Should an ultrasound be painful?

Hello, so today I went for my abdo scan which I think was fine - I say I think because the doctor was bizarre and said some very odd things, but I think in amongst his rambling he ruled out nasties so that's good.

Anyway, he didn't just look at my ovaries, he did bladder, spleen, gallbladder, kidneys, liver etc too and it was all unremarkable apart from the kidney scan. The minute he touched my flank with the probe, I screamed in pain, and flew up the bed to get away from him. It was agony. He didn't seem bothered and carried on regardless while saying it wasn't a normal reaction. When he did the other side it was exactly the same. It was like somebody was stabbing me with a burning hot poker in my kidney area, I've not felt pain like it. And it was only the tiniest bit of pressure that he was applying. I cried and gritted my teeth and he did what he needed to do in his own merry time and that was it. Why would it hurt like that? Does it mean there is something wrong with my kidneys? I'm really paranoid about my kidneys because have twice gone in to renal failure with no explanation, yet the Drs do not routinely check them or anything.

Does anyone know why my kidneys might have hurt, or have had a similar experience? Can't go to Dr as he already thinks I fuss about real illnesses so going about something that might be nothing would really annoy him


11 Replies

  • Hi Lipbalmaddict

    I sincerely hope that you are feeling as well as you can be today? I am so sorry to read about your dreadful experience during your scan. I am very sorry but I have not got a clue whether or not something is wrong but I must say it is not a normal reaction to a scan!

    If it can help to alleviate some of your fears, I can say with some assurance that there could be many reasons why you felt such horrid pain; Fibro springs to mind! Have you ever had any pain in that area with your Fibro? Did he place too much pressure on your body as he was doing the scan?

    I sincerely hope from my very soul that there is noting untoward pertaining to your reaction. Please, please keep us all updated as to what transpires over this.

    All my hopes and dreams for you.

    Ken x

  • Hi Ken, thanks as ever for your kind and reassuring words. I decided to make a nuisance of myself at the doctors, and despite the idiotic doctor that performed the scan having reported that everything was fine, I managed to get seen by a locum this morning who after examination and testing urine sample, confirmed I had an infection, most likely in the kidneys. He has started me on antibiotics, and has sent the sample away for analysis to find out exactly what is going on so it can be treated properly. So I should know definitely by tomorrow. It explains so much, like the hideous night sweats of the last few weeks, the all over itching, the back cramps, and the general feeling of blah!

    Why does it need to be such a battle though? Are GPs so cynical that their starting point is that the patient is always wrong? Or could it be the my Bipolar diagnosis automatically makes them suspect that everything I say is warped and detached from reality?

    I don't think I'll ever understand :(


  • Hi Lipbalmaddict

    I am so sorry to hear that you have an infection, however, it could have been so much worse so at least you have had your mind put at ease.

    I understand what you mean about being a battle with the doctors. It is as if they have already preordained what is the matter with you prior to you walking through their door. My wife always hates going to the doctors because they say everything is related to her MS!

    My friend who had Bipolar once went to the doctors with breathing problems, the GP told him it was all in his mind. A few days later he was rushed into hospital with pneumonia. I asked the GP if he actually listened to his chest and he said NO! I think if anyone has any kind of emotional illness the GP or any health professional is always looking for the one thing!

    Please try to rest while you have got an infection, and let me know that you are getting better my friend.

    Take care my friend

    Ken x

  • Hi,

    I had a few on my ankle last year when I injured it. they were all really painful but my physio tried to reduce the pain as much as possible. the doctor sounds like a massive expletive (trying not to swear as it is ne of my new years resolutions). if I were you would put in a formal complaint. he shouldn't have carried on causing you pain without talking to you first about what was causing it and if you were ok to put up with the pain as my physio did. bad doctor. I wouldn't worry too much as my foot hasn't fallen off yet despite the pain of the scan, but it is probably as good idea to et checked out just in case. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.


  • Thanks Vicky, I have and I'm now on antibiotics. That Dr was a massive expletive, I didn't make that particular New Years resolution, so the air has been blue around here :) xx

  • Hi,

    Not wanting to worry you but there is a chance it was caused by kidney stones, depending on the frequency used it could cause them to vibrate and/or shatter causing pain, ultrasound has been used in the treatment of kidney and gall stones hence the questions,

    did it only hurt when he used the transducer to touch you?

    Does it hurt to touch that area with your hands?

    Do you have any history of kidney stones?

    Have you tried calling NHS direct's non emergency number and speaking to a dr or nurse there who would be able to help you?

    The dr should not have continued with the scan if it caused you pain and I suggest you report him to PALS for it, you have a right to treatment without the worry or threat of pain.

    All the best


  • Thanks Sian, I went back to my GP surgery today and asked to be seen today. Sure enough, Dr Idiot hadn't mentioned kidney pain, but I told them about it, they tested my urine, and things are not normal. So I'm on antibiotics, and a sample has been sent away to find out what's going on. Thank you for advising me to take it further, I'm really glad I did, because based on his report, nothing would have been done.


  • I'm really glad you went and got checked, twice in the past I have been hospitalised with severe kidney infections that were put down to kidney stones even though I never passed any and there were none on the scan, but some pain killers and antibiotics soon sorted me out so no further testing was done! I've since found out that it may have been because of the amount of coke I drink, as the caffeine in it is a strong irritant which I never realised could give me bladder problems, so if you drink a lot of caffeinated drinks I suggest trying to cut back on them or get de-caff ( but please don't go cold turkey the withdrawl is a bitch!!!)

    As for your dr I had some similar problems with mine, the last time I went to him before changing he laughed at me all the way through the appointment and when I came to the last item I had to talk about which was that taking 3 tramadol every 3 hours was not reducing my pain in the slightest was shocked to be told "just keep taking more and more til it stops hurting" when I explained that I was already taking 18 a day ( the max dose is 8/24 hours) and the one time I took 4 at once it made me very very ill he simply said "yes it will do that" and burst out laughing in my face before practically shoving me out of the door, knowing how strong and dangerous tramadol is I changed dr the same day (whilest in tears at being spoken to that way) I was lucky the next one I tried is the one I'm still with and he is excellent!

    But no matter what if your gp doesn't take you seriously then get a new gp, just because you have a mental health problem does not make you a liar or a hypochondriac and you have the right to be taken seriously and not dismissed out of hand before you even start, god knows us 'work-shy fibro-fakers' have enough problems being taken seriously by the uneducated without the medical professionals who should know better doing the exact same thing.

    I hope all your waterworks get sorted out quickly and stay sorted for you, huge gentle fibro-hugs


  • Hi Alex I'm sorry its taken so long for me to reply to you.

    When I first read your post I could feel your anguish and I am so glad to hear you went to see your GP and that you persisted.

    I've had that abdo scan twice and know what you mean but it was the gall bladder area for me. My doc would put me on antibiotics too and they would help but they have never found out why I keep getting a painful flare there........ weird huh!

    Anyhoo! for about a week after the scans I felt like I'd been pummelled and just unable to move so was wondering if you had also felt that?

    I'm sending extra soft healing fluffies to you but they may be in disguise because the evil cats are hanging about :o ;) :)

    :) xxxsianxxx :)

  • Haha, those pesky kitties! Has anyone heard from Foggy?

    Thanks for your post Sian. I'm still really sore after the scan, just the lightest touch from clothing stings my skin over the kidneys and tiny fingertip pressure feel badly bruised. The whole reason I went for scan in the first place was because my waterworks were misbehaving, so you would think painful kidneys would have triggered some kind of minuscule reaction for the medical profession wouldn't you. But no, everything was fine with the kidneys, said the stupid man. Try telling that to my 'old mans' wee sample... :( : o

    I'm just glad it was a locum as I swear my own GP doesn't listen to anything I tell him.

    How are you anyway my lovely? Have you been road testing the chair yet? Xxx

  • drtgh lgthu drfgh gwasx

    The puzzle for me is the pain. Yes' I know U/S is used to break up kidney, bladder and gall stones but a scan doesn't use anything like that power. Glad you have some progress. Looks like evil cats have infiltrated my laptop. Please do not reply to this. :(

    Ghost of Jack is out looking for Foggy :)

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