The intense, excruciating pain of passing a kidney stone is something you will never forget. Often starting with lower back pain, your body’s attempt of passing a stone can escalate to an unbearable level of pain until you seek help.
Despite the insufferable agony, the pain is temporary.
Developing or passing a kidney stone generally does not cause long-term or permanent damage and the majority of kidney stones will pass on their own with few if any, complications.
However, occasionally for some people, just because the stone has passed and the pain is gone, always check with your doctor making sure there is no stone left behind and untreated. That is when you could develop long-term kidney damage and possibly, lose a kidney.
It’s also important to be aware that having one kidney stone increases your risk of developing another. If this happens multiple times, this can also lead to an elevated risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a gradual loss of kidney functioning. However, undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can progress more rapidly, leading to the loss of functioning in one or both kidneys, which is called kidney failure. Kidney failure patients are treated either with kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Another possible scenario is when a large stone can result in complications. Sometimes, a large kidney stone may get trapped, causing a blockage in the urinary tract system. The main area where larger kidney stones can get stuck is the ureter, a small duct carrying urine from the kidney to the bladder. Larger stones can get stuck in either the bladder or the urethra. The bladder is a pouch-like organ that expands and contracts storing urine until ready to be eliminated from the body. At the same time, the urethra is a tube that allows urine to flow from the bladder and out of the body during urination.
Any blockages caused by a kidney stone in the ureter, bladder, or urethra can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) that may cause kidney damage. While it’s rare, a blockage in the ureter could cause kidney failure or even death. Anyone with these blockages must see their doctor right away, as surgery is often the best solution in breaking up or removing to-large-to-pass naturally kidney stones.
The good news is that most patients pass kidney stones with few problems. However, even after a small stone has passed, always follow up with your doctor for a thorough check-up to eliminate any doubt you’ve passed the stone(s).
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.