Strangest Places I’ve Passed a Kidney Stone

Green Eggs and Ham on a TrainI do not like them in a plane,
I do not like them in a train,
I do not like kidney stones,
I do not like them Sam-I-Am.

(apologies to the late great Theodor Geisel, a/k/a Dr. Seuss)

A kidney stone can sneak up on you at any time.  For me, thanks to my body’s super-amazing ability to create kidney stones, I have passed kidney stones in some very strange places.  Here is the short, though not comprehensive list of the strangest places that I’ve passed kidney stones:

  • Airplane, twice
  • Train, twice
  • In a hotel room in Rome, Italy
  • In an apartment in Rio de Janeiro

Why all of the travel related kidney stone episodes? I suspect three culprits:

  • Dehydration
  • Vibration
  • Food


People typically don’t realize how easy it is to become dehydrated while traveling. Here are some of the primary reasons we get dehydrated while traveling:

  • Both cooled and heated air is very dry, which is found in nearly every means of transport.
  • We lose a lot a lot of water through breathing (aspiration), which is why we lose weight overnight.
  • Dry air takes water out of our body faster than humid air.
  • People tend to stop drinking water when flying or driving to reduce or eliminate the need to eliminate. 😀

If you have ever traveled business or first class on an overseas flight, the flight attendants give generous amounts of bottled water and other fluid refreshments to the passengers, to counteract the dehydration (too bad they don’t do the same in coach!).


I believe that the general bumpiness of most modes of transportation can jar loose a lodged stone.  I have traveled quite extensively and most modes of transportation involve some bumpiness, except maybe hang-gliding, which is not the most practical way to get to work.

The second kidney stone I ever had made itself known after a particularly bumpy ride across Alligator Alley in Florida, before they had repaved it.  I arrived at my dad’s house, started throwing up from extreme pain, and passed a stone a couple of hours later. I had no symptoms prior to that.


To me, this one is obvious. What is one of the first things that doctors and nutritionists tell us to reduce, when trying to prevent kidney stones? The answer: sodium. Have you ever tried to eat a low sodium diet while traveling?  Seriously, it is incredibly difficult.  Healthy eating choices are extremely limited while traveling, as most foods are highly processed and loaded with salt.  Even with ‘heart healthy’ choices on menus, there is still a lot of sodium in the foods.

Mark’s Bottom Line

Preventing kidney stones before and during travel is extremely important. Cancelling a business trip or rescheduling a vacation is very costly and at the very least disappointing.  You can’t do too much about vibration of the vehicles in which you travel, but you can do other things to help prevent kidney stones during travel, including:

  • Staying hydrated before and during a trip; water is your best friend.
  • Eating properly before and during travel, including limiting your sodium intake and including fruits and vegetables in your meal selections.

I always travel with a bottle of Clear Kidneys, or at least an On-the-Go Travel Pack (free with the purchase of a Clear Kidneys Action Pack or Mega Pack).  I have saved numerous trips when I felt that all-to-familiar pressure in my back telling me I have a stone forming.

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Where is the strangest place that you’ve passed a kidney stone? Tell us in the comment section below.

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