Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Stones are one of the most common problems associated with the kidneys. Millions of people have ever suffered an episode with a kidney stone; they suffer frequently because it is a painful condition. Although sometimes they are expelled from your kidneys through the urinary tract alone, in other cases they will require in-depth treatment to get rid of them. Kidney stones can form anywhere in the urinary tract & can be made up of different types of material. Kidney stones are also of different shapes, colors, & sizes.

The most common type of kidney stone is made of calcium, & within that type, the most common is calcium oxalate, which creates approximately 70% of kidney stones. Calcium phosphate makes up between 5 & 10% of stones, while struvite & uric acid stones make up 10% of kidney stones.

It is not abnormal for physicians to observe stones made up of the combination of these materials. According to the medical history, diet & renal function of the patient, any of these materials can be mixed & create a stone.

How Long does it Take to Pass a Kidney Stone?

On an average, kidney stones take about 1 to 3 weeks to be expelled or to pass. If the stone does not pass within this time, it may stick & cause infection or other problems if it is not removed. If the stone is larger than 6 mm, it would be too large to be expelled or passed by your body & should be removed with surgery or a medical procedure.

The size of kidney stones varies according to the case; they can be as small as a pebble or as big as a golf ball (in which case surgery is needed to remove them). Large stones cannot pass or eject on their own & require surgical intervention. In many cases, smaller stones can be easily ejected or passed. There are tests that can determine the size of the stone, such as the ultrasound. However, even the smallest stones may require surgical intervention depending on the site of formation of the stone & in case it is trapped in a specific area in the urinary tract that does not allow it to be expelled.

The larger the kidney stones, the more damage they can cause, but many are so small that they move through the kidneys, ureter, bladder, & urethra without the patient noticing.

Kidney stones greater than two or three millimeters in diameter extend to the walls of the ureter & the renal pelvis. The muscles of these tissues begin to contract spasmodically because they are trying to move the stone out of the urinary system. Here it is that the strong pain in the flank of the abdomen originates, with projection towards the low part of the back & the stomach.

When the stone reaches the ureter or bladder, the pain usually decreases, but this can take from hours to weeks later. One or two out of 10 stones in the kidneys need a doctor's intervention so they can pass.

Medical Treatment for Kidney Stones

Doctors can break large kidney stones with ultrasound treatments, which send sonic shock waves that fracture the kidney stone into much smaller pieces. They can also insert a stent to keep your ureter open, which will help the stones pass more quickly. Sometimes laparoscopic surgery or conventional surgery is needed with an abdominal incision, depending on where the kidney stone is stuck.

Home Treatment for Kidney Stones

If your doctor told you to let the kidney stone go by itself, there are several actions you can take to feel more comfortable. Take analgesics, be sure to ask your doctor how much & how often you should take it.

Sit in a warm bath or use a heating pad on your flank to relieve pain. Drink lots of water, doctors recommend 12 glasses of eight ounces (2 to 3 liters) a day.

Remember to catch the kidney stone with a strainer or device that has been provided by the doctor so you can provide it for analysis. This analysis determines the kidney stone´s composition, providing useful information for the nutritionist who can adjust the diet according to it.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 14, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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