Patients often describe the pain associated with kidney stones as, "The worst pain I've ever had."
Kidney stones cause severe pain when they drop into the ureter (the narrow duct that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder) and block urine from draining into the bladder. This is known as renal colic.
Controlling pain and symptoms
We work to get your pain and nausea under control as quickly as possible. Pain can usually be treated at home, although in some cases, medications must be administered by IV (intravenously) in the emergency room. The most severe cases of pain require hospitalization and surgery.
Your doctor will determine the best pain medication for you. The following are common medications to relieve pain and nausea.
- Morphine-based medications (narcotics) are usually the most effective for pain control. Depending on the situation, they may be taken orally (by mouth) or by IV.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (aspirin-like drugs such as ibuprofen) may also be suggested by your doctor. In addition to relieving pain, they may also decrease the spasms of the smooth muscle of the ureter.
- Anti-emetics - Renal colic is often accompanied by tremendous nausea and vomiting. In addition to IV fluids for rehydration, oral or IV anti-nausea drugs provide relief of symptoms.