What are my chances of successfully passing my stone?- A KidneyStoners.org Infographic

We frequently receive questions from patients trying to pass a stone who want to know whether they will be able to pass it successfully.  There are three main factors that your doctor uses to predict your chances of successful stone passage. These include stone size, stone location, and what length of time you have been trying to pass the stone. We go over each factor in the infographic below.


Coll, Varanelli and Smith, “Relationship of Spontaneous Passage of Ureteral Calculi to Stone Size and Location as Revealed by Unenhanced Helical CT”. American Journal of Roentgenology, 2002.

Miller and Kane, “Time to Stone Passage for Observed Ureteral Calculi: A Guide for Patient Education”. Journal of Urology, 1999.

About Dr. Mike Nguyen

Mike M Nguyen, MD, MPH, is a urologist and an Associate Professor of Clinical Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in the treatment of kidney stones with both surgery and dietary prevention and the in the treatment of kidney and prostate cancer using the latest robotic surgical approaches. He sees patients at clinics located in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and La Canada, CA. He is the founder of the www.KidneyStoners.org website.
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27 Responses to What are my chances of successfully passing my stone?- A KidneyStoners.org Infographic

  1. Jackie says:

    I just had my very first kidney stone. I’m 32. On Saturday I got sick and puked a few times. Then was ok. On Monday I was ok in the morning layed down for a nap when I woke up an hour later I was in so much pain I couldn’t get off the couch. I waited all day and around 9 that night I was taken to the er. They did a cat scan and found a stone. I was admitted and waited for surgery. They put in stints and removed the whole stone. It was 12 mm. I’m in more pain now than before they removed it. It burns when I pee bad. I’m on antibiotics and pain pills. Will have the stints removed next week. I will also find out what kind of stone it was. Hope I never have another one

  2. Zed says:


    I am 38 years old male and have 1mm stone in my upper pole of left kidney and 1mm in lower pole of right light kidney. I was having weird sort of urine routine so went for CT scan. I never used to drink much water but since my CT scan report came out I am drinking around 2-3L per day. What are chances of passing these stones? Should I drink lemon juice to get some movement in these stones? I think left is more mobile isn’t it? I heard it really hurt bad when stone starts moving down?

  3. Denise Johnston says:

    I went to ER last thursday afternoon was in excurciating pain for 6 hours, did CT scan and found out have 6 mm stone was admitted overnight but then pain has gone completely. doc said 80% chance stone will pass it hasn’t it has been 5 days nothing, when i was straining my urine i noticed some maybe slivers or sand like substance is it possible its breakiing up?? drinking water like crazy but always have taking flomax as doctor perscribed for 1 week. i am 55 and NEVER had any kidney issues before or infections. Just went to have a KUB xray done will then see doctor. doctor told me when i was in hospital that stone is as low as it can be not sure what that means. been reading about all this ureterscopy and i DON”T want to do that i want to just wait to see if it passes…. please any advice will help. or wait to have the uerterscopy for a few months?? is that bad…. not a fan of this invasive surgery..

  4. bhuvnesh gupta says:

    I have a stone of about 12 mm in penail urethra

  5. bhuvnesh gupta says:

    I have passed my 2 stone earlier (may be these are small).but now I have multiple stones 1 is in my bladder(1.26 cm), 1 is in my right kidney (2 cm) and several small stones.please suggest me what can I do? please suggest me.

  6. sushma says:

    i have akidney stone around6.4mm can you give me the suggestions for passing out the stone and tell me the diet also

  7. Milo W says:

    I just passed my first (hopefully only) stone at the ripe old age of 29, despite the initial pain occurring 5 MONTHS AGO. The whole process was sudden, frustrating, and confusing, as I’m sure it is for everyone their first time. I’m in great shape and naturally very athletic, so I have no doubt my poor diet — which I’d previously gone unpunished for — was the culprit.

    I went through the typical struggles like most everyone the first week, though the first 12 hours was by far the worst for me. I managed the pain by spending much of the day laying down, drinking at least a gallon of water along with low sugar juices (cranberry & apple), and ibuprofen. I cannot stress how effective basic ibuprofen was for me — 600-800 mg a pop, two or three times daily.

    Anyway, I started feeling like myself after two weeks and moved on with life. It was my understanding either the stone will dissipate or pass on its own at a later date; since my pain was gone, I stopped thinking about it and simply tried to be smarter about eating junk-food and upping my water intake. Fast forward those five months and I began feeling mild discomfort in my groin a few days ago, as if I had to urinate despite not having any fluid to expel. It was annoying, but not painful. I had forgotten about my stone and feared maybe another was on the way, or could the original have been hiding out after all this time? Well, I’m pretty sure it was the original as I passed a 5.5 mm stone rather uneventfully this evening.

    There’s still much I don’t understand about kidney stones and I can’t say my case is typical, but I thought I’d share with the hope it might help someone out there suffering through their battle with these evil intruders. Best of luck and know you aren’t alone!

    • Alan says:


      This sounds very like me but on a shorter timescale (thankfully) however I’m on
      The frustrating stage that I need to pee but can’t, it feels like my bladders filling up as it’s blocked :/ any fluid that does come out Really stings. how long did this last for and is the pain unbearable when your passing the stone? I’ve been told mines 6mm too…

      Kind regards


    • Matt says:

      This is my situation also. I had my first bout and hopefully last about 3 mo ago. Initially a Typical kidney stone experience . After 2 -3 days of hell I all of a sudden felt better. Never a sign of passing the stone. Urologist figured a must have passed it and I did not see. I went for a follow up KUB about a mo after and X-ray showed all clear.
      Well fast forward to about 2 weeks ago. I had the same symptoms your describing. Feeling the need to urinate constantly, discomfort and mild pain in what seemed to be my bladder. I made another appointment with my doc and he said that he didn’t think it was anything and that the X-ray showed nothing. I was concerned and asked for a ct scan…..Low and behold the scan revealed the stone was still there!! Doc said it hasn’t moved since my original X-ray and recommended lithotripsy. I really do not want to get this procedure and am judging water like crazy to get this bugger out. I think it’s finally moving cause I’m experiencing a lot of bleeding and some mild pain radiating into the tip of my penis. ( these are signs apparently that the stone may be entering the bladder) im scheduled for the litho in 3 days ….will keep posted …

  8. Deborah says:

    I’m 32 years old and was just released from the E.R on the 6th with the knowledge of having a kidney stone. This was my first stone. The E.R doc told me it was only 2mm in size and from my understanding that’s a pretty small stone. I came home and was dealing with bouts of nausea and extreme pain in my right side. For the first day i had to stay medicated due to the pain being unbearable. But however i don’t feel it moving anymore and I feel no pain but I know i haven’t passed it yet. I have strained all my urine and still nothing. My urine still has a strong odor but im not seeing much cloudiness or blood. My question is whether I could have passed it and not felt it or if it just dissolved or could it be lodged somewhere? I go to see the Urologist on the 20th but what if I still haven’t passed it by then? They won’t know what type of stone my body is developing if I don’t have a specimen to give him. Any kind of advice would be most welcome. Kind of wigging out since I have never had this happen before.

    • kay says:

      I recommend that you vist your Urologist,a CT may be required to know the postion.I’ve been battling to expel the intruder for the past 6weeks for a 5mm stone, been on Flowmax ever since i was discahrged from the ER but the stone is yet to pass.I don’t look forward to any surgery during this holiday at all.

      Best Wishes.

  9. I have been dealing with a 9mm kidney stone for 3 years. The last 6 months I am in agonizing pain almost on a daily basis. I have left sided pain with pain radiating to my back. I see my doctor regarding this and he tells me that my kidney stone is 3 years old. An old stone would not cause that pain. I can’t get a ct ordered or even an u/s ordered. Is it not possible that this torture I am going thru is caused by the stone??

  10. Amber says:

    I passed a 12mm kidney stone last year, only god knows how I did that. Was in extreme pain, first few days was hurting bad down there. Got worse everyday, the last day i couldn’t pee couldn’t even sit I felt like I was dying, drunk alot of water and took a few hours but finally came out, I was bleeding for days. My doctors and er doctors was amazed I passed that huge stone. I’ve been sick for a year or so turns out they doctors found a 18mm kidney stone in my right kidney. And 8.5mm in my left kidney Every visit it was bigger and bigger, right before my surgery it was 24mm. Had the 8.5mm lasered and they placed stents in each kidney. Had the stents in for close to 2 months. Had to have that tube put in my back for the 24mm then he went up in my back and kidney and grinded it up. Had to keep that tube in for a week. Was horrible. I hope they find a cure soon. I’ve had over 15 kidney stones since I was 18. I’m now 26 All passable until the last 2. Now I’ve been hurting again. It’s been almost 3 weeks since my stent and tube removal and my left kidney keeps hurting very bad. Is this normal? Or maybe another stone?

    • Karen Smith says:

      Amber, are you by any chance taking vitamin D supplements? If so, you should have both your vitamin D25 and vitamin 125D blood levels tested. Doctors usually test for D25 and then start supplements without also checking the 125D. There are certain disease processes which can actually cause kidney stones under these circumstances, when the D25 level is low and the 125D is not. Best wishes to you and I hope you feel better soon!


  11. Brandon p says:

    I have a 6mm stone that just left my kidney….. The pain was unbearable.Went to the er and they did the usual pain injections.the resident seemed a bit worried,so ,I made an appt. with a urologist, and he said” I had a 50% chance of passing it on my own. It’s been 6 days and at times the pain is severe.I think I know what a 9mo. pregnant woman feels … JUST GET IT OUT OF ME!,

  12. Virgie says:

    I have been trying to pass a 3mm stone for 2 months. I have had tremendous pain that even pain pills don’t help. I took the tamsulosin, but it did not help. I am taking phosfood and revive. Still no relief. Anyone have a good remedy besides surgery?

  13. alex says:

    Speaking of kidney stones … Is it possible to pass a kidney stone through the ureter without feeling it? I am having a recurring occasional stabbing pain (quite sharp) that feels like it’s right next to my bladder. I’ve passed a kidney stone before; I know what it feels like as it tears its way down, and there was no such pain at all.
    I have an image in my mind of a nearly microscopic stone slipping all the way down without notice only to jam up at some point right before the bladder. If it continues, I’ll mention it to my doctor, but I just thought I’d ask.

  14. Lesa LeFevre says:

    On a Friday night I went to the emergency room at the hospital. I was in a lot of pain. CT Scan showed I was passing a kidney stone and that their was a large stone still in my left kidney. Thay gave me pain pills and sent me home. I was told that if the pain got worse or if I started to throw up and feel worse to come back to the ER. I did fine on Saturday but on Sunday morning I felt achie. My pain pills didn’t seam to help. That night I felt chilled to the point that I had a hard time getting warmed. I got to chattering so bad I had to take a hot bath to get warm. When I woke in the morning on Monday I felt nice and cuddly warm under my covers but when I got up to use the restroom I became really chilled. My restroom has a good base board heater and I cranked it up all the way. I was feeling like I was drunk, my head was swimming. It took me two hours to get ready for the day. The same thing happened on Tuesday. I called my doctor, I was told to go to the ER. On the way to the hospital I noticed a cold soar starting on my lip. They checked my temp. It was ok. They had me take off my shoes and shirt and bra. I imeadiatly went into cold chills. They checked my temp again and it was 103. CT Scan showed that a stone had blocked my kidney. My blood pressure dropped real low and they had to put the IV in my neck. They took me into surgery and placed a stint from the kidney to the bladdar then set in a cathater. The stone blocked all flow from the kidney. In return, infection set in. I was so sick I was in ICU two days and another day and a half in a room. I’m set for surgery in two weeks. I’m taking antibotics and drinking a lot of water. This is a down side to waiting. I’ve been so sick I just want it to be over with.

    • Arn says:

      Dear Lesa,
      I am weighing the options of waiting vs surgery. Just curious to know if you knew the size of your stone. Hope you are free of stones now.


  15. Brenda says:

    I have an “unobstructed” 6mm stone in my right kidney. In December I had a CT scan that showed it was 4mm. My doctors think it’s the same stone that’s increased in size. I’ve had blood in my urine (oftentimes visible to the naked some, sometimes very much).

    I would like to try to pass it but am concerned at this point that if I do, it can get blocked and cause more problems. And why would it just sit in my kidney without trying to pass?

    • Jeff says:

      Dear Brenda,

      Please don’t worry too much. About three weeks ago, I did an advanced yoga position that dislodged a 4mm kidney stone. It left my kidney and entered my ureter on an early Saturday morning. I went to the urgent care on the same day. There was some ‘pressure’ but not a great deal of pain. Two days later I had a CT that revealed it as a 4mm stone. They gave me some Flomax pills to relax the ureter and bladder muscles. They also gave me a funnel to urinate through – so that the stone could be caught and examined. Well, I took the Flomax pill on 11 pm and when I woke up at around 7 am, I urinated through the strainer and I heard a “click”…. it was the stone. I did notice that the urine was a dark color while I was urinating.

      Well, the stone passed and I didn’t feel a thing!

  16. Waqar says:

    My wife have stone in right kidney 10mm. she is 26 years and the the stone been from 60 days.
    She is using some medicines as per her doctor advice but the stone not yet moved from the place as conducted to ultra sound test which concluded it.
    She is worried for the same, she is continue drinking water.
    Can you suggest some treat or medicine for same?

  17. Adrian says:

    After having pain and visible blood loss on and off for about 6 months (and nothing being spotted on ultrsound or IVU) I had a 6mm stone identified by CT scan at the outlet to my left Kidney. My consultant advised that I take one 400mcg Tamsulosin capsule daily. The drug widens the tubes from the Kidney and bladder (they’re meant to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate). They caused a few mild side effects but I was amazed that after about 4 weeks, largely pain free, I suddenly passed the stone; more uncomfortable than painful (although I did load up on pain killers when I thought it was on its way!) and no blood. I’d had a smaller stone (about 4.5mm and very jagged) about 14 years ago that had to be removed so I was very pleased with the outcome this time round.

  18. Leona says:

    If a stone left in the ureter and does not posess any problems such as blood in urine, pain in side, that means its not moving which can lead to serius problems. It can be stuck in which if it is it will continue to grow and cause obstruction of the kidney or will rupture his ureter. He needs immediate doctors attention.

  19. Karol says:

    How did this turn out for your husband? I have a 3 mm stone still in my kidney and it causes some stabbing pain here and there. The urologist told me to wait another 3 weeks and if it has not come out then we’ll pursue more aggressive treatment.

  20. gayle mudge says:

    My husband has a stone in the ureter seen on an X-ray and CT scan. He has no pain or any other symptoms. should something be done or leave it alone?

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