Passing a kidney stone can be painful but, to many peoples' surprise, is not always so. Passing a kidney stone can on occasion be a life-threatening event, but this is rare. So when do you need to panic and run to the ER.
- Passing a stone if you only have one kidney (or one functioning kidney) is life-threatening
- Passing a stone while having a fever can result in a life-threatening blood infection
- Passing stones from both kidneys at the same time can result in a life-threatening condition
- Passing a stone and at the same time no longer producing any urine can be a sign of a life-threatening condition
- Passing a stone and being unable to keep down any food or drink due to nausea requires a visit to the hospital ER
- Passing a stone with such severe pain that you cannot tolerate it without IV pain killers requires a trip to the ER
Other than that, passing a kidney stone can often be managed as an outpatient.
Of course, consult your own doctor first!