CHN Health Matters
Imagine lying in bed enjoying a night’s rest and suddenly being woken by a terrific pain on one side of the back that radiates to the abdomen and groin. There is a stone that formed in the kidney and it has shifted and started a journey down the small tube from the kidney to the bladder. The pain is coming in waves and makes you sick to your stomach to the point of vomiting.
No matter what position you are in or even if you lay perfectly still the pain won’t stop. You feel like you have to urinate often and the urine is tinged with blood. Your urinary tract is trying to force this hunk of minerals that feels like a ball of barbed wire down to the bladder. If you are lucky the stone completes its journey to the bladder and there is relief. You may see the stone after it passes and will marvel at how something the size of a rice kernel can cause so much pain. If you are not so lucky you may end up at the emergency room for help.
In 2009, there were about 1.3 million (3,600 per day) emergency room visits for kidney stones in the United States. About 1 in 11 people will experience a kidney stone sometime in their life. Stones tend to be more common in men, Caucasians, and obese people but can occur in anyone. Kidney stone pain tends to be acute and severe so the emergency room is commonly where kidney stone patients are seen.