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How can I Manage Kidney Stone Pain?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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You can deal with kidney stone pain in a variety of ways, including taking medications, exercising, using hot packs, and getting rid of the stones altogether. The type of treatment may depend on how severe your condition is and what your doctor recommends. Small stones which do not cause severe pain can often be treated using over the counter medications, while larger ones sometimes require stronger drugs delivered intravenously.

If your kidney stone pain is not severe, you can treat it using over the counter pain medications like naproxen and acetaminophen. You can talk with your doctor to determine if higher than recommended doses are safe for you to take temporarily until the stones have passed, or you can follow the directions listed on the packaging. More severe or prolonged pain may require stronger medications. For these, you will need to see your doctor.

Sometimes kidney stone pain is treated using intravenous drugs in the hospital. This is usually reserved for very large stones that are causing high levels of pain because many of these medications are addictive. If you feel the need for these, you should be sure to do whatever is needed to remove the stones so that you won’t need pain relief for an extended period of time.

The most effective means of alleviating kidney stone pain is to remove the stones. This can be done by drinking plenty of fluids and by eating and drinking certain things. Lemon juice, coconut water, and vitamin B6 have all been shown to help break down the minerals which form kidney stones. Drinking plenty of water may help move stones downward and prevent infection. Additionally, exercise can help to reduce pain and move the stones farther down the urinary tract so that they can be moved more quickly.

In addition to medication, you can use hot packs to help reduce pain until the kidney stones pass. Avoiding foods which can irritate the bladder, such as caffeine and alcohol, may also help reduce some of the discomfort. The amount of time stones need to pass will depend on the size and how far into the kidneys they are. Sometimes multiple stones will be present at once. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to remove the kidney stones manually.

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