Small kidney stones will usually pass through the urinary tract on their own
The way we treat kidney stones at Urology Austin depends on its size and makeup. If the kidney stone is less than 5mm in size, it will usually pass through the urinary tract on its own, but we do offer patients suggestions and help with pain medication as needed during that time.
Depending on the circumstances, it is safe to wait as long as 4 to 6 weeks for a small kidney stone to pass on its own; however, if an infection develops or the kidney becomes completely blocked, your Urology Austin physician will develop a different treatment plan.
Here are some of the measures we recommend for our patients, although each patient is always treated as an individual, based on his or her symptoms.
Drink plenty of water
Your Urology Austin physician will give you guidelines as to how much fluid you should drink. We prefer that you drink water, for the most part, and a general recommendation is to drink 2 to 3 quarts of water each day. You should be drinking enough water to produce clear urine. The fluids help to move the kidney stone through your urinary tract.
For mild pain, try over-the-counter medications
A small kidney stone may cause only mild to moderate pain that can be controlled with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol®, etc.), ibuprofen (Motrin® IB, Advil®, etc.) and naproxen sodium (Aleve®).
For severe pain, we may prescribe pain medication
If you are experiencing severe pain, your Urology Austin physician will prescribe narcotics to relieve your pain. We may also inject you with Ketorolac (Toradol), which is a more powerful anti-inflammatory medication. If you become severely dehydrated because you are vomiting or unable to drink, your Urology Austin physician may decide to give you IV fluids and pain medications.
If you have trouble passing the stone, we may prescribe medication to help it pass
If your kidney stone doesn’t pass on its own, your Urology Austin physician may decide to use certain medications that are known to help kidney stones pass. One of the most commonly used medications is tamsulosin (Flomax), which works by relaxing the ureter, the small tube that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder.
Your doctor may also try a calcium channel blocker such as nifedipine (Nifediac , Adalat, Procardia or Afeditab).
For the most part, a small kidney stone will usually pass by itself or with the help of medication. If it does not, your Urology Austin doctor will recommend a treatment for a large kidney stone or for a kidney stone that is causing serious symptoms such as a blocked kidney. If you are having symptoms that indicate that you may have a kidney stone, contact us.