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Kidney Stone

4 Stages of Passing A Kidney Stone From Your Body

What Is A Kidney Stone?

Hardened solid deposits composed of salts and minerals that are developed inside your kidneys are called Kidney Stones.

Also known as Renal Calculi, Nephrolithiasis, or Urolithiasis – kidney stones can be caused due to inappropriate diet, certain medical conditions, excessive weight, and/or specific supplements. From the kidneys, all the way to the bladder, kidney stones are capable of affecting any part of your urinary tract. These at times painful, kidney stones can also be developed in your kidney if your urine becomes concentrated, which leads to the crystallization of minerals that end up sticking together, forming stones.

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4 Stages Of Passing A Kidney Stone From Your Body

The passing of kidney stones from your body can be broken down into 4 main stages – Here are those stages explained briefly:

Stage 1: Preliminary

The formation of rock in the kidney is the very first stage. In the second stage that formed stone makes its way to the ureter i.e. a tube that connects the kidney and the bladder. The third stage involves the stone entering the bladder. And the passing of kidney stones concludes with the fourth and final stage where it is passed out of the body through urination.

How long this procedure takes, and how much time each of the stages requires might be different for all individuals – however, generally, it takes 4 to 6 weeks for a kidney stone to pass completely.

So, if you think that you have developed a kidney stone, the very first step is to visit a doctor to have yourself checked and determine if you’ve actually created a stone in your kidney. Once diagnosed, then comes the part where you consult your physician about the best possible way to get rid of the stone.

Stage 2: Impacted

If the kidney stone that you have developed gets stuck in your urinary tract and is unable to pass out of your body on its own, that is what’s called an Impacted Kidney Stone. This instance causes severe pain, and the person suffering from it may require immediate medical attention.

There have been cases where the stone needed to be broken down in order for it to pass, with the use of surgery or sound waves. However, it mostly breaks down eventually, as you pee it out. While this may sound like you’ve been cleared, you still would have to monitor yourself constantly for any signs and symptoms of UTI (urinary tract infection). If there are no such signs for another two weeks, you’re free of this tiny yet painful stone.

Stage 3: Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)

The most commonly opted-for treatment against kidney stones is ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy). It breaks the kidney stones down into much smaller pieces by emitting sound waves that create enough vibration to do so. Those broken pieces of stone that are now much smaller can easily pass through your urine, and out of your body.

ESWL being an outpatient procedure allows the patient to get done with the procedure and leave for home the very same day – However, it does require the patient to take pain medications before as well as after the procedure.

For the next 12 hours or more, the treated person might need to wear a catheter, and shall also experience a burning sensation or pain when urinating for the next 24 hours, which will eventually decrease as time passes.

Stage 4: Recovery

Finally passing the stone is definitely a relief – nonetheless, there are still a couple of things that your physician needs to look after before they clear you as healthy and free of any further concern; which mainly includes close monitoring for the next few days to make sure that everything is normal and just as it should be.

In order to determine the type of stone that was developed and what caused it to develop in the first place, your physician will most likely conduct some tests. Based on those test results, they might recommend certain required changes to your diet, while also making changes in your existing medications (if you take any).

How To Prevent Kidney Stones?

Since dehydration is the major cause that leads to the development of a kidney stone, the most effective way to prevent the formation of any such stone is to consume as much water as you can.

In case you have already experienced the formation of kidney stones, you can prevent it from happening again by consuming at least 3 liters i.e. 5.2 pints of fluids throughout the day, every single day.

It is recommended to:

  • Consume water – also, drinks such as coffee and tea also count
  • Refrain from drinking fizzy drinks
  • Avoid too much salt
  • Fresh lemon juice added to your water can be very beneficial


Can a kidney stone be passed in urine?

Yes! Usually, if you’ve developed a kidney stone, it eventually moves out of your body through the urinary tract and is passed out in the urine.

A person can have a kidney stone within their body for years or even decades, without causing any type of damage to the kidney or any of the symptoms that kidney stones bring along. However, this condition may also become a cause for excruciating pain if the stone gets stuck in the urinary tract and blocks the flow of urine.

How can you tell whether you have a UTI or a kidney stone?

UTI (urinary tract infection) and kidney stone, are quite different types of conditions, but they do bring similar kinds of signs, pain, and symptoms. One link that they do have with one another, is that kidney stones can sometimes be caused because of an untreated UTI.

While kidney stones are crystallized deposits of minerals or salts that aren’t dissolved by your kidney; which are then solidified to grow into a stone-like hardened object that needs to be passed through urine but can mostly cause severe pain while doing so.

On the other hand, a UTI happens to be an infection that can be caused in any part of the urinary system such as the kidneys, bladder, or urethra.

Their symptoms are listed below:

Symptoms of kidney stones

  • Sharp pain in the back or side of the abdomen
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • The fluctuating intensity of pain
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Urge to urinate

Symptoms of UTI

  • Pain in the bladder, groin, or lower abdomen
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy or smelly urine
  • Urge to urinate

What can mimic kidney stone pain?

Kidney stones are mostly referred to as “the mimicker” since the onset of their symptoms is quite similar to that of appendicitis, ovarian or testicular conditions, gastritis, as well as urinary tract infections.

Are there ways to have a kidney stone pass faster?

The best home remedy to encourage the stone to pass is to drink lots of fluids, especially plain water and citrus juices such as orange or grapefruit. The extra fluid causes you to urinate more, which helps the stone move and keeps it from growing. You should aim for at least 2 to 3 quarts of water per day.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 02/13/2023

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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