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Large kidney stone with flank pain

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Hello everyone,

I'm going to try to make this story as short as I can, despite the fact that a lot of detail would normally go into it.

For nearly 3 years, I experienced fatigue, painful urination (dysuria) and trouble emptying the bladder - in many cases, I would have to go use the restroom every 20-30 minutes and use extra force to "finish" the process. So, a year ago, I went to a urologist and without any hesitation, he recommended a cystoscopy. The results showed "nothing," and the urologist essentially claimed it must have all been "in my head."

So, after urination troubles persisted, I fired the urologist (since I knew I wasn't "making things up") and hired a nutritional expert who suspected I had come across a candida infection. She recommended a good doctor, who ended up running some very basic tests, and yep - sure enough, I had a nasty Candida (yeast / fungal) infection. She recommended a strict diet and 3 months of nystatin, which did help the process and resulted in me losing about 40 "bad pounds." However, the fatigue and painful urination never fully went away.

Off and on for about 9 months, I noticed random flares of pain toward the lower, left side of my abdomen (which I believe is known as "flank pain"). 3 months ago (around Thanksgiving time), I started noticing a constant dull ache in this area - for about a week straight, the ache would not leave. It wasn't absolutely unbearable by any means, but it is just irritating and painful enough to mess with my day to day quality of life. So, in December I decided it was time to go see the doctor once more.

Sure enough (you probably guessed it!) - kidney stones. The doctor originally assumed I had already passed them, because a large amount of blood has showed up in my urine tests. However, a CT scan (one week later) revealed a 7mm by 14mm calculus lodged in my left kidney! The rather pathetic part about all this is that I ended up having to call the doctor to receive these test results, and after getting no further than to the "assistant" (who didn't understand the results and apparently wasn't "qualified" to explain them to us) ended up having to do my own research about this discovery.

I now know that a 7mm by 14mm is a VERY large stone and couldn't possibly pass without surgery or shock wave therapy, etc. I was able to make an appointment with one of the "better" urologists in my area, but the earliest I could get in was February 12 (1 week from today). However, I've had some rather annoying flare-ups lately and I'm starting to worry that maybe something else is wrong and I shouldn't be waiting this long...

Two weekends ago, I experienced the flank pain for about 36 hours straight (with a couple hours in between where the pain would subside and then start right back up again), and it was as strong as ever. What's so weird about all this is that by Sunday, the pain was essentially gone and I felt absolutely fine. But then starting this past Tuesday, that same pain is back and I've been enduring strong flares of it for 4 days now (i.e. even as I write this now, my left side hurts).

Usually, whenever these 2-4 day flare-ups that "come and go" are in the middle of running their course, at some point I notice the dark yellowish- brownish urine (i.e. BLOOD). After paying close attention to the "areas of pain" these past couple days, I think this achy pain may actually be a little lower than the kidneys - ureter and bladder potentially. Then again it may be those AND the kidneys as well, it's difficult for me to determine.

And this ("this" referring to the last 2 paragraphs) is what I do not understand at all. If this stone is really THIS big - 7 by 14 mm - why on earth am I suffering through these ridiculous aches in my kidney, ureter, bladder, or whatever? If this giant stone is lodged in my kidney, and can't move to the ureter on its own, can it really cause this kind of discomfort?

I was originally under the impression that the stone wasn't "going anywhere" and there was no immediate hurry to see a specialist. Now I'm running on the longest period (4 days) of "flare-up" city in the left abdomen and I think I'm starting to feel a much weaker version of the same pain in my right kidney (which did not have any stones show up in the CT scan). So I'm not sure if (1.) I'm imagining things in the right kidney, (2.) if the left kidney problems are enough of a reason to seek professional help ASAP or (3.) there are serious problems all around... and I still need to seek medical help NOW instead of waiting.

I'm just asking for general advice, as I obviously don't expect anyone here to be able to tell exactly what's wrong with me without running some advanced tests. I was thinking someone here may have had similar experiences to some extent or another.

Please tell me anything you can. Thank you in advance.

General information not included in explanation above ---
Sex: Male
Age: 23
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replied February 7th, 2010
Community Volunteer
Hi Ace_22,

Based on what you have shared, you need a body scan to see and locate any further stones that could be present in your body. That would entail dye injection intrveineously. If you suffer in the future, please go to the ER.

Good Luck,

Faded Rose
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replied May 31st, 2010
Ace, I've had 2 huge stones. Five years ago I had an 18mm stone. Now I have a 13 mm one. I'm having the second one taking care off June 16. Write me. I'll tell you all about it.
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replied June 5th, 2010
Overall following symptoms can be seen among people suffering from kidney stone with the following results-
1. Colicky pain or loin to grain pain which is considered to be the severest pain compared to the labor pains. This is caused towards lower back.
2. Vomiting or Nausea
3. Blood comes in the urine because of the minor damage caused to the inner walls of kidney, ureter and/or urethra. In medical terms this condition is known as Hematuria.
4. Formation of pus in the urine, this condition is also known as Pyuria
5. Dysuria i.e. there is a burning sensation when stones are passed though it is very rare.
6. Oliguria i.e. volume of urine gets reduced because of the obstruction of the bladder or urethra by stone, and in rare cases blockage of both ureters by stone.
7. Postrenal azotemia i.e. when the urine flow is blocked through a ureter.
8. Hydronephrosis i.e. this is a situation of enlargement of renal pelvis and calyces.

Ways to diagnose kidney stones:
When there is a pain during urination, there are all chances that you are having stones in kidney. A stone is comparatively very large in size and causes extreme pain as it makes the way from the kidney through ureter during urination. This pain is felt towards the side just at the lower part of the ribs and radiates downwards towards the groin.

Blood tests to find out the quantity of calcium and uric acid can also help in determining whether these compounds are responsible for the formation of kidney stones. Urine samples are also gathered for 24 hour period to check the components that can increase likelihood for the stones formation. Computed Tomography (CT) scan is also the definite method to diagnose stones in kidney. It is only suggested when kidney stone is highly suspected.

It is also suggested to take an ultra sound image but it is almost impossible for it to detect stones of smaller size, almost making it harder to detect it if is already inside the bladder or ureter. Another test performed is intravenous pyelography. In this test, a contrast dye is injected into the arm and series of X rays are taken as the dye passes through the body. This test is much older but can be of great use for locating the stone and to what extent stone is creating blockage of urine. One such way is KUB x-ray involving low volume of electromagnetic energy to form picture of the kidney-ureter-bladder area. The x ray can show exact areas where kidney stones can be found.
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