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 and laparoscopic surgical approaches. He sees patients patients at USC-Keck urology clinics located in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and La Canada, CA. He is the founder of the www.KidneyStoners.org website.
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14 Responses to What are my chances of successfully passing my stone?- A KidneyStoners.org Infographic

  1. 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??

  2. 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!


  3. 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!,

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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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