Kidney Stones vs. Childbirth: Which is more painful?

Childbirth is well known as one of the most painful experiences that humans can have. However, the pain of having a kidney stone is considered to be comparable. In fact, some people have rated the pain of a kidney stone as being worse than that of childbirth.

When a large kidney stone is present, it can block the flow of urine through the kidney. The stone often moves into the tube that connects the bladder and the kidney and causes a blockage. The kidney keeps producing urine, but it can’t get rid of it. This causes a back up of urine that causes the kidney to expand painfully. This process, called hydronephrosis, is what often causes the pain of kidney stones.

This kind of pain usually presents on one side and can radiate downward as far as the genitals. There can also be nausea and vomiting from the pain of the stone.

Why Is It So Painful?

When there is a kidney stone blocking the flow of urine, your body will still try to push the urine out. There is intense pain from the body using muscles to try to push out the backup of urine that is blocked by the stone. The pain is often described as a sharp and persistent pain on one side.

For some people, the pain may come in waves and resurface every 10 minutes or so. In this way, it is similar to labor pains. However, for those who have persistent pain that doesn’t ebb and flow, it can be worse than childbirth pains because there is no respite. There is only intense, sharp pain for a long period of time as the stone makes its way through the body.

One reason that kidney stones are often considered to be worse than childbirth pains is that there is no epidural or spinal block available to stop the pain of passing a stone. Unlike with labor, which can be made much more comfortable, patients with kidney stones can be given pain medications that can take the edge off the pain, but they aren’t given anything to take it away completely. There may be several days of pain that a kidney-stone patient must endure, and there is little that can be done to make the process easier to bear.

If you have any questions about kidney stones, contact us here or call us at (404) 705-5201.