Kidney Stones and how to prevent them – my experience

Kidney Stones
My kidney stones

Kidney stones can be a real surprise. On Friday I woke up feeling fine, got showered, had some breakfast and went to work. At about 9.30 I had the sudden urge to pee so off I went to the loo and what happened next can only be explained as the feeling that someone had taken a blowtorch to my stomach – intense pain from inside my abdomen.

The pain lasted most of the day and I kept drinking water and cranberry juice in a bid to stave off any impending infection. Over the next 24 hours the pain seem to subside to a dull ache – despite me having the regular need to pee – so I went out for my Father-in-Law’s 60th birthday party. On arrival at the pub I was presented with a pint of beer and this continued for the rest of the evening. This would later become a process I would regret entering in to.

I woke up on Sunday morning and something didn’t feel right. My lower-left back was throbbing with pain, I felt sick and my groin was painful. I also felt very light headed and I knew it wasn’t a hangover. As the day went on the pain became worse. I had some Paramol (the strongest painkiller available without a prescription) but this wasn’t helping. By late afternoon I was getting to the verge of tears with the pain and my wife insisted I go to the local Walk-In centre.

Two hours later the pain had subsided (I found walking around helped) but I was seen by a doctor and explained that I thought I was suffering from a UTI. It was at the point the GP explained that men very rarely get a UTI and if they do there’s usually something else causing it. He took a sample of my urine, dipped in a special test strip, and informed me that I didn’t have an infection.

Much to my concern, there was a trace of blood in my urine. Needless to say I was instantly worried, however, the GP assured me that it was a very minor trace nothing at the point to be concerned about. His diagnoses? Kidney stones. I don’t drink enough water and this is likely to have been the cause. All that alcohol had only dehydrated me even more and the trace of blood was likely being caused by the stone causing minute tears as it made its way through me. Nice!

Off I was sent with a prescription for a decent painkiller and Naproxen anti-inflammatory, told to see my GP, and went back home to rest. The new drugs helped and I managed a decent nights sleep. I took the next day off work to recover and clean my system; drinking loads of water, eating fruit an veg, avoiding anything unnatural and anything containing caffeine.

It was later that day, whilst going for a pee, that something odd happened. I felt the flow of my pee stop and go for just half a second and heard a faint ‘ping’ from the toilet bowl. When I looked down there was a small stone in the bowl. It had come from me!

In my excitement I fished it out with an old pair of grips and gave it a thorough wash. And there it was!

What you can do to prevent kidney stones

Although some people are more prone to kidney stone than others, there are some things that we can all do to prevent them occuring:

  • drink plenty of fluids. in particular water (2l a day)
  • avoid caffeine – a diuretic which will dehydrate you even more (this includes tea!)
  • lose weight
  • become a woman (men are twice as likely to suffer from kidney stones)
  • exercise regurlay
  • eat lemons (or lemon juice) and other fruits high in citric acid
  • drink apple cider vinegar

How to alleviate kidney stone pain

  • take pain killers
  • drink plenty of water to flush your system
  • don’t consume alcohol
  • rest

Download my free hydration chart and put it in your bathroom (including at work) to make sure you stay well hydrated and avoid kidney stones.