How Long Do Kidney Stones Last?

Annually, kidney stones affect approximately 10% of the population in the United States, making it a fairly common and often uncomfortable medical issue. Understanding kidney stones, recognizing their signs, and considering various treatment methods are critical steps to effectively manage this difficult health challenge.

What is a Kidney Stone?

Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are hard deposits that originate in the kidneys. They occur when certain waste products do not dissolve effectively in urine, leading to crystal formation as a result of an imbalance between waste and the volume of urine. These crystals accumulate additional waste over time, eventually forming kidney stones. The stones vary in size and composition and must be expelled through the urinary tract. This underlines the need for a well-balanced body to prevent the formation of kidney stones and emphasizes the importance of proactive kidney health maintenance.

What do kidney stones feel like?

  • Intense pain on one or both sides of the lower back
  • Continuous abdominal pain or non-specific discomfort
  • Blood visible in the urine
  • Experiencing nausea or vomiting
  • Symptoms of fever and chills
  • Urine that appears cloudy or has a strong odor

How Can I Treat Kidney Stones?

Proactive Measures:

If you suspect you have a kidney stone or have received a diagnosis, taking proactive measures can significantly impact your experience. Staying well-hydrated, managing pain with appropriate medications, and exploring medical therapy if needed are essential steps.

Hydration is Key:

A fundamental and initial step in managing kidney stones is staying well-hydrated. Adequate water intake helps flush out the stones through the urinary system, promoting a quicker resolution. Individuals are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, to support the natural elimination of kidney stones.

Pain Management:

Passing kidney stones can be an uncomfortable experience. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium can provide relief from the associated discomfort. It’s essential to follow recommended dosage guidelines and consult with a healthcare professional if needed.

Medical Therapy:

In some instances, medical intervention may be necessary. You may be prescribed alpha-blockers to relax the muscles in the ureter, facilitating a faster and less painful passage of the kidney stone. This approach is particularly beneficial in cases where stones are larger or causing significant discomfort.

How Long Do Kidney Stones Last?

The duration of kidney stones varies, typically lasting around a month, and is influenced by factors such as size and composition. Smaller stones, measuring under 4 mm, often pass within one to two weeks, while larger ones, exceeding 4 mm, may take two to three weeks. Once in the bladder, stones usually pass within a few days, though this process can extend, especially in older individuals or men with a large prostate. The timeline for kidney stone resolution is shaped by the body’s ability to naturally eliminate them. Adequate hydration plays a crucial role, as it facilitates the flushing out of stones through the urinary system, expediting the resolution. Understanding the duration of kidney stones is vital for tailoring treatment approaches, and this information underscores the significance of maintaining hydration levels and adopting proactive measures to manage this common health issue effectively.

The dedicated teams at our AFC Urgent Care North Carolina Locations are ready to provide assistance and support for individuals dealing with kidney stones, offering prompt and reliable care to address their needs.