How long does it take to pass a kidney stone? How to do it Fast at Home
Suffering from a kidney stone? Here are details on how long it will take pass it, factor that will determine the duration, tips to pass it fast naturally at home, how to know you have gotten it out plus more.
Why Pass a Kidney Stone?
Kidneys are organs that are bean-shaped located on the section of the lower abdomen to the back or posterior.
You have two kidneys and they are really important in keeping your system clean flushing the circulation of toxins which may include drugs or metabolites of foods taken to prevent harm.
The waste products being eliminated are passed out of the body in a process known as excretion and as urine. Kidneys have a mechanism through which they pass blood through their glomerulus in a highly intensive filtration process and transfer the blood, clean, into circulation.
However, at times when your organ does not properly function to eliminate the waste products, then this may lead to accumulation of the products. These products are compounds that may aggregate to form larger molecules and possibly a hard lumpy mass in the nephron tubules of the kidney.
This may result in obstructed flow of urine if not corrected and further accumulation of other products. In other words, it could lead to sequelae, complications and co-morbidities not envisioned. This is the reason you should pass a kidney stone.
Failure to pass a kidney stone may lead to blockage of a significant part of the urinary system. This includes the ureter and urethra. The ureter is responsible for channeling the flow of urine from the bladder into the urethra which is the tube that channels urine out of the body. Apart from this, here are some of the complications that occur if kidney stones are not passed:
When you have a kidney stone, there is a high risk of acquiring an infection which can lead to sepsis. Sepsis is literally poisoning of the blood which may be extremely fatal if not treated as an emergency.
According to statistics from meta-analyses of mortalities from sepsis, a third of those who get sepsis succumb to it. The remaining fraction are people who are living with disability and hence the quality of life is reduced with years of life lost according to Global Burden of Disease Estimates.
Such disabilities include post-traumatic stress disorder, total organ dysfunction and amputation of some infected parts of the body. Infections may lead to urinary tract infection, pyelonephritis, and glomerulonephritis among others. Kidney infections are medically referred to as pyelonephritis.
Kidney damage and failure
This can be divided into acute or chronic kidney disease depending on the time of onset. Kidney stones may lead to an acute kidney failure due to damage. In this situation, the kidneys are not able to remove waste products or balance fluids and electrolytes. This is a serious condition that requires institution of hemodialysis.
More particularly, uremic encephalopathy which is an organic brain disorder resulting from acute or chronic renal failure.
In this case, the kidneys are not able to to filter the blood and therefore the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) is evidently quantified as below threshold i.e. below 15 mL/min.
Encephalopathy leads to central nervous system manifestations including seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness and come. Again dialysis will be required to help your kidneys clean your blood.
Exaggerated action and side effects of drugs:
When you are not able to clean your blood of drugs, then it could lead to drug toxicity. Most drugs are eliminated by the kidneys and this makes it a very vital organ.
Some drugs have a really small therapeutic window and hence small ranges beyond which leads to an appreciable level of toxicity. Kidney stones may lead to accumulation of the drugs in the urine too.
Renal colic is extremely painful
Affecting about 10-18% and 2-4% of women, this symptom is excruciatingly painful. This is due to the stretching that occurs in the lumen of the nephron tubules and the struggling the walls are initiating to expel the stone.
Normally, patients who have kidney stones or calculi also experience hematuria which is blood stained urine. While some stones may occasionally cause the symptoms mentioned in this section, classic renal colic ensues with dilation of the lower terminal of the ureter when a kidney stone struggles to pass through.
There are other visceral-associated symptoms such as vomiting and this may indicate an acute obstruction in the renal pelvis and ureter by the kidney stone.
When pain is not evident, but a kidney stone present, then it could mean that the stone is large enough to be called staghorn calculi. Since it normaly fills the calyx or calyces of the kidney, they may lead to a renal hydrocalyx, fluid filled cavity in the calyces.
Before you can understand how and why you should pass kidney stones, it is important that you know how they form. There are four main types of kidney stones depending on how the form. This means that interventions to remove them may depend on their physicochemical characteristics. They include:
- Struvite stones: stones of this type are composed of magnesium and ammonia. Ammonia is a waste product in the urine. Struvite stones occur due to bacterial urinary tract infections and are mostly prevalent in women and in those patients who have long-term catheters (Harvard Health). Catheters are also linked to causing infections. Fortunately, the incidence and prevalence metrics have gone down due to proper control of urinary tract infections.
- Calcium oxalate stones: most kidney stones are formed by this compound. Why is this so? It has several etiologies and risk factors such as hypercalciuria, high urinary concentrations of oxalate, low urine volume, diseases such as gout (in which uric acid levels in blood are high), hyperparathyroidism, low urinary citrate concentrations and bowel disease.
- Uric acid stones: when there is a very high uric acid level in the urine, they could form stones. This is particularly so in people with hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels in the blood) or gout. Some types of cancer lead to slow lysis of the tumorigenic cells and this leads to a high level of uric acid in the blood and urine.
- Cysteine stones: they are relatively uncommon compared to other types of stones. Cysteine is an amino acid that may build up to form kidney stones. Evidence however indicates that its occurrence is genetic in etiology and therefore possibly inherited.
How long does it take to pass a kidney stone?
What is the duration(time)?
According to Washington University School of St. Louis, Urology, there is no precise time when you will be able to pass a kidney stone unless other factors that come into play are considered. Kidney stones need to be managed and passing them in urine is one of the ways this can be done effectively. Some of the factors that need to be considered include:
Size of the stone
If the stone is large enough not to be able to pass through the lumen of the urinary tract, then it would be a problem passing it in urine. Take for instance you are having a staghorn calculi or kidney stone. This stone is depicted to be large enough to get stuck in the lumen and forcing its elimination through the narrow tubes of the urinary tract will prove to be impossible. Invasive interventions are therefore necessary in such a case.
Pre-existing medical issues
Passing a stone through the ureter or urethra may depend on other conditions that are in sync with your kidney stone. Since medications are either acidic or alkaline, then it could dawn on the chemical nature of the stone to be able to dissolve and ionize in the pH of the urine achieved by the drug.
This is why more alkaline drugs known as alkalinizers are administered in the event that you have a kidney stone. Take for example that caused by aspirin which is a slightly acidic drug. Therefore, medications taken for a particular disease are a good consideration.
At times, you have a pre-existing renal disease perhaps due to an infection, cancer or age. This is something you might want to consider when taking a history.
With the help of medications, you will be able to expel the kidney stone naturally in a few days to a week. It may also take longer. With some interventions in conventional therapy such as medical expulsive therapy, stones that are of the size of 5 – 6 mm may take days or a few weeks to pass.
Female & Male
Epidemiology estimates that kidney stones affect people differently with respect to age and gender. First of all, those who are of the age between 30 and 60s are more predisposed to kidney stones than younger ones. In terms of sex, more men than women are affected.
However, this was a bit different when urinary tract infections were more predominant among women and therefore struvite stones. Apart from incidence of kidney stones, it is estimated that one of the symptoms, renal colic, affects 3-5% of women and 10-20% of men close to a 3:1 ratio of male to females.
Therefore, with these concerns, it means that passing kidney stones would take different times in this dichotomized risk factor (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Clinical Knowledge Summaries).
It is thought that the occurrence is higher in males due to lifestyle-associated differences in the sexes. For instance, men are known to have a lots of meat especially roasted that may lead to hyperuricemia and eventually gout.
To add, men are more hypertensive which is also a predisposing risk factor to formation of kidney stones. Much of the prevalence in females has reduced in the advent of reducing urinary tract infections by promoting safe sex and administering antibiotics hence rate reduced in this group.
How to pass a kidney stone fast in 24 hours
How fast can a kidney stone pass?
How fast you can pass a kidney stone depends on the factor mentioned above.
If a stone is large and irregular, it may be hard to pass it through the urine. It is mostly painful during urination. Forced expulsion is also painful and you will require pain killers afterwards. Strong ones. Again, it depends on which part of the kidney the stones are.
For instance, it is difficult to pass stones that are in the calyces of the kidney as compared to that in the bladder’s inlet and outlet. Therefore, 24 hours may be an underestimation of the real problem at hand if this is your target. It has also been shown that passing stones in its own time proves to prevent re-occurrence of future calculi.
What to do to speed up the process
There are ways that you could use to hasten the process. Medication should be the best option. Some of the medications that you may receive from your doctor includes some alpha blockers which are meant to relax the muscles of the ureteral wall.
In addition taking alkalinizers for an acidic kidney stone will help a lot in the ionization and neutralization of the stone. This makes it dissolve and get eliminated easily and faster.
Pain relievers will be good to augment the process as reduction of pain will help you remove the stones easily. Such includes ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin should be avoided in such cases for their exercabation of kidney stones.
The presence of an infection will require that you take antibiotics. For gout as a cause, allopurinol is normally prescribed to reduce hyperuricemia.
Diuretics are good for compelling expulsion through water excretion. Good thing alkalinizers such as Citro Soda may contain both sodium citrate and sodium bicarbonate. The former is important for the removal of kidney stones caused by reduced citrate in urine.
Other Quick ways to get rid of kidney stones naturally at home & without surgery
Other quicker ways involve drinking plenty of water to the tune of 2-3 liters a day would hasten the removal of kidney stones. This will prevent crystallization of minerals in the urine and further formation of stones.
There are natural/home remedies including sodium bicarbonate mixed with a well measured out amount of water plus tartaric acid just to make a form of an effervescent alkalinizer. You can add some lemon as it has an appreciable amount of citric acid that will provide for citrate.
How do you know when a kidney stone has passed?
You will know that a kidney stone has passed when your urine output changes to normal and the symptoms felt initially tolled down. However, it is important to do some imaging to rule out obstruction.
- Ultrasound of the kidney
- Abdominal X-rays
- MRI of the abdomen and kidneys
- Abdominal CT scan
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
- Retrograde pyelogram
This would be important to note: that at times alleviation of pain is not an indication that the stone has been completely passed. There are situation in which the stone is still in the lumen but with no associated pain. These are known as subtle or silent stones.
For instance, according to the Urological Center of Harvard Health, kidney stones that have entered the bladder may be associated with no symptoms. To add, even after weeks of passing kidney stones, there may be cases of postural flank pain due to urinary retention upon standing. This points out to a stone in the outlet of the bladder.
How long does kidney stone pain last after passing?
The pain duration differs with the severity of the kidney stone. It may however take several days to weeks to completely feel better.
Take some pain killers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol or naproxen but not aspirin.