What makes kidney stones so painful?

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What makes kidney stones so painful?

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When the stone blocks urine from passing through the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder) it causes urine to back up which then causes the kidney to swell from pressure. This swelling is painful. On top of that the kidney and ureter will spasm to try and push urine out. This is also very painful.

It’s why the pain comes and goes. The stone as it moves causes a blockage which causes swelling which causes spasms.

Kidney stones look like crystals under the scope. Sharp jagged and very very hard. That’s why they hurt when passing.

Kidney stones aren’t smooth, they are crystals with a bunch of pointy and sharp edges. As they pass through the ureter they scrape and cut as they go and this is very painful.

The Ureter has a very small diameter so stones don’t have to be large for them to cause a problem.

They also block the flow of urine causing pressure, and they cause muscle spasms because the kidneys and bladder are trying to clear themselves.

They are generally buildups of calcium and other hard minerals. These types of aggregated stones tend to form in little hard spikes around a central core. So you’ve got a sharp object traveling down a narrow tube of flesh that usually only sees liquid. This in itself is painful. It’s also blocking the flow of the liquids that usually flow in that passage, so they’re backing up behind it, applying pressure to already inflamed tissue. Also, as the stone passes and aggravates the tissue, this causes it to swell, clamping down on the sharp object and further backing up the works. So you’re shoving a sharp little ball of spikes down a tube of flesh that has basically no resistance to damage then pressurizing the passage behind it.

Think about pushing a watermelon out of a lemon hole. But that watermelon is covered in shards of glass.

This is a [microscope image of a kidney stone](https://media.sciencephoto.com/image/c0386594/800wm). You’re peeing chunks of this. Ouch.

Also as others have said, the blockage of urine creating pressure in tubes that are usually non-pressurized and free-flowing is painful too.

Imagine trying to force a golfball through a garden hose. The golfball is the kidney stone, and the hose is your ureter (the tube that drains fluid from your kidneys into your urinary bladder). Your ureters are pretty small and delicate, about 6-8mm in diameter.

Now imagine the golfball is also sharp, because it’s not a ball, it’s a little calcium oxalate crystal (ETA: there are some that are round, but the sharp crystal kind are the most common). Every time a little urine flows from the kidney to the bladder (every few seconds), it’s going to jostle that little thing, until it eventually breaks up or passes the hard way.

Dumb question but… Do women also get kidney stones? Is it still as painful? I know it is for men but not sure about women anatomy and if their urinary tract is also very narrow?

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What makes kidney stones so painful?

In: 13

When the stone blocks urine from passing through the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder) it causes urine to back up which then causes the kidney to swell from pressure. This swelling is painful. On top of that the kidney and ureter will spasm to try and push urine out. This is also very painful.

It’s why the pain comes and goes. The stone as it moves causes a blockage which causes swelling which causes spasms.

Kidney stones look like crystals under the scope. Sharp jagged and very very hard. That’s why they hurt when passing.

Kidney stones aren’t smooth, they are crystals with a bunch of pointy and sharp edges. As they pass through the ureter they scrape and cut as they go and this is very painful.

The Ureter has a very small diameter so stones don’t have to be large for them to cause a problem.

They also block the flow of urine causing pressure, and they cause muscle spasms because the kidneys and bladder are trying to clear themselves.

They are generally buildups of calcium and other hard minerals. These types of aggregated stones tend to form in little hard spikes around a central core. So you’ve got a sharp object traveling down a narrow tube of flesh that usually only sees liquid. This in itself is painful. It’s also blocking the flow of the liquids that usually flow in that passage, so they’re backing up behind it, applying pressure to already inflamed tissue. Also, as the stone passes and aggravates the tissue, this causes it to swell, clamping down on the sharp object and further backing up the works. So you’re shoving a sharp little ball of spikes down a tube of flesh that has basically no resistance to damage then pressurizing the passage behind it.

Think about pushing a watermelon out of a lemon hole. But that watermelon is covered in shards of glass.

This is a [microscope image of a kidney stone](https://media.sciencephoto.com/image/c0386594/800wm). You’re peeing chunks of this. Ouch.

Also as others have said, the blockage of urine creating pressure in tubes that are usually non-pressurized and free-flowing is painful too.

Imagine trying to force a golfball through a garden hose. The golfball is the kidney stone, and the hose is your ureter (the tube that drains fluid from your kidneys into your urinary bladder). Your ureters are pretty small and delicate, about 6-8mm in diameter.

Now imagine the golfball is also sharp, because it’s not a ball, it’s a little calcium oxalate crystal (ETA: there are some that are round, but the sharp crystal kind are the most common). Every time a little urine flows from the kidney to the bladder (every few seconds), it’s going to jostle that little thing, until it eventually breaks up or passes the hard way.

Dumb question but… Do women also get kidney stones? Is it still as painful? I know it is for men but not sure about women anatomy and if their urinary tract is also very narrow?