The Agony of Kidney Stones (cont.)

"It had been beat up by the stone," he explains. "It had been festered."

Stokes' doctor left a stent in his ureter to make sure it would heal properly, but for Stokes, the pain of having the stent was just as bad as having the stone, and he wondered if the problem had really been solved.

"For two weeks, I had to look forward to going back to the doctor's office and have something go up through the penis and through the bladder to pull the stent out," he says.

After two weeks of anticipation, the day finally arrived. The doctor used a device that resembled a plunger for anesthetic. The device was put through the canal, through the urethra, then through the bladder.

The nurse held his feet to keep him calm while the doctor inserted a small, firm tube into the penis to the urethra to give an opening for the device used to pull the stent out.

Stokes describes the experience as uncomfortable, but not painful. After about two minutes, his doctor was able to pull the stent out.

"I anticipated more pain and discomfort than there really was," Stokes says. "Coming out was nothing. It didn't hurt at all."

After being sent home, he was told to take it easy for a couple days. Within a 24-hour period, all the problems he had been experiencing for the last year completely went away.

When the stone was analyzed to help determine the cause, his doctor found it was a soft stone, made up mostly of calcium, and Stokes found out later that his body naturally produces a high amount of calcium. This put him at risk for developing kidney stones.

Another factor with his stones was that he wasn't drinking enough water. Today Stokes makes a point to drink lemon water every morning because the lemon will have an effect on any stones that have begun to develop during the night.

"It's never how much water you drink, but it's how and when you urinate," he says. "At night when you go to bed, you have an eight-hour period, so there's an opportunity for the calcification to occur at night."

Although his problems went on for over a year, Stokes has been fine since his last procedure.

"It was just like a miracle," he says. "When they lifted that thing out of there, it was life-changing."

*Names have been changed.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/26/2007