Types of Kidney Stones
- Calcium Oxalate Stones — The majority of kidney stones fall into this category. Both calcium and oxalate are natural substances, but when they combine they can cause blockages. Oxalates are found in many foods, which is why people with calcium oxalate stones are recommended to alter their diet.
- Uric Acid Stones — Certain factors, such as eating too much animal protein, can cause the body to form uric acid stones. Lack of fluid also contributes to this condition, which is why it can accompany chronic diarrhea and other illnesses that cause dehydration.
- Cystine Stones — Cystine kidney stones, which are usually hereditary, cause the body to produce a chemical called cystine. This is often a recurring condition and requires regular monitoring.
- Struvite Stones — These are stones that form as a result of infections in the urinary tract. They can grow quickly, sometimes requiring medical intervention if they are too large to pass on their own.
How Long Does It Take For a Kidney Stone to Pass?
Around 60% of kidney stones pass naturally. If they’re small enough, they may pass with only minor symptoms. Whether or not kidney stones pass and how long it takes depends mostly on their size. Stones that are 4 mm or smaller are likely to pass on their own, usually within 30 to 60 days. Larger ones may require medical intervention. Stones that are 6 mm or larger usually don’t pass on their own and require some type of treatment.
What Happens After Passing a Kidney Stone?
Many people aren’t sure how to recognize when they’ve passed a kidney stone. You may also wonder after passing a kidney stone what to expect. The most painful phase of kidney stones usually occurs between the time the stone forms and when it enters the ureter. During this period, you may experience symptoms such as pain in the sides, painful urination, or blood in the urine.
Once a stone enters the bladder, you’re more likely to feel pressure than severe pain. The urge to urinate frequently is common at this stage. However, stones may make urination difficult. You may have to exert effort to expel the stone, which will be visible in the toilet. A feeling of relief usually occurs once the stone is passed.
Kidney Stone Treatments
Kidney stones that don’t pass on their own can be treated in a number of ways.
- Medication —Doctors may prescribe a prescription medication such as potassium citrate. Doctors may also prescribe pain relievers or simply recommend over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen.
- Sound Waves — A procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is used to break down stones so they can pass in the urine.
- Laser Lithotripsy (Ureteroscope) — A scope equipped with a camera and laser can be used to locate and remove larger stones. These are among the best treatment options for kidney stone sufferers that they may receive for treating kidney stones that are too large to pass.
These are among the best treatment options for kidney stone sufferers that they may receive for treating kidney stones that are too large to pass.
Kidney Stone Prevention
The following tips can help make it easier for kidney stones to pass and reduce the chances of recurrences.
- Drink more water. Health experts recommend drinking between two and three quarts of water daily to pass stones and prevent new ones from forming.
- Change your diet. For calcium oxalate stones, you should avoid high oxalate foods, which include spinach, almonds, chocolate, almonds, soybeans, and beets. Cut back on sodium as well. Too much animal protein can contribute to kidney stones as well, especially uric acid stones.
- Exercise sensibly. Light to moderate exercise can be beneficial for preventing kidney stones. If you currently have kidney stones, ask your doctor about how much exercise is appropriate.
If you experience any kidney stone symptoms, you should seek medical attention. You want to first know whether or not you have kidney stones and, if so, what type they are. Kidney stones can be diagnosed in several ways, including blood tests, urine tests, and imaging. It’s important to monitor kidney stones as they can be dangerous if they block the flow of urine. The good news is that most stones pass on their own and making the right lifestyle adjustments can help you prevent them.