What Does Passing a Kidney Stone Feel Like? 5 Stories to Consider

If you’ve ever wondered what passing a kidney stone feels like, a quick search on the internet can give you a bit of a clue.

For instance, in a forum on Thumper Talk, one poster shared a story of how pain on the left side of their back appeared out of nowhere, disappeared after a couple of hours, and then came back in the middle of the night. After going to the emergency room and learning that the problem was a kidney stone, follow-up doctor’s appointments were set. However, the pain went away in the meantime. It wasn’t completely over, though, because about two weeks later the person felt a pain similar to “giving birth.”

And in a discussion board on What to Expect, a website dedicated to pregnancy and parenting, one poster shared the following: “[A]s I sat down I had this pain like needles or someone pinching my [urethra] with sharp nails. I felt like if I pushed my pee out it would hurt more & something would come out.” That’s exactly what the poster did, and she noticed “this little rock looking thing” both when she wiped and another in the toilet. The same experience happened once again after that, but it wasn’t until she went to her doctor that she found out she had actually passed kidney stones.

And in one YouTube video, Caleb J. Ross shared how he was passing a kidney stone at the time and that it felt similar to being kicked in his man-parts. He went on to explain how the pain was a “very powerful pulsing, kind of achy feeling” in his lower back that was so powerful that he had trouble focusing and sitting still. He added that medications (even Vicodin mixed with painkillers) didn’t feel like they were cutting it. Even after having the stone broken down medically, he said that it was still “the worst kind of pain” he’d ever felt.

A user in an ARS Technica forum offered just four words of advice to someone inquiring as to how passing a kidney stone feels: “Expect hell on earth.” This person went on to describe how getting morphine at the hospital did offer some relief, but also that, when drinking lots of water like suggested, the pain intensified with the moving stone.

Finally, in an article posted on the Huffington Post, author Wendy Fontaine had the same type of description of kidney stone pain. She shared how at first she just felt nauseous and dizzy, but then found herself “on the bathroom floor, rolling and moaning and clutching my left waist, where it felt like someone was stabbing me from the inside.” Six hours later, while in the emergency room, Fontaine learned that she had a kidney stone. Actually, she had six, one of which was blocking urine from going from her kidney to her bladder. After going through one failed ureteroscopy and enduring four weeks of pain, the doctor tried again and the stones were eventually removed.

Granted, everyone’s stories are a little different, but they all have one common theme: intense pain at some point in the passing of the stone. Of course, this may not offer much hope or comfort for those who have never had this experience. However, sometimes knowing what to expect can help lessen the anxiety and help you better identify exactly what’s going on, which can provide a little bit of comfort in and of itself.

Plus, there are some people who pass kidney stones and don’t even realize it. With any luck, you’ll be one of them.