The Best Treatment Options for Kidney Stones
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The Best Treatment Options for Kidney Stones

A list of the various treatments available for kidney stones.

Kidney stones are formed when substances build up in the urine and form into a solid mass in the kidneys. Usually, they pass through the system without any help but occasionally medical assistance is needed. The type of kidney stones treatment that will be required depends on the size, location and the type of stone that the patient has.

Non-Surgical Kidney Stones Treatment

For small stones of less than 5mm, it is often possible to be treated without surgery. Drinking plenty of water will increase the chances of the stone passing through the body on its own, which is usually far less painful than other methods of removal. Medication such as antibiotics may be prescribed if there is an infection or for pain relief but if the stone does not pass after a month, it will need to be removed by medical staff.


Lithotripsy is a procedure where a machine called a ‘lithotripter’ sends shock waves through the body to the kidney stone. Over two or three treatments, it breaks the stone down into small crystals that can easily be passed through the body in urine.


With this kidney stones treatment, a narrow telescope is passed up through the bladder and ureter to the affected area. The stone is then disintegrated, either by a laser fiber that is threaded through the telescope or by a laser beam sent to the stone. Ureterorenoscopy is usually done as an outpatient but an over night stay may be required.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

For large or hard to get at stones, percutaneous nephrolithotomy or keyhole surgery may be required. After making a small incision in the back, the surgeon inserts a telescope to locate the stone then removes it or breaks it up so it can pass easily through the body. This treatment involves a hospital stay of up to three days and is carried out under general anesthetic.

Removal of Stent

When a kidney is blocked, a small plastic internal drainage tube called a stent is implanted into the patient to let fluid flow freely in the body. After two weeks, the stent is removed to avoid discomfort or infection.

Prevention of Kidney Stones

Once the kidney stones treatment is complete a doctor will advise on various ways to prevent further problems. Around fifty percent of patients suffer reoccurring problems within five years so investigating and understanding what caused the condition in the first place is important. Usually, particular types of stones are caused by certain food groups so the doctor will advise a few simple diet and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of future problems with kidney stones. For a uric stone, less meat is usually advisable whereas a stone caused by too much calcium and oxalate will need a reduction of intake of foods like rhubarb, beets and chocolate.

Drinking plenty of water is also important and ginger ale, lemon and lime sodas and fruit juices will also help considerably. However drinks like coffee, tea and sodas with high levels of caffeine should be avoided as they can cause the body to lose liquid too rapidly.

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Comments (2)

my mil had kidney stones three years ago we thought she was going to die

Never suffered from it myself, sounds horrific though.