Your first diagnosis by a doctor can start your kidney stones treatment. Your doctor may suggest that you wait for the kidney stone to pass while you take pain medicine, or that you have a surgical procedure to remove the stone. Most small stones pass, or move out the body, without any treatment other than drinking fluids and taking pain medications. The smaller the stone, the more likely it will pass on its own. About one out of every ten kidney stones require more than home treatment for the removal of the stone from your body. The average kidney stone takes between one and three weeks to pass on its own.
Your doctor will more than likely recommend home treatment if he or she thinks that you will be able to pass the kidney stone on your own and can withstand the pain by prescribing pain medications. The following home treatments may be useful: using NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Motrin to alleviate the pain. Your doctor will prescribe something stronger if necessary. When you are passing a kidney stone, you must drink a lot of fluids, mostly water, to pass it. If you don’t get enough fluids, dehydration can occur, so you need to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day. This keeps your urine clear and helps the kidney stone pass out of your body. Your doctor can also prescribe alpha-blockers that have shown to help kidney stones pass more quickly.
However, if you develop an infection, if the kidney stone is blocking your urinary tract, or the pain is too severe, there are other medical and surgical treatments that are available. An ESWL (Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy) utilizes shock waves that move easily through the body, but are strong enough to break up the kidney stone. ESWL is the most commonly used medical treatment for kidney stones. In a ureteroscopy, the surgeon passes a thin tube into the urinary tract to break up the stone or remove it entirely. Sometimes you may need to keep the urinary tract open for a short time in order for urine and pieces of the stone to drain out. Ureteroscopy is used most often when a kidney stone has moved from the kidney to the ureter. If you have a very large stone, there are surgical options: The first is nephrolithotripsy, where a surgeon places a narrow telescope into a small incision in your back. The surgeon then removes the stone or breaks it apart. This is used when ESWL does not work or if your kidney stone is very large. Second, open surgery is utilized where the surgeon cuts an incision in your side to remove the stone from the kidney. Open surgery is often the last resort and is rarely used.