healthy 18 year old male. The last thing that I would ever expect having would be a kidney stone. I have heard of older people experiencing trouble with kidney stones, but not young people like myself.
I had just gone to a hotel with my family. My family was on April vacation and we had reserved a hotel to get away for a little while. The hotel was beautiful and there was a swimming pool. I had not exercised for a while and I swam rather vigorously that day.
We went home that night because I had school the next day. Everything was going fine until I started experiencing incredible pain.
I had been sitting out on my porch doing some homework when I felt some general discomfort in my back. I would describe the pain as a throbbing pain that did not go away. It felt like the pain was attached to me and it did not ease up whatsoever.
Over the next half an hour, the pain significantly increased. It got to the point where I could not sit down. I was confused and I thought that I may had done something to myself while I was swimming. I was using a lot of muscles that I was not used to using. However, the pain that I was experiencing was a pain that I was not familiar with. It felt like there was something inside my lower back that was pressed against a nerve. The pain was excruciating and I was starting to panic. The thought crossed my mind that I may have appendicitis. However, I did not have a fever which is an indicator of appendicitis. I used a hot water bottle to ease the pain and then went to sleep. I woke up the next day and the pain was gone.
I woke up the next morning seemingly better. I felt no discomfort in my lower back and I thought that It had been a muscle spasm. I went to the bathroom and immediately felt pain. The pain was extreme pressure in my lower right abdomen. The pain was substantial and was mixed with some burning pain. The painful urination persisted all throughout the day.
I knew that there was something wrong with me but I was not sure what it was. The thought of kidney stones came to mind but I did not think that I was old enough to have them. I thought that I may have a urinary tract infection or appendicitis. I did not have many symptoms of appendicitis, but I thought that it was more probable than kidney stones.
The painful urination persisted for around a week. After a week I experienced the unbelievable pain in my lower back again. After this had happened, I knew that i had to go see the doctor.
How do Kidney Stones Form?
Kidney stones can be formed in several ways. They are composed of minerals that have solidified inside of the kidneys. Kidney stones can be a result of drinking too much soda or tea. They can also result from not being hydrated enough. Dehydration keeps the urine concentrated which can lead to the development of the stones. There are four kinds of kidney stones.
The first kind of kidney stone is a calcium stone. This is the most common type of kidney stone and is separated into two categories, calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones. Calcium oxalate is the more common form that is created when there is a high amount of calcium and oxalate excretion. This causes the calcium and oxalate to form into a kidney stone. Calcium phosphate stones are created when there is a high excretion of calcium and the urine is very alkaline. This means that it has a low pH.
The second kind of kidney stone is a uric acid stone. This kind of stone is produced when the urine remains acidic for an extended amount of time. This usually occurs when a person's diet consists of high amounts of purines. Purines can be found in many kinds of meat and seafood.
The third kind of kidney stone is a struvite stone. This kind of stone is created when the person has a kidney infection.
The final kind of kidney stone is a cystine stone and it is created by a genetic disorder. The disorder causes cystine to enter the urine and form stones.
I was very eager to see what the doctor had to say. I waited around two weeks to go to the doctor, which was probably not a good idea, and I was in a lot of pain. I arrived at the doctor's office and they took my vitals. My vitals were perfectly normal. They asked me questions about the location of my pain and my level of discomfort. After the questions, the doctor put some pressure on my stomach to see if it hurt more when she pushed in or released her hand. This is a test that they do when appendicitis is suspected. Normally, when you have appendicitis, it hurts more releasing then pushing in. It hurt more pushing in so that was a good indicator that I was not experiencing appendicitis. The doctor then hit different parts of my back and one spot hurt extremely bad. She said that she strongly believed that it was a kidney stone.
They ordered a urine test and immediately discovered blood in my urine. It was a very small amount but they sent the urine to the lab to be cultured. The culture came back and there was no bacteria in my urine. This ruled out any kind of bacterial infection that could have been taking place. They then ordered a CT scan.
Passing the Stone
It was around 3 weeks after the onset of the symptoms that I was scheduled to get a CT scan. They wanted to have a CT scan administered to be absolutely sure that it was a kidney stone and to make sure that the stone was not obstructing my ureter. They also wanted to make sure that I was not developing a kidney infection.
It was the day before the CT scan at 1:00 in the morning. I had just finished studying for final exams when I had to go to the bathroom. As soon as I started urinating, I passed the stone. The feeling was one of the weirdest feelings that I have ever experienced. It felt like a rocket was being shot out of me. The pain was burning but it did not last very long. I think that it came out rather immediately because i had drank a lot of water that night and my urine output was strong.
I retrieved the stone and put it in a plastic bag. It is important to keep the stone after you pass it so that the doctor can determine what it is composed of. This will allow your doctor to propose a prevention strategy to avoid further stones. Once you get a kidney stone you are more apt to get one in the future. So if you pass a kidney stone, do not flush the toilet!
Kidney Stone Treatment
Water, water, water, and more water. Water is crucial when your are attempting to pass a kidney stone. Water hydrates the body and allows the kidney stone to move through your system more effectively. Kidney stones that are less than five millimeters can be passed without medical intervention. Stones that are larger may need to be removed medically. When a stone is already formed, you are more likely to develop other stones. Staying hydrated allows your body to dilute your urine so that the mineral content is not as high. This means that you will be less likely to develop another stone.
When drinking water, I added slices of lemon. The acidity of the lemon is known to help break down the stones so that they are easier, and less painful, to pass. The lemon also makes the water taste better which is a plus. I drank distilled water to make sure that I was not getting any unneeded mineral content from the water.
Exercise can help to move the stone along. I would walk 30 minutes, daily, from my house to the bus stop and back. I would walk briskly enough to work up a sweat. I believe that this and the drinking of water helped to lessen the pain when passing the kidney stone.
I am scheduled to have another appointment in a little over a week. The doctor will examine the kidney stone to see what it is made of. They will then give me suggestions to prevent the re-occurrence of further kidney stones. Have any of you guys had kidney stones? Were your experiences anything like mine? Leave comments and answer the polls below!