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How to survive a kidney stone

Updated on November 16, 2012

Kidney Stone

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Surviving a kidney stone

Instead of opening with a clever statement, let me just say that I truly sympathize with you. First of all, in no way shape or form am I a Doctor. I can say, however, that I am a true veteran when it comes to kidney stones. If you didn't already know, once you have a kidney stone you will more than likely have the misfortune of experiencing them again. So let's start with "What is a kidney stone". The dictionary describes it as such; Kidney stone, a noun: A hard mass formed in the kidneys, typically consisting of insoluble calcium compounds. Wonderful, a hard mass? More like a mass of piercing glass shards if you ask me! If you have not had the pleasure of seeing one up close let me paint you a picture. They kind of look like tiny pieces of the old Rock Candy that we used to eat as kids. But please don't eat it! LOL. Not only does if form itself in your kidneys, when it is ready to leave the nest so to speak, it packs it's bags and friends if available and travels down the long skinny road that is your ureter until it reaches its final destination. I will let you fill in that blank.

Instead of going into details of the different types of kidney stones, let's go ahead and talk about dealing with the matter (or mass) at hand. After all, relief from the pain caused by the kidney stone is always the first thing on my list.

If you haven't already seen your doctor, do it! This is very important, especially if this is your first one. Your doctor will be able to run tests and take x-rays to determine the size of the stone and tell you if it is even possible to pass it on your own at home. Not what you want to hear i know. The pain surrounding a kidney stone can be so intense that it can also cause nausea and vomiting. I mean who wants to deal with that at home for 2-4 weeks (which is how long it can sometimes take to pass it on your own). Having said that, your doctor will also be able to prescribe you something to help ease the pain and even something that may help dissolve the stone. In addition to pain meds, I was also prescribed Flomax which helps open the ureter wall so the stone can pass more quickly. That really helped me.

So you got sent home with all your goodies to pass the stone on your own. Problem solved right? I think not. In my experience of 20+ stones, I have learned some tricks along the way. I hope they will help you too.

The most important thing that I can tell you is to STAY HYDRATED!! I mean it. You wanna get this thing out right? The more water you drink, the more you are gonna pee. The more you pee, the faster you are gonna push this thing out. Period! Not drinking enough water in the first place is one of the biggest causes of kidney stones. Not taking in enough water to flush out the excess waste in our system allows the acids and minerals to accumulate and "crystallize" in our kidneys. I'm sure you have heard the old joke about "Don't eat the yellow snow". Truth be told, you are in a bit a trouble or at least dehydrated if your urine is yellow. Our urine should be mostly clear.

The good thing for us is that everyone these days is going green and almost always carrying around their own fancy water bottles with either their initials on it or some trendy little logo. So no excuses! Just be sure to get the BPA free or stainless steel canteens to avoid harmful chemicals. As adults we should be consuming between a 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.

Now this one might sound crazy, but I swear it works. While watching the clock and praying that the stone will hurry up and pass, our tendency is to lay around in bed or on the couch just waiting in agony. Trust me, I understand that the prescribed medication does make you drowsy. But take advantage of the relief that you are getting from the meds and get up and move around. Do some jumping jacks, walk around the house or your yard. Anything, just get moving. The more you move the more likely that gravity will work in your favor to get that stone moving as well.

A lot of folks claim that drinking orange juice or lemon juice will help to break down the stone. I never noticed a difference, but hey, it's worth a shot.

Is the pain medicine not providing enough relief from the discomfort? Try a hot bath or try using a heating pad. The heating pad will not only help you relax it will also relax the muscles that surround your kidney and your ureter to help open the ureter so the stone can pass more freely.

Another important part of this process is capturing the stone as it exits your body. My husband and I call it Panning for Gold!!! LOL Your doctor may provide you with a special filter, but if not I have a great alternative for you. Coffee Filters!!!! And you may have heard that before, so did I in my early research. But no one ever really told me how to use them without making a huge mess everywhere. Gross! So what I did first was take a coffee filter and place it in a small colander and then just "let it go" so to speak. Well, it worked. But there was a lot of splashing and sometimes the coffee filter would start to break apart etc. I now have it down to a science. I first "relieve" myself into a very tall glass cup. Then I slowly poor the liquid into the colander containing the coffee filter. Yes it is an extra step, but it is a very efficient step.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Valarie Volume

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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Kidneys tones are very painful I did no experience this problem my husband did a while back I watched him painfully. Great suggestions here.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      Kidney stones sound like torture, but thanks for writing about them and how to deal with it all. Welcome to HubPages and keep writing!