Passing a kidney stone can be one of the most stressful experiences that your body can go through.
If you or a loved one are struggling through this process, it is always best to seek advice from a professional.
Let’s dive deeper into learning how kidney stones can initially form and when they might require surgical removal.
Our skilled kidney stone specialists at Urology of Greater Atlanta are here to help. Call one of our Georgia locations now for more information.
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones form when chemicals like uric acid crystallize inside the urinary tract.
A few known health or lifestyle causes include having a family history of stones, eating too much animal protein, and even dehydration.
Symptoms of kidney stones include foul-smelling urine, the constant need to urinate, urinary pain, severe pain in the back or sides of the torso, and only urinating a small amount.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you may have begun to develop stones.
The Average Time to Pass a Kidney Stone
Kidney stones pass naturally in an average of 31 days unless they are larger than 4 millimeters. If a kidney stone is larger than 4 mm, it may take about 45 days.
The stones that take the longest time to pass naturally are usually larger than 6 mm and can take up to a year to pass.
Kidney stones may sometimes take a long time to pass naturally. There are several factors to consider when determining whether or not your stones can pass naturally.
It may be best to contact your doctor to decide if medical intervention is necessary.
Can Kidney Stones Be Passed More Quickly?
One of the best ways to get kidney stones moving is to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking citrus and grapefruit juices, in addition to drinking more water, can help you to urinate more often.
Drinking 3 quarts of water a day is a good goal.
Small stones have a high chance of passing on their own, which means that preventing stone growth is in your best interest.
Eating a low salt, protein, and calcium diet can help as well.
Medical Procedures Used to Treat Kidney Stones
Some kidney stones require removal surgery because stones larger than 6 mm can cause kidney damage.
Stones smaller than this may still be recommended for surgical removal if they block urine flow.
There are also some non-surgical procedures that can be used to dissolve stones.
One such option is utilizing lithotripsy, or sound waves, to break a large stone into smaller pieces.
Your urologist may also prescribe a ureteroscopy. During this procedure, an endoscope is inserted through the ureter to locate, retrieve, or even obliterate the stone.
How Will I Know If My Kidney Stone Has Passed?
One way that you will know that your kidney stone has passed is that your symptoms of pain, nausea, and discomfort will most likely have settled or be gone.
A doctor may also recommend placing a filter beneath your urine stream so that you can catch the culprit before it ends up in the toilet.
This visual confirmation should comfort you, knowing that it has indeed passed.
When to Tell Your Doctor about Your Kidney Stones
Although smaller stones usually pass naturally, larger stones are likely to need the aid of a urologist to move through the urinary tract.
There may also be some significant risk factors if you have only one kidney or sustained damage to your kidneys. In such cases, it may require immediate surgical removal.
Our experts at Urology of Greater Atlanta have developed an excellent reputation in helping patients deal with their stones.
Be sure to call one of our offices in Georgia today or book an appointment online to learn more about how we can treat your kidney stones.