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My Experience With Kidney Stones

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Pain in My Lower Right Back

My first experience with kidney stones began innocently and painfully in September 2013. At the time, I did not know what was causing the pain I was experiencing.

It all started on a Monday morning after my regular light chore of cleaning the front yard. Sitting down in front of my PC, I felt a tightening in my lower right back, followed by excruciating pain.

I had never felt that kind of pain in that area before. Since I had my regular strenuous workout the previous day, my immediate thought was that the cause must be due to an inflamed nerve or muscle. I tried to lie down on the bed and shift positions in the hope of easing the increasingly unbearable pain.

But it kept getting worse, and in about two minutes, my whole body was drenched in sweat due to my attempt to endure the unbearable pain. I thought about calling 911 for an ambulance, but then I remembered the pain killer, Aleve, which I'd taken to relieve my uncontrollable coughing from my bronchitis sometimes ago.

I struggled to the bathroom cabinet, where I kept the Aleve, and took one 220 mg pill. Miraculously, within a minute, the pain was gone. I could still feel the discomfort when I pressed my hand at the lower right back area. But I was able to move around and go about my routine.

Unfortunately, the debilitating pain rushed back after the effects of the drug wore off in about one and a half hours. So, I took another 220 mg pill and was relieved that the pain went away again. I looked at the label on the Aleve bottle, and I also did some online research, and I learned that the daily limit is 440 mg to avoid stomach bleeding. The pain finally vanished for good at night after I had taken 8x220 mg pills, and I was able to have a good night's sleep.

The next day, I did not have my regular bowel movement. After having a typical lunch, I felt a minor pain was felt in the same area. I took one 250 mg Tylenol pill, which made the pain barely noticeable. That night, while sleep, I felt a minor pain again, but I was able to control it with another Tylenol pill.

The following morning, I needed the help of Fleet to dislodge several dark-colored, clay-like stools that fit the description of the symptom of stomach bleeding. Immediately, I took a 20 mg Pepcid pill to reduce stomach acid, which could aggravate the bleeding and prevent a speedy recovery. I could still feel minor pain, but I no longer needed the Tylenol to bear it anymore.

On the morning of the fourth day, my bowel movements returned to normal with soft brownish stool. More importantly, I no longer had any pain in my lower right back. I concluded that Aleve had done the job. The pill not only blocked the excruciating pain, but its anti-inflammatory effect also cured my inflamed nerve.

Eight Months Later, the Pain Returned

After eight months of normalcy, the pain returned one afternoon on a warm, humid day. I had just finished my regular strenuous activity and was somewhat dehydrated under the hot sun. Not long after lunch, I had a rare bout of diarrhea with dry stool instead of the usual soft type. Almost at that exact moment, I felt the same pain in my lower right back. But the pain was more bearable, as I needed to take only Tylenol for relief.

I noticed another difference between what I was experiencing now versus what I had experienced eight months prior—and that was a tightening sensation at the end of my urination. The good thing was that the urine’s color was standard: light brown and clear. Immediately, I researched online and concluded my right kidney might have been infected due to dehydration. The pain could be attributed to the kidney. To relieve the coming and going pain, I needed to take one 250 mg Tylenol pill every four hours. Rest and plenty of liquid were in order.

For the next three days, the condition did not get worse or better. However, one complication had arisen—constipation, as I had no bowel movements since my diarrhea three days ago. I still had my regular meals, and my stomach felt like it was bulging, but I felt no unusual and long-lasting discomfort. I took milk of magnesia with no effect, detecting not a slight movement in my colon. Online research revealed that Tylenol could cause constipation, and that dehydration could cause a blockage in the colon.

Sensing the severity of my condition, I decided to check into the emergency room.

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I Went to the ER

At the ER, I told the doctor about my possible kidney infection and colon blockage. Blood and urine tests, as well as a CT scan, were performed right away. Two hours later, the results showed that my colon was fine and the lower right back pain was due to a kidney stone in the tube leading from the kidney to the bladder.

The good news was that the stone was not big and was very close to the bladder. The doctor told me that if I drank plenty of water for one more day, the stone should be flushed into the bladder and the pain would be gone. I was given hydrocodone for pain relief and sent home.

Note About My ER Experience

Even with the medical insurance, my four-hour ER visit costs around $1,500. But I was happy with the prompt, efficient, and professional services I received. The ER was not chaotic like on TV, though there was certainly a constant flow of patients. Even in the dead of night, all the necessary tests and diagnoses were available and performed without the long wait I would have probably encountered at my primary physician’s office.

At Home Again

The next day, after 12 hours of constant water consumption resulting in having to urinate every 15 minutes, the pain was suddenly gone. In the meantime, I started to take the maximum allowed dosage of milk of magnesia. Three hours later, my bowel movements began to work, emptying close to four days of waste in watery brownish liquid.

The Pain Returned

I had my first good night’s sleep. But I was awoken in the early morning with the same lower right back pain. I reasoned that it must be a second kidney stone.

So, I started the same regimen of heavy water intake. The pain at one time was unbearable, so I had to take an Aleve pill. To my great relief, the pain was gone suddenly after more than 10 hours of hydration. Fortunately, that seemed to be the last kidney stone in my system—and I have not had any pain to this day.

Follow-Up Appointment

Two days after my ER visit, after reviewing my blood and urine test results, my primary physician made an appointment for me to see a urologist due to the high creatinine count in the blood, indicating possible kidney disease.

At the urologist's office, a new round of blood and urine tests, as well as X-rays were performed. The results were all good—no more kidney stones for now, and the creatinine level had dropped to normal.

The urologist and I agreed that since both kidney stone episodes occurred after strenuous exercises and dehydration, the fluid inside the kidney became concentrated and caused the mineral-forming substances to combine into sizable stones. I needed to drink more water while engaging in heavy outdoor activities.

For the past 30 years, I have trained my body not to intake any liquid during exercise while consuming a lot of liquid before and afterward. This routine helped me to maintain minimum body fats and induced a great sensation as the thirst was relieved. My aging body is telling me that it is time to make a significant change.

Learn More About Kidney Stones

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

OLDNAVY on July 23, 2014:

Wow. Glad you're OK. Looks like lots of water will do the trick. Great article.

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