How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone
The amount of time it can take for you to pass a kidney stone is different from anothers. A stone thats smaller than 4 mm may pass within one to two weeks. A stone thats larger than 4 mm could take about two to three weeks to completely pass.
Once the stone reaches the bladder, it typically passes within a few days, but may take longer, especially in an older man with a large prostate. However, pain may subside even if the stone is still in the ureter, so its important to follow up with your healthcare provider if you dont pass the stone within four to six weeks.
Passing Stones And Prevention
Typically, the smaller the kidney stone, the more quickly it passes. Stones smaller than 4 millimeters pass on their own 80 percent to 90 percent of the time. Stones that are between 4 and 6 millimeters take more time, on average 45 days. Only 20 percent of stones larger than 6 millimeters pass without medical intervention, and it can take up to a year for them to pass.
Kidney stones can be prevented by following these guidelines:
Drink plenty of water at least 64 ounces a day. Adding fresh lemon or lime juice to the water can help break up existing kidney stones.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Reduce consumption of sodium, which is high in prepackaged foods, fried foods, deli meats and sports drinks.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, and reduce protein intake.
Avoid sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
Can Children Get Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are found in children as young as 5 years. In fact, this problem is so common in children that some hospitals conduct ‘stone’ clinics for pediatric patients. The increase in the United States has been attributed to several factors, mostly related to food choices. The two most important reasons are not drinking enough fluids and eating foods that are high in salt. Kids should eat less salty potato chips and French fries. There are other salty foods: sandwich meats, canned soups, packaged meals, and even some sports drinks. Sodas and other sweetened beverages can also increase the risk of stones if they contain high fructose corn syrup.
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Kidney Stone Symptoms In Men
Kidney stone symptoms will vary based on the size, amount, and placement of the stones. In some cases, stones are so small that one can not even feel them.
Usually, kidney stones will not be felt until they move around in the kidneys or begin to pass into ureters . At any point in their movement, they can become stuck, depending on their size and location in the body.
A lodged kidney stone in the body will block urine from traveling, causing swelling. This will cause intense pain below the ribs in ones side and back. Other symptoms of a blocked ureter are a pain in and around the lower abdomen and groin, fluctuating pain in the area that comes and goes with various intensity, and a burning sensation when urinating.
Additionally, discolored or foul-smelling urine, changes in the number of trips to urinate, changes in the amount of urine, and feelings of nausea and vomiting are all potential symptoms of a kidney stone blockage.
A fever accompanied by chills can be a sign that kidney stone blockage has caused an infection in the body.
Calcium Oxalate And Calcium Phosphate Stones
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones, and can be either calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. As mentioned, good hydration is important to prevent calcium stones. It may be surprising, but results of a randomized clinical trial show that people with calcium kidney stones should not cut back on dietary calcium. In fact, they should consume the recommended daily allowance of calcium . Why? Calcium binds to oxalate in the intestine and prevents its absorption through the gut, so there is less in the urine to form stones. Ideally, calcium should come from food. Talk with your doctor before taking calcium supplements, and increasing fluid intake might be beneficial depending on how much calcium you take.
Foods high in oxalates can increase the amount of oxalate in the urine. Consume these in moderation.
Calcium phosphate stones are less common than calcium oxalate stones. Causes include hyperparathyroidism , renal tubular acidosis , and urinary tract infections. It is important to understand if one of these conditions is behind the formation of calcium phosphate stones.
Good hydration can help prevent recurrence of calcium stones. In addition, thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide can help the kidney absorb more calcium, leaving less of it in the urine where it can form stones. Potassium citrate is another medication that can bind to calcium and help keep calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate in the urine from forming into stones.
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Should I Keep Taking My High Blood Pressure Medication
Hypertension is a common cause of kidney problems. Hypertension damages the blood vessels of the kidneys and affects their ability to filter the blood. Kidneys also help to regulate blood pressure, so kidney damage can make hypertension worse. Over time, hypertension can cause kidney failure.
If you are living with hypertension, you might take medication for the problem. You may be reading news reports questioning the safety of taking certain prescription medicines to manage their condition: ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers .
Sperati says that patients should stay on their medications and discuss concerns with their doctors.
Right now there are two sides debating this issue. One side is saying, based on animal studies, that these medications might be harmful, increasing risk of infection. The other says these same drugs might protect against lung damage and other problems associated with COVID-19.
But all of the professional societies have published articles recommending that you not change your medications, he says. Staying the course with your prescriptions, he adds, can lower the risk of heart and kidney damage from unchecked high blood pressure.
Sperati does recommend that patients with kidney issues stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can raise blood pressure and increase fluid volume in the body, which puts strain on the kidneys.
Diabetes And Kidney Failure
Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. Uncontrolled high blood sugar can damage kidneys. The damage can become worse over time.
Diabetic nephropathy, or kidney damage caused by type 1 or type 2 diabetes, cant be reversed. Managing blood sugar and blood pressure can help reduce damage. Taking medicines prescribed by your doctor is important, too.
If you have diabetes, your doctor will likely perform regular screenings to monitor for kidney failure.
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Tips To Avoid Kidney Stones
- Drink plenty of fluid, especially water. This is the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of getting another kidney stone. Aim for at least 2 ½ liters to 3 liters of fluid each day. People with cystine stones may want to aim for 4 liters .
- It may be helpful to limit animal protein, including meat, fish, seafood, poultry, and eggs.
- Eat calcium-rich foods instead of taking supplements.
- If you want to take a vitamin C supplement, make sure you take less than 1000 milligrams per day. High amounts of vitamin C may increase your risk of stones.
Ckd By Age Sex And Race/ethnicity
According to current estimates:*
- CKD is more common in people aged 65 years or older than in people aged 4564 years or 1844 years .
- CKD is slightly more common in women than men .
- CKD is more common in non-Hispanic Black adults than in non-Hispanic White adults or non-Hispanic Asian adults .
- About 14% of Hispanic adults have CKD.
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Kidney Stones
The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. This type happens when calcium and oxalate combine in your urine. It can happen when you have high quantities of oxalate, low amounts of calcium and arent drinking enough fluids.
Stones caused by uric acid are also fairly common. These come from a natural substance called purine, which is a byproduct of animal proteins .
How Are Kidney Stones Treated
Once diagnosed, your healthcare provider will first determine if you even need treatment. Some smaller kidney stones may leave your system when you urinate. This can be very painful. If your provider decides that you do need treatment, your options include medications and surgery.
Medications. Medications may be prescribed to:
- Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or, if youre in the emergency room, an IV narcotic.
- Manage nausea/vomiting.
- Relax your ureter so that the stones pass. Commonly prescribed medicines include tamsulosin and nifedipine .
You should ask your healthcare provider before you take ibuprofen. This drug can increase the risk of kidney failure if taken while youre having an acute attack of kidney stones especially in those who have a history of kidney disease and associated illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Surgery. There are four types of surgeries used to treat kidney stones. The first three are minimally invasive, meaning that the surgeon enters your body through a natural opening , or makes a small incision.
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Whats The Outlook For Kidney Stones
The outlook for kidney stones is very positive, although there is a risk of recurrence . Many kidney stones pass on their own over time without needing treatment. Medications and surgical treatments to remove larger kidney stones are generally very successful and involve little recovery time.
Its possible to get kidney stones multiple times throughout your life. If you keep developing kidney stones, your healthcare provider may work with you to discover why the stones happen. Once the cause is found, you may be able to make dietary changes to prevent future stones.
How Are Uric Acid Stones Treated
Small stones may pass on their own. It can take up to three weeks to pass. Even if the stones pass on their own, its still important to talk to your provider so you can prevent stones from forming again.
The most important step in uric acid stone treatment is drinking plenty of water to:
- Reduce the concentration of minerals in urine. Fluids dissolve the minerals, allowing them to leave your body through urine.
- Encourage you to pee often, which flushes away materials that may form stones.
Providers recommend that you drink enough to produce about 2.5 liters of urine. To produce that much urine, you need to drink a little more than 2.5 liters of fluid. Thats because you lose fluid through sweating or exercise. Aim for drinking about 3 liters of fluids per day.
Although drinking any fluid counts, its best to drink water. Your provider may prescribe medications as well to make the urine less acidic.
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How Do Uric Acid Stones Form
If you have high levels of uric acid, then crystals start to form. These uric acid crystals combine with other substances in your body and create a solid mass. The mass keeps growing. It may stay in the kidney or move down the urinary tract and settle in the ureter.
If the stones are very small, they may pass out of your body in your urine without too much pain. But if they dont pass, they cause urine to back up in the kidney, ureter, bladder or urethra. Thats when you get pain and other symptoms.
How Common Are Uric Acid Stones
Researchers estimate that one in 10 people in the United States will have a kidney stone at some point in their lives. Theyre more common in men than women. For men, the lifetime risk is about 19%. For women, its about 9%.
Most people dont get kidney stones before age 30. But many cases can happen earlier in life, even among children.
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Who Gets Kidney Stones What Are The Risk Factors
Kidney stones are common. According to the most recent data from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women in the United States have kidney stones at least once during their lifetime. Men are affected more often than women, and overweight and obese people are more likely to get a kidney stone than people of normal weight.
Risk factors include:
- Gender men are more likely than women to develop a kidney stone
- Age older people are more affected
- Race Caucasians are at higher risk
- Family History
- Certain medications including, indinavir , acyclovir , diuretics , sulfadiazine
- Associated conditions including, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, gout, hyperparathyroidism
- Anatomic conditions urinary obstruction, UPJ obstruction, urinary stasis
Once you have a kidney stone, you are also more likely to develop a future kidney stones.
The UCLA study Prevalence of kidney stones in the United States published in European Urology reported on the risk factors that make a person especially likely to develop a kidney stone.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Do I have a kidney stone or is there another reason for my symptoms?
- What type of kidney stone do I have?
- What size is my kidney stone?
- Where is my kidney stone located?
- How many kidney stones do I have?
- Do I need treatment or will I be able to pass the kidney stone?
- Should I be tested for kidney disease?
- What changes should I make to my diet?
- What type of procedure should I have to get rid of the stones?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Kidney stones can be frustrating at best and agonizingly painful at the worst. To stop your situation from getting worse, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The pain can get severe, and surgery might be necessary. Remember: dont skip your prescriptions, drink lots of water and follow any dietary guidelines. Also, remember that kidney stones are a temporary condition. They wont bother you forever.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2021.
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Who Gets Kidney Stones And Why
The lifetime risk of kidney stones among adults in the US is approximately 9%, and it appears that global warming may be increasing that risk. There are four major types of kidney stones: calcium oxalate/calcium phosphate, uric acid, struvite , and cystine.
A risk factor for all stones, regardless of type, is dehydration. Anyone who is prone to kidney stones should pay attention to good hydration. A randomized trial has shown that drinking 2 liters of fluid a day reduces the likelihood of stone recurrence by about half. The American Urological Association guideline for medical management of kidney stones recommends that patients who form kidney stones should aim to drink more than 2.5 liters of fluid per day.
Anyone with symptoms of kidney stones should be referred to a urologist. The initial evaluation will often include blood, urine, and imaging studies. Decisions about testing, and ultimately treatment, should be made jointly by the physician and the patient. Lets look at specific risk factors and treatment for each of the major stone types.
Duration Of Kidney Stones
A kidney stone often goes unnoticed until it starts to pass into your ureters. Once this happens, symptoms typically appear without warning. Youll likely feel sharp, stabbing pain at the bottom of your ribcage, though the pain can shift into the genital area as well.
The pain from kidney stones often comes in waves, and you may feel better for a few hours before the pain comes back.
Depending on the size of the stone, it can take up to six weeks to pass . Small stones may take only a few days to a week to pass. Your doctor will likely prescribe medications to help you manage the pain during this time.
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What Happens If I Get A Cystine Stone
he goal of treatment is to help keep stones from forming by reducing the amount of cystine in your urine. With less cystine in your urine, stones are less likely to form. It is important to work with your healthcare provider to reach this goal. Kidney stones can cause a lot of pain. You may need to take pain relievers while you wait for the stone to pass out of your body.
If a stone is very large and painful, or if it blocks the flow of urine, you may need surgery to remove it. There are a few different types of surgeries to help get rid of the stones. These include:
- Percutaneous nephrostolithotomy : a procedure that involves passing a special instrument through your skin and into your kidney to take out the stones or break them apart.
- Ureteroscopy: a tiny instrument is passed into the bladder, and then up the ureter , to remove the stone.
- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy : a procedure that uses shock waves to break up large stones into smaller pieces. However, this procedure does not work as well for cystine stones compared to other types of kidney stones.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cystinuria
Cystinuria only causes symptoms if you have a stone. Kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand. Others can become as large as a pebble or even a golf ball. Symptoms may include:
- Pain while urinating
- Sharp pain in the side or the back
- Pain near the groin, pelvis, or abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
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