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Why do kidney stones hurt so bad?

One patient explained his agony this way, "It was so bad, I was afraid I was going to live!"

Often described as "the worst pain in my life", the severe pain from kidney stones, called renal or ureteral colic, occurs when a stone passes from the kidney into the ureter. The ureter is the thin tube, 10-12 inches long, that transports urine from the kidney to the bladder. Very small stones may pass without any pain or notice. But stones above 1-2 mm in size often get stuck. 

When the normal flow of urine cannot get past the stone, pressure builds up in the ureter. As this hollow thin tube distends nerves begin to fire. It is not safe for a kidney to become blocked. Stretch receptors send bursts of information to the brain and one can become violently ill with severe flank pain that radiates to the groin area along with nausea, vomiting, and sweating. 

Unfortunately Middle Tennessee is also in the middle of the so called "stone belt". Fortunately, Middle Tennessee Urology Specialists have careers of knowledge and skill to help manage and cure these painful experiences. More on that in the next blog.