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.

149 Responses to Letting a kidney stone pass

  1. kannan says:

    I have a kidney stone of 12mm stuck in left Ureter just above Urethra can someone advise is surgery the only option or if there any other option. Thank you for your advise

  2. Thanks for the info on kidney stones. I didn’t know that the location of the stone can determine how easy it is to pass. So, if stones closer to the bladder pass easier, why aren’t they called bladder stones?

  3. FAF says:

    Just one hour before I post my experience, after passing my 13mm, still I’m passing smaller, now the sensation if smaller stone so.e what reduce, I’m not done any surgery every time in my worst pains I was decided to get admit but fortunate the same night or some time very next date I have passed important is we have keep our frustration low, and wait for few days, but same time we must know our body capacity, if you panic then doctors know how to deal the things, at the same time I.pray if any one in the state of pains they immediately get out of this tough time and get soonwell
    Thanks bye good luck

  4. Isabel says:

    Starting developing problems with cystine stones at the beginning of the year, and I’d say I’ve passed about 6 since January. They’re all small enough, the biggest one being 3mm. But this morning I woke up with the worst renal colic pain. It was so bad that I actually vomited 3 times. Doctor prescribed me Difene and a letter for A&E just in case I need to go in.

    I’ve been drinking lots of water though, and the pain seems to have subsided considerably. I have a feeling that the stone has now moved into the bladder, but God knows how long it will be there for. I’m just worried that the pain I had this morning suggests a pretty big stone that I won’t be able to pass when the time comes :(

    Would love to hear other people’s stories and possibly learn some coping methods. As my stones are 100% cystine, this is genetic and not a whole lot I can do about it!

  5. arbaz says:

    I am 19 years old boy i have 8 mm calculus in mid uretra and 6 mm calculus stone in left kidney .this is my first time of experiencing the horrible pain can any one tell me how can i pass them out

  6. Bobby says:

    I have a kidney stone of 13.8MM x 8MM stuck in left Ureter just above Urethra can someone advise is surgery the only option or if there any other option. Please email me at samsung954@hotmail.com… Thank you for your advise.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    So i had my first stone when i was 16. I have had ruffly 1 every year since that time. I am 31 now. Right now i have a 4mm stone stuck in my ureter right before it hits the bladder. It has been there for about 6 weeks. I am worried that it wont move and i might have to have surgery again. I have had a total of 6 surgery to remove stones. All had stents, but only 1 surgery involving lithotripsy. The rest have been what i call the roto rooter, where they go up and laser them and pull the big parts out. I prefer that one to the lithotripsy. I dont know if it was the doctor i was seeing at the time, but that one was the most painful. I was actively passing stones even after they pulled the stent out.(in truth i passed all of the stones after they pulled the stent) I was out of work for a month and a half. With the roto rooter one, yea i feel like i was kick in my undercarriage, but the recovery is smoother and i was back to normal in less than 2 weeks. I am screwed by my genetics. I have tried herbal remedies, old wives tales, and even a change of diet. Sadly i still produce them. The make up of my stones is a strange mixture of 4 different types. Yea me for being the weird one. Anyways… should i seek surgery for the stone that is currently stuck? I am worried about it not moving and it not wanting to leave my bladder if it does decide to get unstuck.

  8. Kait Adkison says:

    back^ not bag

  9. Kait Adkison says:

    i have a question! i have passed about 12 stones in the last two years. all of them have been reasonable size about 2 mm to 3.2 mm i have been in sever pain and out of town.. i’ve had so many catscans so they did an ultrasound and found a 7mm stone in my right kidney… i’ve been told by a few doctors that stones in the kidney cannot physically cause pain while others tell me being that big they can cause pain.. my back is in soooo much pain about a level 8! those of you who have had stones in the bag that are large did they cause pain in your back?? not sure what to do. but i am miserable!

    • Kait Adkison says:

      back not bag i’m sorry!

    • Inah says:

      How did you pass that big stones

    • Karen Wood says:

      Hi I’ve had stones in both kidneys for the last 15 years. Currently have some smaller ones but two that are 1.1cm in left and right kidney. Waiting for a CT scan to see if they are causing any obstruction as the right one has been giving me a lot of intermittent pain for several months. In the past I’ve had some removed and also had lithotripsy. I wouldn’t have lithotripsy again as I found it excruciating and also because the cannula in my hand leaked meds and I ended up with phlebitis for 6 weeks! Also I can’t take Naproxen for pain relief as my stomach gets inflamed. It’s a real bummer😕 Last episode was the worst. Vomiting and passing visible blood in urine. Just went to A&E and got some intravenous pain relief. I eventually passed the stone about a week later. Sometimes if a stone is small I can manage the pain with regular codeine and paracetamol and by drinking lots of water. However, each of us has a different pain threshold and I think we can tell if a particular stone is proving stubborn! I’d just say use your doctor and urologist as much as possible- get some pain meds in and if you need to go to the hospital. Good luck!

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