6mm kidney stone

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My hubby has been in severe pain for about 12 days now.  It reached the point in the middle of Wednesday night where I called the paramedics who took him straight to A&E.  They controlled the pain with a suppository and carried out a CT scan which revealed a 6mm stone stuck in the ureter.  They transferred him to the Surgical Assessment Unit where he was expected to see a urologist.  After hours of waiting he was taken to a cardiology appointment that had previously been arranged as an emergency at an adjoining private hospital.(recent routine pacemaker check had shown that he was suffering from irregular heartbeats (Atrial Fibrillation).  The urologist had arrived in the department when hubby was just about to be wheeled off but he was told the urologist would see him when he returned.  However, when we returned to the Unit the urologist had left and we were told that it had been decided to discharge hubby with painkillers saying they expected him to pass the stone.  Said they will send an appointment for 4 weeks time, the usual procedure being that if stone is still there they would intervene to resolve it.  

?Can anyone tell me if this is normal procedure to leave someone in pain for so long.  He has several other serious health problems going on and I am concerned about the side effects of all the pain killing meds they have prescribed.

?Importantly, has anyone got any tips from their experience for encouraging the stone to pass on its own, please?

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  • Posted

    I have had three kidney stones that required hospitalization and have never been treated like that.  I was always given enough pain meds (oral or IV) to have some impact.  I’m some cases I was sent home to try to pass the stone although it never worked for me.  In other cases they scheduled lithotripsy right there and then.  Your story does not sound typical to me.  However there seem to be some extenuating circumstances with the pacemaker and irregular heartbeat.  A 6mm Stone is good size and it is not at all certain it will pass naturally but everyone is different.

    One thing to do is drink a lot of water, at least 1 gallon per day.  This never helped me personally but has helped others.  A drug called Flomax has also helped others.  There are plenty of crack pot cures out there as well like mixing asparagus with Coca-Cola, standing on your head, and other non effective ideas.  But when you have a stone I suppose you are willing to try anything regardless of how outlandish it seems.  

    Heating pads applied to lower back can help the pain.

    Good luck!!!

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    • Posted

      Jane, thank you for your helpful advice - I have an electric heat pad so we will try that.  He awoke in the night in pain and took two Buscopan and they do seem to give him some relief as, so far today, he has been more comfortable if a little inflamed-feeling which is obviously to be expected.   The “standing on your head” cure made me chuckle - wrong way to help it drop me thinks!  Anyway, thanks again for taking the trouble to reply.
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  • Posted

    I agree this is certainly not "standard" procedure at all. I've probably had five or six visits to emergency rooms, and only in two of those instances did they send me home with meds to try and pass it on my own (both times the stone was under 3mm). But even in those cases, I was instructed to return within 48 hours or "when the pain was no longer bearable." Jane's suggestion is certainly the most sound-- drinking as much water as your husband can possibly take in to try and pass the stone. But I would also consider going to another hospital or facility if that's at all a realistic alternative for you. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thank you, Martin.  Good idea to consider an alternative hospital if no change in the next day or two.  Or even a private appointment directly with a urologist.   
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    • Posted

      Mrs. O -- Jane mentioned Flomax earlier, and I forgot to reinforce that in my earlier reply. My unscientific understanding of the med is that it helps open (widen?) the ureter to assist with certain stones being able to pass. A stone the size of your husband's might still be too big, but one never knows. It's yet another line of defense to have. I've been on it for a year now and am crossing fingers it might help.  Again, best of luck. 

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    • Posted

      Martin, I’ve just looked up Flomax and see that another name for it is Tamsulosin.  Interestingly, hubby was prescribed that for a short while a few years ago when he had some waterworks problems following radiation to his prostate.  It makes sense that the way it worked for him then was to widen the ureter to enable easier flow of urine so it follows that, as you suggest, it may also allow a stone to pass through.   He said he remembers one doctor saying he shouldn’t take it  as he was on blood pressure medication but I’ve looked up the contraindications and his BP medication isn’t mentioned.  He said he might seek advice from his oncologist if things haven’t improved in the next couple of days.  Brilliant thought of your’s and Jane’s - many thanks again, and continuing good luck wishes 

      for you with the Flomax..

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    • Posted

      Flomax does really “widen”.  It’s more accurate to say “soften” or maybe “smoothen”, which in theory allows the stone to move easier.

       As a male I must say that Flomax has notably unwanted effects in the eh’hem department.  However when you have a kidney stone there is no thought of eh’hem so no harm I suppose.  smile

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    • Posted

      Many thanks for the clarification.

      My husband would certainly concur with the remarks in your last paragraph - they do say that the pain of a kidney stone is worse than that of childbirth so I really do empathise with you poor souls!  He's had a good night, so fingers tightly crossed.

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  • Posted

    Hi there. I think that’s awful. A stone of 4mm has an 80% chance of passing and a 5mm has only 20% chance - so a 6mm would be a lot less likely and very painful I would say. I had two 9mm stuck together and mine were lasered. I have had two separate incidents and I was stented both times. The stent helped because it pushed the stones back up into the kidney. 

    I would go back and insist on more help. A stent might help until they can laser it. 

    I’m just speaking from my own experience- I’m not a doctor obviously! 

    Hope he gets some relief soon. My best pain medication was Voltarol suppositories. They literally saved my life I would say. 

    Good luck.  

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    • Posted

      Angela, thank you for your helpful reply.  Although I am a kidney patient myself, I haven’t got any experience with kidney stones but seeing my hubby with intermittent periods of such pain makes me really sympathise with those of you who suffer from kidney stones.   He has Diclofenac suppositories which I gather is Voltarol and, yes, they do relieve his pain but he was told at the hospital not to use them too often.  He also has prostate cancer (5 years now) and it has recently become more aggressive with a couple of spots on his lungs so, what with that, the recent diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation and a hernia op at the end of the month, he could certainly do without the stone).  Been fit and healthy all his life but I guess Anno Domini is catching up!  Again, thank you for taking the time to reply - I’m so grateful to all of you who have done so.
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  • Posted

    Oh my goodness me!

    This brings back memories of me for the whole of last year.

    Diagnosed with multiple kidney stones in January 2017 by a urologist who referred me to another urologist.

    Second urologist agreed to operate but wanted me to have a flexible cystoscopy first. I went for this appointment but it was unable to be performed due to urethral stenosis. So the second urologist then referred me to another urologist who I actually never saw because he only saw private patients!! I was then referred to another urologist in Cheltenham. Yes you've guessed it right, he then referred me to another urologist in Bristol!! Fortunately this was the end of the road and the urologist in Bristol operated at beginning of December 2017.!

    Within that year I ended up at A and E several times because of the pain..

    Each time they just sent me home.

    Because I live in Wales I had to get funding from my local health board to be treated in England.

    I have now been for a follow up appointment with the urologist in Bristol and there is no sign of any more stones, he is not expecting me to have any more trouble and completely discharged me.

    What a shame you do not live nearer Bristol or I would send you straight to him.

    You could try Robinson's Lemon Barley Water. Someone recommended it to me and it helped soothe the pain and discomfort.

    Do keep in touch.

    Sarah

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    • Posted

      Sarah, I don't think I replied to your earlier message.  I'm so sorry, and I'm also sorry to hear what you went through during 2017 - whatever is it with urologists?!!  Thank you for the tip about Robinson's Lemon Barley Water - in fact, my hubby has been having lots of water with slices of lemon it.  Don't know where the stone is at this point in time but at least he has been out of pain for the last few days.  Ultrasound next week so might throw some more light on it.  So glad to hear that all is well with you now and long may it stay like that.  Say hello to Wales for me - I was born in Ebbw Vale many moons ago!   Good luck!

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  • Posted

    "Can anyone tell me if this is normal procedure to leave someone in pain for so long." my experience is that disgracefully  it *is* normal procedure. Apparently some urologists just can't feel our pain, nor do they  know how horrible the feeling is on these opiate pain meds they prescribe us which turn us into zombies. YMMV

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    • Posted

      If you read my response to Mrs O you will see that this is perfectly normal and happened to me.

      The urologist who I saw in Cheltenham who referred me to Bristol was the first one who really cared.

      He did what he thought was best for me.

      I moaned at him at the time because he was referring me to someone else again but once I had the operation and was fine I did thank the urologist at Cheltenham for referring me to Bristol and of course thanked the wonderful urologist at Bristol as well.

      Sarah.

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    • Posted

      As Sarah has helpfully already replied, yes it does sound normal procedure to send people away to try and get red of the stone on their own before any medical intervention.  Now whether that means it is the correct procedure or whether they are just too busy to do otherwise at emergency appointments, preferring to get you in at a scheduled appointment time, who knows?    My hubby was in severe pain for some 10 days when he went in but after carrying out a scan which showed a 6mm stone stuck in the ureter, they gave him a suppository to relieve the pain and then sent him home with loads of different painkillers and said they will send him an appointment to see a urologist in about 4 weeks.  That was 8 days ago.  Apart from a couple of painful episodes initially he has been without pain for some 3 days now.  Whether the little devil is wedged comfortably somewhere at present, who knows?   It would be nice to have a scan to know as meanwhile he is scared to plan on going too far in case of a sudden ‘episode’.   Have you tried the suppositories to help the pain - they contain the anti-inflammatory ingredient Diclofenac.  Good luck!
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