Please leave alone, you stone!
February 27, 2011 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Another kidney stone question... from a female

This morning I went to the ER and found out I had a kidney stone.
While I was there, they gave me some morphine to stop the pain, some anti-inflammatory drug. I had an ultrasound and then a CAT scan.

Doctor said that it was a little on the large side, but he said I would be able to pass it totally through. Now, I don't know where he said it was... because I was kind of out of it. But anyway, he gave me a strainer.

Okay. So, it's 10 hours later, morphine wore off. The pain hasn't come back (knock on wood) except for a headache. I've been drinking water and when I strain my urine, there is some sort of flaky white sediment left over. Sometimes the sediment has little hair-like pieces (black and red). I tried to collect it and put it in the cup.

Could this be the stone broken down? Has anyone else had this?
What else could it be?

I don't know whether to go in to work tomorrow in case anymore pain starts. And I'm not going to bring my pee strainer with me and strain my pee in the bathroom.

I'm not even sure if I'll be able to see the urologist office they recommended (on site) because I don't have health insurance.
So, I probably won't even know if this was it or not.

What do you think this is?
I understand you are probably not a doctor.
posted by KogeLiz to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How big did they say the stone was? It's unlikely that the stone pulverized itself into little flaky pieces especially since he said it was a fairly large one. My urologist told me that kidney stones can cause UTIs. If you've ever had a UTI, there's stuff floating around in your urine. It looks white and flaky almost. Now the black and red, dunno what that could be but when I had my kidney stone, I had blood in my urine so maybe the red is blood. Did they not give you some pain meds for when you pass the stone?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:50 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, it is possible it is sediment from the stone. Keep it and have it analyzed. I really don't know of anything else that would be possible to strain out.

-from my nursing brother
posted by handbanana at 7:52 PM on February 27, 2011

Response by poster: Did they not give you some pain meds for when you pass the stone?

Yes. I picked the up at the pharmacy... but I'm not in any pain right now.

From what people have told me, the painful part is it passing through the ureter. I remember them telling me after my ultrasound that my ureter was swollen or something like that. I'm guessing it's hanging out in my bladder by now ?
posted by KogeLiz at 8:02 PM on February 27, 2011

It took me over a month to pass mine and it was 4mm. It hung out in my ureter for a few weeks and then hung out on my bladder for a while. I don't even know when I actually passed it. So yes, for me, the worst pain was it moving through the ureter. Everyone passes them at different speeds.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:18 PM on February 27, 2011

*in my bladder
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:19 PM on February 27, 2011

What you're seeing are bits of blood and particles of the stone. Kidney stones are often broken up as they pass through your system so that they look like grains of sand or flakes by the time they leave.

Based on my experience with stones (ugh!), seeing this stuff means you're probably through the worst of things.

If the stone is broken up too much by the time it passes, the lab might not be able to identify the kind of stone it was. You really want them to be able to do this because knowing the cause of your stones will help you prevent them, so save as much as you can.

Good luck... I have nothing but sympathy for anyone dealing with kidney stones. Ouch!
posted by Sifleandollie at 8:23 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

My first stone disappeared -- that is, I only got the super-tiny weird pieces in my strainer. So you may be out of the woods. My second stone I tried for a month to pass, with intermittent pain. I eventually needed surgery. So maybe you're not out of the woods. Unfortunately you're not going to know for a little while.

I did bring my strainer to work in a little bag, then carried that bag into the bathroom with me. It wasn't entirely subtle -- I did tell my closest co-workers what was going on. Basically, passing a stone is like earning the red badge of courage, so people felt very sympathetic and nobody gave me a hard time about it.

Good luck.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:34 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have had multiple (as in, more than 20) kidney stones, and I have never once had pain from passing one and I have never once been able to catch any but the smallest shards in the paper strainers they give you. My last stone was large enough (1 CM) that it completely blocked the connection between my kidney and bladder & I ended up having it "blasted" with ultrasound - and still, I never passed any shards.

By far, the worst of the pain is between the kidney and the bladder. Once its in the bladder, my experience is you're mostly pain free.

(This is very different for men, in part because their urethra is much longer than a woman's urethra.)
posted by anastasiav at 9:04 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

If the pain is gone, you very likely passed it. I've had 10+ stones so far and they've never come back for a rematch. And they frequently do get pulverized on the way out (they can be flaky little things even though you are visualizing, well, a stone.)

Once it's in the bladder you are home-free.
posted by joshu at 10:05 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

It could be the stone, broken down, yes. Or it could be other stuff. You'll only know for sure if the lab analyzes it or if you get a CT scan that indicates no stone. Not all stones show up on X-Rays due to some stones' composition (uric acid ones, I think) being transparent to X-Rays or obscured by the bowel. Absence of a stone on a CT scan is (I think) the standard, definitive test that rules out kidney stones.

Stones don't always pass, or pass right away, though. But if you've been feeling kidney stone pain, and then it's gone and you have stuff in your strainer, that's a pretty good sign it's passed.
posted by zippy at 2:34 AM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For future readers, an update
posted by KogeLiz at 4:16 PM on April 10, 2011

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