To answer a very important question, how long does it take to pass a kidney stone, it is necessary to understand the causes, the symptoms, the risk factors, diagnosis, prevention and the eventual treatment of this medical condition.
A kidney stone consists of a hard mass which is formed within the kidneys. Characteristically it comprises of a compound of unsolvable calcium. However, it can also form in the urinary tract. Generally hematuria (blood in urine) is caused by kidney stones. Frequently kidney stones cause extreme pain in the region of the flank, groin or the abdomen. Another term used for this painful condition is renal calculi.
How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone
The medical term used for this kidney stone disorder, is nephrolithiasis, whilst urolithiasis is used for stones located inside the urinary tract. When the stones are positioned inside the ureters, it is termed ureterolithiasis.
Kidney Stones: The Causes
Declining Urine Volume / Overabundance: Mass-forming substances
Kidney stones are formed when the urine volume is declining or / and when there is an overabundance of mass-forming substances present in the urine. Most often the kind of kidney stones found consist of calcium combined with phosphate or oxalate and calcium stones are in the majority.
Other composites which can result in forming kidney stones inside our urinary tract contain uric acid, amino acid-cysteine and magnesium ammonium phosphate (responsible to form the struvite type of stones).
When you don’t drink ample fluids or are partaking in extreme exercise and not drinking enough fluid as replacement, you are more at risk to develop kidney stones. In cases where the urine-flow is obstructed one is more prone to the formation of stones. Climate poses as a risk factor to develop kidney stones because people who live in dry and hot regions are more prone to suffer from dehydration and therefore will be more sensitive to the formation of stones.
When the urinary tract is infected kidney stones can be formed. These types of stones are known as infection- or struvite stones.
With infection of the urinary tract, kidney stones can be developed. This type of stones is known as infection- or struvite stones. Metabolic abnormalities which also include hereditary conditions of metabolism may change the urine’s composition with the result that a person’s risk to develop stones can be increased.
Various medical disorders can result in an elevated risk factor to form kidney stones:
- A high calcium-content in the urine (Hypercalciuria). This is yet another hereditary disorder which in more than 50% of cases, result in stones. This disorder is caused with the absorption of too much calcium from the diet which is secreted in the urine. With this calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate kidney stones can be formed.
- With a disorder like gout an elevated quantity of uric acid is constantly increased in the urine and blood which may result in the forming of the uric-acid type of kidney stones.
- Hypertension or one can say (high blood pressure) and diabetes, both chronic medical conditions are linked to a rising risk that kidney stones can be formed.
- Individuals who had ostomy or intestinal-bypass surgery are more prone to develop kidney stones.
- People suffering from specific inflammatory bowel-disease will also have a heightened risk in getting kidney stones.
- Medications like antacids containing calcium, certain diuretics as well as Crixivan (indinavir), a protease inhibitor (which is a treatment for HIV-infection), may increase the risk of having kidney stones.
- Hyperparathyroidism and kidney disorders like renal tubular-acidosis are also linked to a heightened risk of developing kidney stones as well as hyperoxaluria and cystinuria which are hereditary metabolic disorders.
- Nutritional features and actions can also raise a person’s risk for the formation of stones. Especially where there is not an ample intake of fluids which can lead to dehydration which poses an utmost risk element for forming kidney stones.
Other nutritional practices which can escalate a person’s risk of developing kidney stones can involve: a diet with a high salt-content; an overabundance of animal protein; extreme supplementation of vitamin D; an uncontrolled sugar intake; uncurbed intake of foods like spinach, which contains oxalate.
A rather interesting fact is that where there is a low level of calcium intake, it is possible that the balance of calcium-oxalate can change with the susceptibility to develop oxalate stones
A hereditary disorder, called hyperoxaluria is rather rare. However, the increased oxalate-levels in the urine can raise the risk of the formation of stones. Furthermore, the condition called primary hyperoxaluria is far less common compared to hyperoxaluria because of the above-mentioned nutritional elements.
Kidney Stones: People at Risk
It is possible for any individual to contract kidney stones. However, some people suffering from particular disorders and diseases and others who take specific medication can be more prone to the formation of these stones.
Age and Gender
Stones in the urinary tract have a higher incidence in men compared to women. Usually urinary stones form in individuals between the ages of 20 and 49-years. People susceptible to develop kidney stones multiple times generally experience their first attack during their 20’s or 30’s. Those individuals, who experienced kidney stones more than once, are susceptible to the formation of more stones.
People Residing in Specific Counties, more susceptible
Industrialized countries’ citizens are more prone to develop kidney stones than stones located inside the bladder. In comparison, bladder stones are more frequently developed by citizens of the world’s developing regions, which could be diet-related. US-citizens, residing in the South-Western and Southern areas of America, have a higher incidence to develop kidney stones than residents living in the other regions.
During the precedent few decades, we can narrate the developing of kidney stones in the US population had increased, which in all likelihood is linked to the pandemic of obesity.
Some pregnant women are developing kidney stones and according to evidence, the changes associated with pregnancy can elevate the risk to form kidney stones.
Dynamics which may be supplementary to the formation of stones during the expectancy period involve a slower pace at which the urine flows because of the rising of progesterone levels and reduced intake of fluids because of the declining capacity of the bladder, due to the enlargement of the uterus.
Even healthy expecting women have a slight raise in their secretion of urinary calcium. However, it is still not clear if the changes that occur during pregnancy can be straightaway responsible for the formation of kidney stones. Maybe it can be due to an additional latent aspect which makes them more susceptible to develop kidney stones.
A hereditary history regarding kidney stones can also poses as a risk aspect for the forming of kidney stones. However, Caucasians and Asians are more susceptible to develop kidney stones compared to Native Americans, African Americans or even Africans.
Blood Levels of Uric Acid
People who have continuous escalated levels of uric acid present in their bloodstream (hyperuricemia), is more prone to the formation of kidney stones of the uric acid type.
People with a high BMI (body mass index), gaining weight as well as a large waist-size have been associated with an elevated risk to develop kidney stones.
Kidney Stones: Different Kinds
An infection is the cause of struvite stones which include infection of the urinary tract. This type of kidney stones shows a fast growth and can be rather large, often with almost no warning and only a few symptoms.
These kidney stones develop in individuals with a family history of stones. It is a hereditary condition which results in the kidneys secreting a large amount of particular amino acids termed cystinuria.
Uric Acid Stones
Uric acid kidney stones can develop in individuals whose fluid-intake is inadequate or those who excrete too much fluid, gout-sufferers and people following a diet with an abundance of protein. Particular hereditary aspects can also elevate your risk to develop uric acid kidney stones.
Calcium stones form the majority of kidney stones, generally in the appearance of calcium oxalate, which is a natural substance in food. Chocolates and nuts as well as certain vegetables and specific fruits have high levels of oxalate, which is as a matter of fact produced by the liver. Nutritional elements, bypass intestinal-surgery, a high vitamin D dosage and a variety of metabolic conditions can elevate the oxalate or calcium concentration in the urine. Calcium kidney stones can also appear in the shape of calcium-phosphate.
More uncommon kinds of kidney stones may appear.
It may happen that no pain may be experienced with some kidney stones, also called “silent” stones. However, according to the reports of people having kidney stones a sudden inception of torturous pain was experienced.
Kidney Stones: The Signs
- Extreme pain just beneath the ribs in the back and the side
- Pain which go through phases of intensity, stronger and weaker
- Painful urination
- Passing urine with a foul smell
- Urine that appears to be brown pink or red
- Feeling nauseous accompanied with vomiting
- Experience chills & fever in the presence of infection
- Urinating much more than normally
- Feeling a necessity to urinate constantly
- Passing little quantities of urine
- Tormenting pain which spans to the groin-region and lower part of the abdomen
- Can experience testicular or even penile pain
The pain caused by kidney stones is experienced by many individuals as the worst they ever felt, even more painful than childbirth or some badly broken bones.
Kidney Stones: The Diagnosis and Tests
Your medical professional will order diagnostic procedures and tests on suspicion of you having a kidney stone, taking into account the characteristics of the symptoms. This will happen after any other probable causes of abdominal or pain in the flank-region, are ruled out.
- Urine Testing
The urine collection of 24 hours may portray too many minerals which are stone forming, is secreted or may reveal too little substances which are stone preventing. Your medical professional may require you to perform two collections of urine during two successive days.
- Blood Testing
Too much uric acid or calcium in your blood may be disclosed by the blood tests. Results from the blood test can assist in observing your kidneys’ health and can result in your medical practitioner monitoring for other medical disorders.
Kidney stones positioned in the urinary tract, may be revealed by the imaging tests. Options vary from straightforward X-rays of the abdomen, which can actually miss the smaller type of kidney stones to dual energy CT-scans which can show very small stones.
Additional imaging options comprise of a non-invasive test, an ultrasound as well as intravenous urography. Urography implies a dye which is injected into a vein in the patient’s arm to obtain a CT-urogram (CT-images) or an intravenous pyelogram (taking X-rays) as the injected dye flows through the bladder and the kidneys
- Analysing passed kidney stones
Your doctor can require you to urinate into a strainer to be able to catch the passed kidney stones. The composition of the kidney stones will be disclosed by a lab-analysis. This information will be used by your medical professional determining the causes of your kidney stones as well as to compose a prevention-plan for any further kidney stones.
Kidney Stones: Treatments
Different treatments are available for kidney stones. It will depend on the cause as well as the kind of stone.
Smaller Stones accompanied with nominal symptoms
The majority of kidney stones won’t necessitate any invasive treatment. You are likely to pass the smaller stones by:
- Water intake
Drinking 1.9 – 2.8 litres water on a daily basis may assist flushing clear your urinary-system. Drink ample fluid which consists mostly of water which will enable you to present clear or almost-clear urine.
- Relief for Pain
You can experience some discomfort when you pass a small kidney stone. To alleviate moderate pain, your medical professional may suggest pain relievers, like ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil and more), naproxen sodium – Aleve or acetaminophen (Tylenol and more).
- Medical Therapy
Your medical practitioner can prescribe some medication to assist you to pass the kidney stone. This kind of medication, an alpha blocker, will relax your ureter’s muscles, providing help to pass the stones faster with less discomfort.
Large Kidney Stones which Cause the Symptoms
Kidney stones which are untreatable with conservative methods, due to their largeness or can cause kidney damage, bleeding or continuous infections of the urinary tract, may necessitate more wide-ranging treatment, which could include:
Dissolving Stones by Sound Waves
For particular kidney stones, taking into account their location and size your medical practitioner may suggest a technique called ESWL (extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy).
The ESWL-technique uses sound waves which create strong shock waves (vibrations) to dissolve the kidney stones into very small pieces which you can pass in your urine. This technique takes approximately 45 – 60 minutes. However, due to some pain, mild anaesthesia or sedation will be administered to keep you comfortable.
As a result of the ESWL-procedure, blood can be present in the urine, abdominal or back bruising as well as some bleeding surrounding your kidney area as well as the adjacent organs. Discomfort can also be experienced as the fragments of the kidney stones are passing along your urinary tract.
- Surgery for the Removal of Large Kidney Stones
The procedure to remove a kidney stone surgically is called percutaneous nephrolithotomy. During such a procedure small instruments & telescopes are infused through a minor incision in the patient’s back. General anaesthesia will be administered during the operation and you will be hospitalised for approximately 1 or 2 days to recover. This surgery may be suggested by your medical professional in case ESWL was not a success.
- Removal of Kidney Stones with a Scope
Your medical specialist can use an ureteroscope (thin lighted tube) which is rigged with a small camera, passing it through the urethra & bladder to the ureter, for the removal of a smaller type of kidney stone.
When the stone is found, special instruments can capture the kidney stone or can break it down into small pieces which can pass in the urine. Your surgeon can then put a small tube, called a stent into your ureter for alleviating swelling and advancing the healing process. Local or general anaesthesia may be administered during the process.
- Surgical process for the Parathyroid gland
Certain calcium phosphate kidney stones are a result of hyper active parathyroid glands. These glands are positioned on the thyroid gland’s four corners, just beneath the Adam’s apple. In the occurrence where an oversupply of parathyroid hormone is produced by these glands (hyperparathyroidism), kidney stones can be formed due to calcium levels which had risen too high.
Occasionally hyperparathyroidism may occur with the manifestation of a non-malignant, small tumour inside one of the parathyroid-glands. However, you can develop another disorder which causes these glands’ over-production of the parathyroid hormone. By the removal of the tumour from such gland, the developing of kidney stones will be stopped. Your medical professional may suggest treatment for the disorder which causes the parathyroid gland producing an excess of the hormone.
Additional Treatment to Pass a Kidney Stone
- The majority of kidney stones will in the end pass along the urinary tract by themselves within a period of 48-hours, with an adequate intake of fluids. An anti-inflammatory, injectable drug, Ketorolac can be used to manage the pain if the everyday medications for pain control are not efficient. When lithotripsy is needed, it is advisable to avoid aspirin, NSAID’s and Toradol as these medications can elevate the threat of bleeding. When vomiting as well as nausea occurs, IV pain medications can be administered.
- Although there are no confirmed home treatments for dissolving kidney stones, home remedies may be taken into account especially for patients with a familiar history regarding kidney stones. Usually the majority of kidney stones, with time will eventually pass along the ureter into the bladder by themselves; remedies are focused towards the managing of symptoms. In this instance, home care involves the consumption of an abundance of fluids. However, acetaminophen can be used as medication for the pain as long as it’s permissible with no contraindication.
- Various factors influence a stone’s ability to pass, including: the person’s size, pregnancy, prostate enlargement, previous stone passage and the stone’s size. A stone of 4 mm has a chance of 80 percent to pass, whilst a stone of 5 mm has only a chance of 20 percent. However, stones which are larger than 9mm – 10mm, will infrequently pass without particular treatment.
- Medications which increase kidney stones’ passage rate include: calcium channel blockers, like nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat, Nifediac, Afeditab) as well as alpha blockers like tamsulosin (Flomax).
Above-mentioned drugs can be authorized for individuals who have kidney stones which don’t pass quickly along the urinary-tract.
Kidney Stones: Prevention
Changes in Lifestyle
- Consumption of water
It is advisable to drink enough water through the duration of the day. For individuals with a kidney stone-history, doctors generally suggest to pass approximately 2.5 litres of urine during a day.
If you are living in a region with a dry and hot climate or you are exercising on a frequent basis, you may have to drink more water for the production of ample urine. If you are drinking enough water, your urine will be clear and light.
- Foods not so rich in oxalate
If you are prone to forming calcium-oxalate stones, the doctor may suggest the restriction of oxalate-rich foods. These foods include: beets, rhubarb, spinach, okra, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tea, nuts, chocolate as well as soy products.
- A Calcium-rich Diet: Restriction of calcium supplements
You can continue to eat foods which are rich in calcium. However, you should practice caution as far as calcium supplements are concerned. Calcium derived from food doesn’t influence your risk of developing kidney stones.
Consult your doctor before you start to use calcium supplements. Such supplements have been related to an elevated risk to develop kidney stones. Low-calcium diets can also increase the formation of kidney stones in certain individuals.
Get a referral from your doctor to consult a qualified dietician who can assist you to follow a diet plan which decreases the risk of developing kidney stones.
- Opt for a Diet Low in Animal Protein and Salt
Reduce the quantity of salt you consume and opt for a diet which consists of non-animal protein, like legumes. It is advisable to use a substitute for salt.
Kidney Stones: The Prognosis
The majority of kidney stones will eventually pass by themselves. However, efficient treatments were developed for the removal of stones which do not pass or which is much larger. Individuals, who had developed kidney stones, always have a risk for kidney stones in the future for the duration of their lifetime.
Conclusion: How Long Does It Take To Pass A Kidney Stone?
Kidney Stones: Home Care
For people who had suffered from many kidney stone occurrences, home care can be suitable. Drinking an abundance of fluids is of the utmost importance when you pass a kidney stone. Whilst medications assist to control the pain, drinking an adequate quantity of fluids, especially water, is the most significant home procedure.
How long does it take to pass a kidney stone can depend on a variety of factors. The essentiality to live a healthy lifestyle and to be cautious if you have a history of hereditary kidney stones can’t be emphasized enough. Consult your doctor immediately if you suspect that you may have a kidney stone. As they say prevention is much better than spending a lot on treatments if possible.