Passing a kidney stone refers specifically to the journey that a stone takes, from the kidney, the urine chamber up in the kidney, down the ureter tube and into the bladder. That whole journey is passing a stone. A lot of patients mistakenly believe that passing a kidney stone refers to the act of urinating the kidney stone out into the outside world. But actually once the stone lands up in the bladder, it's typically smaller than the diameter of the urethra. And it comes out without an issue. The journey of passing a kidney stone ends when the stone lands up in the bladder. The reason passing a kidney stone causes so many problems and so much pain is that the diameter of the ureter tube is very narrow and the stone is usually just enough to block it off like a cork in a wine bottle. When a stone becomes lodged in the ureter tube, urine collects in the kidney and has nowhere to go. In fact, that's the painful part of passing a kidney stone. The urine that's trapped in the kidney under pressure is intensely painful and very nauseating. The pain can come in waves, because occasionally, some urine will squeeze by the stone. The pressure is relieved. The pain goes away temporarily. Then the urine builds back up again and the pain intensifies. So the pain continues up and down in waves. Typically during this portion, there's intense pain in the back, sometimes blood in the urine and a feeling of nausea and sometimes vomiting.
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