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.

16 Responses to Letting a kidney stone pass

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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.


  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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”:

  10. 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.

  11. 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.


  12. 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?

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