Kidney Stones - Treatments

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What is the treatment for kidney stones? How long does it take to pass a kidney stone?

Most kidney stones eventually pass through the urinary tract on their own within 48 hours, with ample fluid intake. Ketorolac (Toradol), an injectable anti-inflammatory drug, and narcotics may be used for pain control when over-the-counter pain control medications are not effective. Intravenous pain medications can be given when nausea and vomiting are present.

Although there are no proven home remedies to dissolve kidney stones, home treatment may be considered for patients who have a known history of kidney stones. Since most kidney stones, given time, will pass through the ureter to the bladder on their own, treatment is directed toward control of symptoms. Home care in this case includes the consumption of plenty of fluids. Ibuprofen (Advil) may be used as an anti-inflammatory medication if there is no contraindication to its use. If further pain medication is needed, stronger narcotic pain medications may be recommended.

There are several factors which influence the ability to pass a stone. These include the size of the person, prior stone passage, prostate enlargement, pregnancy, and the size of the stone. A 4 mm stone has an 80% chance of passage while a 5 mm stone has a 20% chance. Stones larger than 9 mm-10 mm rarely pass without specific treatment.

Some medications have been used to increase the passage rates of kidney stones. These include calcium channel blockers such as nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia, Afeditab, Nifediac) and alpha blockers such as tamsulosin (Flomax). These drugs may be prescribed to some people who have stones that do not rapidly pass through the urinary tract.

For kidney stones that do not pass on their own, a procedure called lithotripsy is often used. In this procedure, shock waves are used to break up a large stone into smaller pieces that can then pass through the urinary system.

Surgical techniques have also been developed to remove kidney stones when other treatment methods are not effective. This may be done through a small incision in the skin (percutaneous nephrolithotomy) or through an instrument known as an ureteroscope passed through the urethra and bladder up into the ureter.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Terryt, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 29

I have had stones since early 20s and I had lithotripsy twice to treat multiple stones. First attack was nausea for about 2 weeks. I thought it was something more serious. When the stone came first time pain was so severe, thought I was having heart attack. Pain starts in the back and radiates toward testicles. Blood may or may not be in urine, and have had X-rays both showing stone and not showing. I got antibiotic and pain medications and forced liquid down till it moves. When I sat in hot tub, it helped. I don't even worry anymore, as have learned that you can pass stones in excess of 2mm on your own.

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Comment from: BexxieB, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

My kidney stones were treated with pain medication. Ibuprofen works amazingly but sometimes something stronger is needed. That's about all I ever got from the emergency room. The last time I went to the hospital they thought I had 2 stones and sent me home with pain medication to pass them naturally. It finally passed my ureter and then I had irritation to my urethra. I thought it was from passing the stone but the irritation wouldn't go away. The stone was stuck in there somehow. I was able to pass water normally but it felt like a urinary tract infection (UTI). I drank so much water and tried diuretics but nothing worked. It stayed in there for weeks. Finally went into the shower and squatted to relieve myself and 3 small (2mm) and one massive (4x5x6) stones came out without pain. The two stones the doctors thought they saw on the x-ray was one huge stone with two points on either end. I'm actually pretty proud I was able to pass that one.

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