A kidney stone ultrasound

How Long Does It Take to Pass a Kidney Stone?

How long it takes to an individual to pass a stone depends on the size, their symptoms, and how much pain their are experiencing. Small kidney stones can pass with the help of medications—this will also ease the pain. Larger stones that cause severe symptoms, or that don’t pass with medications, often require surgery. 

Passing stones naturally can take a few days to a week or more.

Symptoms of Passing Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are very common, affecting about 1 in 10 people in the US. They’re small, hard deposits made up of minerals and acid salts. Because kidney stones are so common, you probably know that passing these stones can be extremely painful. 

Symptoms begin abruptly when a kidney stone starts to pass. A sharp, stabbing pain can develop in your side or back. The pain will sometimes move downward into your abdomen and groin. Once the stone has almost passed into the bladder, you will experience an intense need to urinate. Pain will come and go—and you may have several hours between episodes of severe pain. 

Nausea and vomiting are other common symptoms of a kidney stone attack. Kidney stones can also cause blood in urine which can seem concerning, but is usually not life-threatening. Although, if you experience these symptoms, you should go to the hospital.

If you develop a fever, this may be a sign of an infection. The combination of an infection and kidney stones is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

Last Updated: July 26, 2016

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