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How to Cope With Kidney Stones

There are few pains (if any) that come close to the pain experienced with a kidney stone. If you've been unlucky enough to be diagnosed with this condition, then you understand that finding relief while your little stone moves seems inconceivable. Pacing, crawling, curling up in a fetal position, nothing helps. Here are a few methods that may help make your situation more tolerable.


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    Drink fluids. The National Institute of Health recommends that a person suffering from a kidney stones should drink 2 to 3 quarts of water a day.[1] If you're feeling nauseous, try taking small sips as often as you can. This will help flush your kidneys as well as encourage that little mass to move.
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    Apply heat. Get a heating pad and place on the side(s) experiencing pain. Additionally, you can try getting into a hot shower, allowing the water to spray onto the afflicted area. These provide temporary relief, as they are methods of distraction for your body.
    • The heat allows your mind and body to focus on an additional stimulus, taking the full focus off the kidney pain. The heat not only distracts the mind but also relaxes the tender, swollen muscles around the kidney. This allows some of the muscle tension to ease up, thus making it easier for the stone to work its way down.
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    Look over the counter. Advil or another medication containing Ibuprofen will help with the inflammation caused by the stone (and can be used in addition to narcotics prescribed by your doctor).[2][3] However, these cannot be taken if you are pregnant.
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    Rely on loved ones. Have someone rub your back or press their hand or fist firmly into the painful kidney. Laying flat on your stomach with a pillow under your pelvis might help. Do not be afraid to ask for help. This will also give your loved one a sense of being useful. Though you are experiencing extraordinary pain, your family and friends are experiencing the pain of not being able to do anything to help you.
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    Cry out or scream. There is no shame in vocalizing your pain. Most grown men who have experienced kidney stones will tell you there is no worse pain, and some women even place the pain above childbirth. Letting your frustrations out does not make you a wimp in this situation!


  • Remember, the pain occurs when the flow of urine is being blocked by the stone - not when it is moving. If you are feeling extreme pain, drink more water. If this doesn't help, seek professional help.
  • Limit or completely eliminate diuretics such as black tea, coffee and soft drinks. These will only cause the body to become dehydrated. Drinking only water and fruit juices is the safe way to go.
  • If you are pregnant and have a kidney stone, always seek medical attention. You will be checked to make sure the baby is not suffering in any way, and will be given medication to help alleviate the pain.
  • Sitting on the toilet during a kidney stone passing is not the best position. It may help to get on your knees in your bathtub and lean forward a little bit, so that the flow is straight down instead of at an angle like that of sitting on the toilet. This change of position can be the least painful way to pass a stone. Sure, you have more cleaning to do, but it may be substantially much less painful for you.
  • Drinking alcohol is never a good idea for helping to flush a kidney stone. Because alcohol is a sugary diuretic, this will cause you to urinate more often, thereby becoming dehydrated. The high sugar contents of liquors also increase the risk of developing an infection.
  • Kidney stones formed of Calcium oxalate are usually the result of eating high-oxalate foods, such as chocolate, berries (including cranberries), dark leafy greens (such as spinach) and wheat or bran foods.[2][4] If you consume these foods on a regular basis, there is a chance that you have an oxalate stone. Do not drink any berry juices or take Vitamin C supplements! Eating or drinking foods that have Vitamin C occurring naturally is fine. Apple and orange juices are fine, but stay away from cranberry juice. A kidney stone is not like a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and cranberry juice might do more harm than good.
  • If you have intense pain, a fever and nausea, go straight to an emergency room. Don't be afraid to seek professional help!


  • Some kidney stones will never pass or an infection might set in. If your stone does not pass within a reasonable period of time or you experience fever or chills, seek professional help.
  • The best cure for this condition is through lifestyle changes. See the external links and visit the NIH article on Prevention for more information.

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Categories: Urinary Health