Letting a kidney stone pass

Many kidney stones will pass spontaneously and will not require surgical treatment. Whether a stone can pass successfully primarily depends on the size of the stone. Based on several studies of stone patients, a size criteria of 5mm  or less (about 0.2 inches) is generally felt to predict a reasonable chance (50-70%) for spontaneous passage.

The location of a kidney stone when it is diagnosed also is predictive of likely success at spontaneous passage. Stones that are more distal (closer to the bladder) are more likely to pass than stones that are more proximal (closer to the kidneys).

The decision to allow a stone to pass spontaneously will also take in account the amount of pain you are experiencing, your medical health, the possibility of infection, and other factors. Typically, a period of 4-6 weeks is allowed to give stones a chance to pass.

Medications to help pass kidney stones are now more commonly being given to patients experiencing an active stone episode. These medications can improve the chances of successful passage of a stone, decrease the pain associated with a stone episode, and decrease the time required for passage.

34 Responses to Letting a kidney stone pass

  1. Jeff says:

    I started having pain about five days ago. I went to the ER and they did a CAT scan. I have a 7 mm stone. Any suggestions would be helpful. I can’t get in for the pulverizing procedure for three weeks. Currently I’m not having any pain but drinking a lot of lemon in my water. The Flomax they gave me makes me tired as hell. My first experience with a kidney stone

    • Chase says:

      I’m currently dealing with my third stone. You’re basically doing all you can do at this point. Just remember to keep pushing fluids and try to stay on the Flomax of possible. Is there any way you could take it at bedtime to offset some of the fatigue? A little trick I’ve learned along the way….when you’re having an acute attack of pain try taking a hot shower or bath. I usually do this until my pain med kicks in. Doesn’t take away all the discomfort but makes it manageable until the hydrocodone takes effect. Good luck to you and try to stay positive. You will get through this!

  2. Adil says:

    Hey Guys ! I am suffering from stones since I was 20 and now I am 30 years old. Every one or two years, the stones come back and I visit doctor. Here are few things that I do to relieve the pain and flush the stone. I am not suggesting it to any one, just telling what I am doing over the years when stone comes back.
    1) Mix a lemon + Tea Spoon of Natural Honey in Glass of mild ( not very cold or hot) water and drink it atleast once in day , especially in morning.
    2) Take one cup of tea and add same amount of water in it and drink it.
    3) Drink Green Tea.

    Get well soon every one…..

  3. Lon Strickler says:

    I’m 56 and have suffered with kidney stones since I was 16. The past 3 years have been the worst. I’ve passed a total of 122 stones during that time period…normally in the 4-5 mm range. I currently have a larger stone on the right side that I have felt for over 3 months. I believe it is in the lower third of the ureter and I only have sporadic pain…but the urge to urinate is constant. I’m now on Flomax and hoping this will pass soon. I’m going to try the massager method described earlier in this thread. We’ll see what happens.

  4. Joe says:

    My struggle is the persistent urge to urinate. I did not experience the sharp, stabbing pain that others have with larger stones. At the most, it was a dull ache early on in my left kidney area. After ruling out a UTI, but observing slight hematuria in the urinary analysis, I went in for XR KUB and a 0.3 cm (3mm) stone was found in the general lower ureter area (KUB is not as good as CT for precise location or shape). From all I’ve read, this size should be relatively simple to pass, but for now I still feel as though it has yet to enter my bladder through the one way valve. I am drinking over 2 L of water daily with lemon in hopes to possibly dissolve and flush the stone further. I may still see a urologist for a CT just to ensure there isn’t a barb impeding the progress (my buddy had a barb on his stone which he had removed through outpatient surgery). Fingers crossed, best of luck to all!

  5. cb says:

    Just passed what my doctor told me was the largest of 3 stones at 4 mm (3.7 mm, but who’s quibbling here? The damned thing felt like Kilimanjaro to me). The thing took FIVE WEEKS from the point of passing down to the bladder from the kidneys to actually coming out and it felt like a UTI the whole time after it got past the kidneys. The whole damned experience start to finish was horrifying, from the the unbearabable pain of the kidney stone, to the the after effects of feeling like I had to pee 24×7 even when I’d just peed, to the tingling sensationation when urinating which was damned close to an orgasm (OK, that part was kinda OK) to the actual friggin’ ALIEN COMING OUT OF MY PENIS while I was peeing. Since nothing both solid and the size of a tooth had ever emerged from there before, I was taken aback and a bit ..well…grossed out. Its like a bone just emerged from my penis.. and a BIG GODDAMNED BONE compared to the size of that opening, from my point of view. The thing was not round, or uniform, and was jagged and looked mean and sharp and I’m already lining up my gizzards and penis for therapy after expelling that evil, undead alien. But even knowing …vaguely..what was s’pose to happen, I wasn’t prepared because no one described what the hell comes out completely unexpectedly. I’m just just minding my own damned business peeing the Colorado River just like the last five weeks, bracing for the slight burn thats very close to having an orgasm at a public urinal, when FRIGGIN’ BLOODY BROWN BOULDERS start tumblingly out of the stream. I cant even describe them other than too big to come out of my penis and looking kinda like decayed teeth. It was like a weird horror movie, except not. Still nauseous. Dunno if that’s physical or mental reaction to the whole thing. This sucks is all I can say, but I actually feel a bit better.

    • Amanda says:

      Omg, I’m a stoner as well. Suffer with them since I was 18 now 35, I have to say I’ve never felt so bad for someone while laughing uncontrollably at the same time. You’re quit the character, I’m sorry you’ve had to experience this babe, but thank you so much for my laugh today.
      Feel free to send me anymore episodes you may have, makemesmile7493@yahoo.com lol sorry for your penis my jay jay is going to be experiencing the same this here soon. 3 stones 5mm each

    • Kenise says:

      Holy schnikees! Your story was both HILARIOUS and frightening!!! I have a 5mm stone that’s in my ureter now for 7 days, and it’s KILLING ME😩 I have SEVERAL more still in both kidneys..just effing kill me now! DEAR LORD😖🔫

      • Kim Hefner says:

        OMG, I’ve been vomiting all day and still got a good laugh out of your vivid but accurate description. I’ve had this bloody 7mm asshole of a stone passing for two months now. I’m 36 and this is my nineteenth stone, and this one is by far the worst one yet. I can’t wait to piss this out and flush it straight to hell where it belongs!!! I feel all your pains and hope none of us has to go through this shit ever again…. Wishful thinking. Peace out 😲

  6. Richard S says:

    i was diagonsed with kidneystones.Doctor used catscan and found one 3 cm stone passing thru the urethra. Two days passed and the pain was experienced. I passed one stone.It was half the size of a pinhead.Since then I have passed 5 smaller ones, the size of a pelet in a shotgun shel. A week has passed and my hip still hurts.My right testicle feels bruised too. I have not been to the urologist yet. I would like to know if all the stones are passed. I dont want to go thru that excruciating pain again.

  7. Jerri says:

    I am a 62yo woman that has had kidney stones for years as I take lots of prednosoine for Gout. For the last month I have back pain over the left kidney. I have had several CT scans and ultrasounds, the 7mm stone hasn’t moved but I have pain everyday all day. Any suggestions other than going to a Uralogist which I have not been to.

  8. Harry says:

    Hi guys,,, I have 1.2cm stone in left kidney.. What should I do doctors are saying for surgery and I have friend of mine.. Who is saying that having medication for 3 weeks will remove the stone…

    • Shaun says:

      I have had many many stones and am passing some now and a stone that size will require surgery find a urologist that will do shock wave litho and that knocks you completely out not much pain during the hole experience I have had several surgeries and if at all possible avoid scaring of the uterer and stints stints SUCK worst and most painful week of my life the pain is beyond words
      If you or any body else on here needs advice hit me up I have been dealing with these for years now and big and offer couple surgeries and after giving birth to a couple dozen of these Boulder size pieces of glass feels like I’m peeing razor blades
      Happy to help any one out

      • Jeff says:

        I am currently going through my first passage of the stone. I went to the emergency department last week and they did a CAT scan. The size of the stone 7 mm. They said they can’t get me in for the shockwave therapy until September 4, which seems insane to me. Any recommendations? Thanks. Jeff

  9. kay says:

    Hi there,
    I went to the ER by myself three weeks ago knowing fully well based on the symptoms that kidney stone is here again.I was diagnosed with a 5mm stone and the Dr.was hopeful that i will pass it.I visited my Urologist a few day after leaving the ER (spent 3hrs),the same Urologist that performed the Shockwave litho surgery about a year ago and he confirmed that the stone had moved but not yet in my bladder ,positive sign. However it’s been 4 weeks,i strongly believe the sotne is still there but i dont feel any pain.My concern is that i hope this will not damage my kidney.I’m still on Flowmax and drinking gallons of water everyday.

    Any advise on how to pass this sotne and the implications of it still there.The Urologist did not advise or preventive measures despite the huge cost of last year’s surgery and the various test that had been done.
    Please advise, i don’t want any surgery or want to go throug the discomfort of stent insertion again, huh that was painful during the last surgery.


  10. John says:

    I have passed six small(under 8 mm) stones and had one 1.2 cm surgically removed. I still have a 2 cm in the right kidney. My advice is to try to get your stone analyzed. A simple change of diet can sometimes prevent more stones from forming. Some medications, called diuretics, can cause stones.

  11. nilima says:

    i have a question.i am 45 yrs old woman.I am diagnosed with 14 mm stone.It has passed through kideny and currently in ureter .Can sombody tell me how to pass it naturally?

    • John says:

      My friend used KGP Flush (Kidney, Gallbladder, & Pancreas Support) to successfully pass her 8mm kidney stone. Go to http://www.baselinerewards.com/B17681FCE5 and click SHOP to find KGP Flush™ Kidney, Gallbladder, & Pancreas Support. You can also read articles about kidney stones and KGP Flush (and other health concerns).

    • Nick says:

      I have the same stone too in same ureter however I am taking a ayurvedic medicine that is offered by a man in a village free only on sunday. I am getting benefit if you want to try you can

    • Diane says:

      you passed a 14mm stone through your ureter and you are alive to tell us? That is huge. I’ve been told that more than 7mm will not pass….

  12. Arn says:

    4mm Stone inside kidney with no pain. Don’t fix it unless a problem? or Do surgery?

    All, any opinions or suggestions based on your experience or expertise?
    I am told i have a 4mm non-obstructive stone in the inferior lobe. This 4mm was found today. 3 Days back i was rushed to emergency and they found a 3mm stone close to bladder. I passed it (no pain now) and i think it should have passed out. During my consultation with urologist, he said there is another 4mm in the kidney that was not found during my emergency. The urologist says i must take a non-invasive surgery. I am a bit concerned and need more input before i decide. Thanks much.

    • Shaun says:

      Shock wave litho for sure go to sleep wake up no pain no more stone no problem if that sucker hits the uterer o man I feel for you I have passed one a quarter inch before and words can’t decribe the pain I have pics to prove I am passing one at this very moment NOT FUN

  13. Chase C says:

    I just had two episodes this week. I have had a total of 14 now in 11 years. It’s been 3 years since my last major episode and now it’s like they’re coming to make up for it! Been having them since I was 17. Luckily they’ve only hurt when they started traveling and I’ve always been able to get them out. I don’t even go to the hospital anymore because they won’t do anything for me except shoot me up with strong meds. The last major one in 2011 the doctor wouldn’t scan me and said “With your history, I don’t want to fry your gonads.” I’m still waiting for one to come out that I had earlier this July. I can feel it in there, it’s just not “there” yet waiting to blast out!

  14. John Roberts says:

    Jump variations, such as 1/2 inch micro stutter jumps (like a jackhammer), to long jumps with a sudden heel stop (can be too much jolting to your head so you may want to be leaned over a sink when you do this one), to hula hip whips can help, as you never know what works all depending on the location, shape and size of the stone.

    I had a 7mm stone and it took 6 months to get to within 1 cm of the bladder and then got stuck in the narrow entrance which my urologist said was a one-way valve that is hard to pass stones through. Today, using its location on the X-ray as a guide, and after drinking lots of water and waiting for kidney discomfort (means urine is creating pressure to the kidneys at that time, as the ureter does not have nerves) I applied a Handheld Vibrating Massager to the area for the first time as I jumped up and down, and within an hour I finally passed it all the way through and into the toilet. From something I had read on the internet I leaned forward while going to the bathroom and the gush was so strong it came all the way out although it felt like an electric shock when it did that. I could feel the HVM’s vibrations though my whole body, and I am guessing it had the effect of the 70’s electric football game that used vibration to move players across a metal playing table.

    Research backs up to some extent that vibration massage is effective at removing kidney stones. See: “Effect of vibration massage therapy after extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy in patients with lower caliceal stones”.

    For the record, I used a “Wahl All-Body Massage Powerful Therapeutic Massager” with the suction-cup looking insert and on high and used it while jumping for about 2-3 minutes and that was it. I picked up the massager new at CVS Pharmacy for $22 but I would guess any fancier massager of this type should do the trick as well.


    Research from Koşar A, Oztürk A, Serel TA, Akkuş S, Unal OS.:

    Massager I used was a “Wahl All-Body Massage Powerful Therapeutic Massager”:

    • Island Guy says:

      Thanks for posting your info on the massager. I’m going to try the massager I own, a heavy duty, double headed one I use for back and neck issues.
      Had first experience with stones passing about 6 weeks ago with 2 stones, one 5 mm, one smaller. Worst pain was 6-7 on 0-10 scale, bad but not pass-out level.
      Went to an ER. ER put in an IV to replace liquids and give me a pain med. CT scan identified the stones. 5mm stone passed into bladder that evening in the ER, pain completely disappeared. Never saw or felt anything pass out of the urethra. Got a prescription for 5 tamsulosin (Flomax) capsules and I took one that night. No more symptoms until tonight
      Since first event have increased consumption of water using pint/500ml bottles with a squirt of ReaLemon and a little sugar to tone down the sourness. 4-6 bottles per day plus regular liquids, e.g., coffee.
      Tonight woke up with back pain on right side below the ribs, just like the last time I had a stone passing. Immediately made and consumed 2 bottles of the light lemonade which eased pain. Took one of the remaining tamsulosin. After about an hour pain has almost completely passed.

  15. Dr Rob Bate says:

    Had three stones, a ten by twelve in the R renal pelvis, a six mm in the left calyx and a two mm in the R ureter.
    The two mil nearly killed me, gross haematuria and awful, nauseating deep pain for several days.
    The big one was removed via a trans-ureteric approach.
    The six mm was left under review. Recent episode of mild haematuria, moderate abdominal pain and mild feeling of wretchedness for a few days. On recent ultrasound, it’s gone!
    So, can confirm that little stones can be absolute killers, bigger, smoother, stones may pass with comparatively mild symptoms.

  16. Rohit Shukla says:

    I also had 2 kidney stone. One was 7 mm and another one was 4mm. Smaller stone was in kidney and the bigger one in bladder. It took one and half month to pass. I took homeopathic medicines along with i had taken lots of water.
    I strictly followed my diet as doctor prescribed. After passing it i wrote a article about kidney stones and how i passed it

    • tm says:

      How did u get rid of it the article is gone…what did u take holistically? Apple cider vinegar?

    • Ashutosh says:

      Hi Rohit,

      I too have 7mm x 5mm x 5mm stone, please let me which homeopathic medicine I should take.

      I have started taking Clearstone, 3 times daily.

      Any suggestions will be welcome.


  17. Michael says:

    Had discomfort in kidney areas (about a 2 on a 1 to 10 scale) went to er and was told I had tiny kidney stones in both kidneys. Its been 7 Weeks and I still have the discomfort, not to painful just annoying. Been drinking massive amounts of water and cut all other liquids out. No blood or pain when I urinate. Felt a few pass from the kidney to the bladder, but nothing after that. Anyone with similar symptoms. Looking for answers. Thanks.

    • Ricardo says:

      Pretty similar to what Michael is describing here. I had my first episode of kidney stones about 2 or 3 years ago (I was 29 or 30 at the time). Felt intense pain during the night, but not as absolutely excrutiating as I’ve read other people say. It was a 6 out of 10. Went to the ER, they found a kidney stone. The doctor gave me the option to wait it pass or have a ureteroscopy (which my insurance did cover), I chose to have it out of myself. The doctor said the stone broke off as they were removing it. Went back home that night, feeling better. Had intense pain for 2 more days, until suddenly nothing. I did not see it pass.

      About 6 months ago I had a pain episode that lasted about a day, and also stopped out of nowhere.

      Now I have been in a mild pain on the kidney and groin areas for the past 5 days or so (pain level about 3 out of 10). Taking a lot of water. A lot. I have seen tiny (less than a mm I suppose) black formations about 1 in each 7 times I pee. Pain has reduced since yesterday, but not too much. It is bearable, just annoying. Gets worse if I sit down for too long. Does this indicate it’s a stone that may pass on its own soon?

      • diamond girl says:

        Ricardo, Your situation sounds a lot like mine. It sounds like little flecks of stones maybe passing soon. At least, that was my experience. Sitting made it so much worse. The discomfort subsided once a couple of stones passed And it happened within 24hours. I stayed a little achey the rest of the day but my nausea and headache and ability to sit improved Almost immediately. Still dealing with this issue on and off for the last 2 weeks.

      • diamond girl says:

        michael Your situation sounds a lot like mine. It sounds like little flecks of stones maybe passing soon. At least, that was my experience. Sitting made it so much worse. The discomfort subsided once a couple of stones passed And it happened within 24hours. I stayed a little achey the rest of the day but my nausea and headache and ability to sit improved Almost immediately. Still dealing with this issue on and off for the last 2 weeks.

    • Iris says:

      How tiny were your stones, smaller than 4 mm?

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