Kidney stones can cause severe pain. Here you can find out which drugs are suitable and what still needs to be done.
Anyone with kidney stones does not necessarily notice immediately. The stones usually only cause problems when they migrate from the kidneys into the urinary tract, where they block and interrupt the flow of urine.
So those affected often experience intense, spasmodic pain, like
The contractions start quite suddenly and get stronger and stronger in waves. Sometimes these so-called renal colic last only a few minutes, but they can also last several days and become a huge burden.
However, it’s best not to get that far in the first place. In case of severe pain, the following always applies: It is best to have it checked by a doctor as soon as possible. If you have pain in the kidney area, this is important because there may be other causes behind it that can be dangerous if not treated immediately, such as an inflammation of the appendix.
If kidney stones are actually the cause of the pain, the doctor can better assess what might help the affected person quickly. This depends, among other things, on the cause, location and size of the kidney stones, all of which can be determined by the doctor as part of the diagnosis.
Pain relief measures are usually the first step in treatment. The following drugs are suitable for this:
Diclofenac is a well-known pain reliever available in pharmacies without a prescription. However, it is only suitable for some of those affected. Diclofenac is not an option for people with impaired kidney function because it also impairs kidney function. Also, diclofenac only helps with mild to moderate pain.
Severe pain can often be better relieved with metamizole. The doctor usually gives it as an injection. Compared to diclofenac, metamizole has the advantage, among other things, of also having an antispasmodic effect, beneficial in case of colic: pain attacks are caused by the fact that the smooth muscles of the urinary tract contract.
However, treatment with metamizole also carries risks. This applies in principle to any therapy with effective drugs. With metamizole, however, side effects can – in extremely rare cases – become life-threatening, such as liver damage or impaired blood formation (agranulocytosis).
Patients for whom diclofenac and metamizole are not suitable are usually prescribed paracetamol. It is particularly suitable for pregnant women. However, like diclofenac, it can also relieve only mild to moderate pain.
Nowadays, opioids are only prescribed for kidney stones if other medications don’t work. Mainly because they cause unwanted side effects more often than other active ingredients and also because they have no antispasmodic effect.
In addition to taking medications, those affected are sometimes advised to drink a lot and exercise more. Both serve their purpose – drinking dilutes urine so that stone-forming substances can dissolve better. Exercise counteracts certain risk factors that promote kidney stones, such as obesity and bone loss.
It cannot be said for certain whether and to what extent the two measures help against acute pain. The effect has not yet been scientifically proven.