How Long Does It Take to Pass a Kidney Stone?

How Long Does It Take to Pass a Kidney Stone, When is Stone Removal Necessary, Symptoms of Kidney Stone

Kidney Stone Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

What is a Kidney Stone? 

Kidney stones are one of the most common urinary tract disorders among people worldwide. Kidney stones are formed when our urine contains crystal forming substances such as uric acid, calcium and oxalate. At this time our urine does not contain substance required to prevent these substances from sticking together thus kidney stones are formed.

How Long Does it Take to Pass a Kidney Stone?

A large number of people are worried about passing a kidney stone. Kidney stone passes in the same way as urine leaves the body.  A lot of people get worried about passing the stone and ask how long does it take to pass a kidney stone? Kidney stones leave the body through the route of urine, from kidneys through the ureters to the bladder and out of the body in urine.  A kidney stone when passing through this route would cause pain.  Although we cannot define a specific time for kidney stones to leave the body but passing a stone may take from few days to several weeks.  This is the reason why doctors recommend passing the stone at home.  The doctors also prescribe pain or anti-nausea medicines for the person who is attempting to pass the stone.

Passing kidney stone can cause intense pain. Kidney stones are hard and crystal like masses causing intense pain in areas like lower back, groin, side of abdomen and sometimes patients may find blood in the urine.  Some of the stones will pass on their own while others need doctor for the complete removal.  How long does it take to pass a kidney stone once it’s in the bladder depends on the size of the stone.  Size of a kidney stone can vary from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball. However, no one knows the exact time of passing the stone but it all depends on the size and location of the stone. For this reason doctors recommend that one should drink as much water as one can because it helps to flush out the urinary system of the body. You need to drink at least 2 to 3 quarts of water during the whole day.

How Long Does it Take to Pass a Kidney Stone on Average?

Smaller stones and those which are close to the bladder pass on their own and they usually pass more rapidly. According to the doctors of American Urological Association, the exact time to pass the stones which are located in the ureters is 8 days for the stone size of less than 2mm but for the stones 4mm or larger the time to pass the stones can be up to 12 days. It will require 22 days to pass the stone from kidneys to bladder having size of 4mm. However, most of the kidney stones will pass on their own within 40 days.

Urologists usually prescribe medicines known as antispasmodics to help the stone to pass. The purpose of these medicines is to relax the Ureters which increase the chances of passing the stone and they speed up passage of stone by up to 5 days.

When is Stone Removal Necessary?

According to doctors, not everyone can wait for the stones to pass through their body on their own. However, if the stone does not pass on its own within 2 months of time duration then stone removal may be required because it can lead to certain complications such as decreased kidney function, blockage in the ureter and uncontrolled nausea, vomiting along with pain.  If the patient is suffering from this situation and the condition worsens, doctors decide to remove the stone immediately without waiting any longer.

Symptoms of Kidney Stone

Usually kidney stones don’t show any symptoms till they are small in size. A person having kidney stones might not even know about their presence and the stones would pass on their own without causing any pain. However it is not the case with large size stones because large stones will cause blockage in the urine’s normal flow and symptoms can be very painful. This situation happens when a kidney stone is stuck in the ureter (a small tube which connects bladder to the kidney). However according to the health experts the size of stone does not really correlates with the severity of the pain and sometimes a small stone can cause much pain. When the stone passes from the kidneys down to the ureter, its movement causes pain.

Pain is one of the major symptoms of kidney stones and many people feel sharp pain on one side of back or lower abdomen. The pain becomes sharper and intense with the passage of time. Pain can spread to the areas of lower abdomen and groin. Some people experience waves of pain which come, last for few minutes and disappear on their own. The level of intensity of pain can differ from one person to another.

Most Common Symptoms of Kidney Stones include:

  • Smell in the urine which is different from normal urine odor
  • Urine appears cloudy
  • People have an urge to urinate more often
  • Pain while urination
  • Sometimes blood in the urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills or fever
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Pain which becomes severe over the time
  • Pain usually starts late in the night or early in the morning

How Can we Prevent Kidney Stone Formation?

After noticing the number of patients having kidney stones, we think of ways to avoid them. First of all, one needs to drink plenty of water to keep them hydrated because less fluid intake can causes dehydration which becomes a major risk factor for the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones develop due to various factors and sometimes changes in the diet can decrease the likelihood of developing further stones in the kidneys. If a person is diagnosed having kidney stones, he should think of preventive measures so that it prevents the risk of further stone formation. As kidney stones are made up of calcium and oxalate, some people have tendency to form these substances so they are advised to limit the consumption of foods that are high in oxalate levels such as beets, spinach, peanuts, rhubarb, wheat germ and some other foods. According to research, lemon juice or its lemonade is helpful in preventing the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stone olive oil home remedy can also be effective in removing the stones. You need to mix two ounces of lemon juice with two ounces of olive oil and drink it. You need to drink plenty of water also. This home remedy should be repeated at least 2-3 times in a day until the person passes the kidney stone.

How to Get Rid of Kidney Stones while Pregnant

According to health experts, during pregnancy, physiology of women changes dramatically and it also influences the chances of developing new stones. It becomes difficult to diagnose and treat kidney stones during pregnancy, because the baby needs to be protected from the radiations of X-rays. Therefore, doctors use ultrasounds and MRI techniques to diagnose the stones. Pregnant mothers should be aware of kidney stones because passing the kidney stone while pregnant can be a painful moment and it can affect the fetus and the mother. So pregnant ladies should take care of their health and increase the intake of fluid.

Prognosis of Kidney Stones

According to the doctors, smaller kidney stones will pass on their own but there are successful treatments for the stones which do not pass on their own and are larger in size. However, people who have had a history of kidney stone remain at the risk of developing further stones throughout their life.

How are Kidney Stones Diagnosed?

Kidney stones are diagnosed by looking at the heath history of the patient. Sometimes medications can make you have kidney stones such as calcium based medicines, diuretics, topamax and other medicines. Usually doctors diagnose the stones with the help of tests and imaging studies. A doctor may confirm the presence of stones if there is an increase in levels of blood uric acid or calcium of patient because these are major causes of kidney stone formation. Doctors also advise urine tests to know the presence of kidney stones. A urologist also uses imaging studies to identify the kidney stones such as CT scans or X-rays are done. Ultrasound can also check the blockage of ureter and identify the kidney abnormalities. Sometimes stones are too small that they are not visible. After the diagnosis the doctor prescribes medicines.

When You Need to See a Doctor?

Once the doctor has determined the size of stones, he might use a procedure known as lithotripsy if the stones are large enough to cause severe infection. This procedure involves breakup of large stones into smaller pieces with the help of shock waves so that the stones can be easily passed in the urine. When lithotripsy is not effective, the doctor uses other procedures like ureteroscope and percutaneous nephrolithotomy. If the patient is having symptoms like high fever, blockage in the urine, severe nausea and confusion then he should seek medical advice. After passing the kidney stones, patient recovers after several days and he may feel dull pain during the recovery process. Doctors also prescribe pain relieving medicines. It is also advised to stay hydrated during the recovery period and go back to normal activities after few days. People get worried about how long it might take to pass a kidney stone through urine; so hopefully this article answered the question in detail.

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Hi, I am Bob Albertson, a research scientist and theorist. And I love to write on topics to which I came across during my research work. My aim to start this blog is to give back to community and students by providing healthy information.


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