What Happens When You Get a Kidney Stone

On its own, a kidney stone actually sounds kind of cool. The stone itself begins as a tiny piece of crystal in the kidney. This crystal is often a small mass of salt and minerals, and they can range from the size of a barely-visible speck to a ping pong ball-shaped monstrosity (ouch). The longer the crystal stays in the kidney, the larger it will get.

People pass kidney stones all the time; smaller stones are insignificant and almost unnoticeable. However, larger stones (I’m still shuddering at the idea of that ping pong ball) become stuck in the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. These are called ureters. This is where the pain begins; the stone creates what most medical sites call “discomfort” (if “discomfort” feels like the worst pain imaginable, then sure), blocking urine from flowing out of the body. In around a half hour, the pain intensifies. As soon as the kidney stone is assed, the pain goes away. However, larger stones will likely require some type of medical treatment, such as alpha blockers.

After a kidney stone, you have an increased risk of developing a urinary tract infection, and it may make that UTI even worse. Additionally, though people with healthy kidneys are often completely fine after passing the stone, the experience may cause complications for those with only a single kidney or an impaired immune system.


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