You wake up at 2:00 am in the morning with an excruciating pain twisting and ripping in and throughout your abdomen; a pain so severe it’s hard for you to think straight and function. You start to sit up to get out of bed, but the pain is overwhelming, enveloping; and you wonder if you can safely get to an emergency room if someone is with you or even reach for your phone to call an ambulance if you live alone.
The above scenario could be an indication that the pain you are experiencing is caused by a kidney stone. However, that may not be the situation at all but severe abdominal pain that lasts for any length of time should be addressed by a visit to a qualified physician.
What Exactly Is a Kidney Stone?
A kidney stone can develop when certain minerals and chemicals, which include calcium and uric acid, build up in your blood stream to an unhealthy level. With your body unable to properly dispose of this excess of minerals and chemicals, these substances begin to adhere to one another, forming a very hard substance that has become known as a kidney stone.
What Does the Pain From A Kidney Stone Feel Like?
Most often, the formation process occurs in the kidney itself, with the pain beginning once this hardened particle starts to move around in the kidney or makes its way into the urinary tract. The pain you will feel from a kidney stone can have a variety of interpretations; it may seem to be emanating from your stomach, inside the lateral walls of your abdomen or feel like the pain is in your lower back.
Make no mistake about it; the pain is excruciating with such a sudden onset that it can blast into you creating shock wave of panic and you’ll feel like you are dying.
So please just remember this; even if it is not a kidney stone, the odds are heavily in your favor you will stay alive for a while longer and be home within 48 hours.
What Medical Tests Are Done to Identify And Find a Kidney Stone?
The diagnostic path to confirm the presence of a kidney stone as the cause of the pain you are experiencing is one based on deductive reasoning and, as you are the one feeling the pain, might seem to you to be a very slow process. Please be assured that once you meet with a physician you will almost always be given a painkiller.
The idea is that you let that kick and then the road away from panic is a little easier to get on.
The initial testing consisting of having you pee through a strainer to see if any, very small, very tiny, particles that can be visually identified, a blood test to ascertain the levels of calcium and uric acid, a standard x-ray of the abdominal cavity; might you leave with the idea that the doctor has no idea what he or she is doing. However, these tests are necessary to obtain information to understand the true source of your pain. Now, all of these can be negative, yet, they do not positively rule out a kidney stone.
To add a little note here, regarding your mental and emotional state, these tests are necessary as a doctor must understand exactly what is going on inside your body and your symptoms must be thoroughly understood for a proper diagnoses and then chosen form of treatment. There exist serious medical conditions that can ‘Mimic’ the symptoms and pain of a kidney stone as you read below.
A specific CAT Scan, Computerized Axial Tomography, a procedure that has the source of the x-rays emitted from a moving source that revolves around the body continually ‘Shooting,’ can reveal more detail with all of the different angles of the focal point. However, a small kidney stone is difficult to see in an x-ray even when the x-ray is ‘Read’ by a seasoned radiologist.
Various intravenous urography procedures, which require an introduction of a dye to enhance the value of a CAT scan, which tracks a dye agent as it moves through the path of the bloodstream, into the kidney, and then into the bladder and out through the urethra.
The bottom line is a kidney stone is not easy to diagnose even with today’s advancements in technology. If you do end up in an emergency room, work to understand the physician is going to go through a specific path to understand the cause of your pain and the proper way to treat it. If you seek to understand what is going on and why, you have a better opportunity to remain calm even though a part of you might be screaming, “What is wrong with me? Am I going to die?”
What Can Mimic the Pain of a Kidney Stone?
The pain of a kidney stone is excruciating for most people, however, there are other medical conditions that can initially be thought to be caused by a kidney stone.
One of the most common is gas, or a severe build up of flatulence, in the lower colon. In other words, you need to have the burp of a lifetime or a massive fart that will be heard out in the parking lot. It sounds funny, and it is once this happens and the pain is gone and you realize you are going to be okay, but it has been the basis of many episodes of medical drama television shows and was even referenced in an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘
A few other medical issues that will cause severe pain leading you to think you might have a kidney stone are; gallstones, a solid intestinal blockage, a blood clot and also appendicitis.
All of the above situations do require medical intervention. Therefore, if you are experiencing severe abdominal pain for any length of time, you want to get yourself to a medical professional as soon as reasonably possible.
What Is Required to Safely and Quickly Remove a Kidney?
You may have to wait. Even with a painkiller and being in a hospital, this is a scary situation. Just work at keeping it together and you’ll get through it.
What Do I Do If I Think I Have A Kidney Stone?
The keyword is; ‘Think.’
Even if it is kidney stone, keep telling yourself the pain is only temporary, most often only a few hours, or, on a few occasions a day or two. In an emergency room or hospital, they will give you a painkiller once they have questioned you thoroughly regarding the specific aspects of how this pain ‘Feels,’ and a little prodding and pressure to identify exactly where the pain is coming from.
Once the kidney stone is removed you’ll receive information on what preventive measures you can do to avoid repeating this experience.
Again, let me emphasize the aspect of remaining calm despite an event of this type that can have a blast of pain so powerful you might find yourself on your knees, unable to walk; but, you will get through it and return to your home and return to your life.
The reality of this situation is that it does happen all the time, but the overwhelming and enveloping pain is not to be looked at in a dismissive manner. Just toss somewhere in the back of your mind the statement, ‘I can get through this,’ and you will; just like so many before you.