Kidney Stone: How long does it take to recover?

Overview about the kidney stones

Experiencing the kidney stone disease is very painful. Kidney stones are crystalline salts which are accumulated over the time in the kidneys. Its cause can be excessive calcium, oxalate, uric acid, and dehydration. Its main symptoms include pain in the lower side of the abdomen, groin area and blood in the urine. Sometimes granules are even passed in the urine as an indication of kidney stones and it also causes pain and bruising in the lining or urinary system.

Kidney stones are either of small size or large size. Small size kidney stones can pass on their own however large size stones require some treatment along with the procedure for their removal which is done by the physician. Also, the time required for the small stones to pass on their own can depend on its size and location.  The farther in the urinary tract the stone is present away from the kidneys lesser is the time taken by it to pass out from the system.

Stone Sizes:

Stones of less than 2 mm in size present in the ureters which are the tubes leading from the kidneys to the bladder, takes an average of 8 days to pass out. More the size increases of the stone more time it takes, stones ranging between 2 to 4 mm takes nearly 12 days and for stones of 4 to 6 mm, it might take even 22 days to pass out. Most of the kidney stones of smaller size can pass on their own in a span of 40 to 50 days.

Antispasmodic medications are prescribed for helping the stone to pass. It helps in relaxing the ureters, which increase the tendency of passing the stone out and further speeds up the process even. However, at times it can become difficult dealing with kidney stones and waiting for them to pass out on their own. In certain scenarios, the stones might take longer than 2 months to pass causing pain and distress to the patient. Complications like a decrease in kidney function, blockage of the ureter leading to an infection, uncontrolled nausea, vomiting, and pain.

Kidney Stones

In case of large stones difficulty increases as they tend to take longer than anticipated time to clear out of the system. They might even come out as fragments or granules on multiple occasions causing excessive pain. The level of pain and suffering might increase along with its recovery period taken to clear and heal from its consequences.

Large kidney stones require more specific treatments like a combination of medicines, proper diet and procedures to treat them properly.  Several surgeries are available for the removal of kidney stones. The physician is the best person to decide after tests and recommend a particular surgery for the type of kidney stone present. Patient, might get nervous after knowing that a surgery needs to be done in order to remove a stone however if it is recommended that it is believed to be essential.

Several tests are done to identify the type of stone its cause and its location. Sometimes even the scanning is not able to show up the location of the stone due to its fine size, however, large ones can easily show up on the scans. Further tests, done to rule out any infection caused by the stones. So that doctors can treat it accordingly.

What are the factors to consider in kidney surgery?


A urologist is a specialist physician who deals in treating the renal problems of the kidney.

The physician might decide to take up a surgery to remove the stone from the kidney due to following reasons:

  • If the patient has extreme levels of untreatable pain due to kidney stones.
  • Assuming that the kidney stone is causing any severe infection in the kidneys and needs urgent treatment.
  • If the tests done for evaluation makes it clear there is no other option for treating the stones.
  • If there appears to a danger of any tissue damage.
  • Supposing that the size of the stone is too large that there seems no possibility of treating it with medicines any further.
  • If the person has other underlying diseases causing the situation and symptoms worse.

Before taking a conclusion of surgery the physician discuss everything with the patient and all its consequences.


What are the types of surgeries which can help in removing stones?


  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: 

    is the surgical procedure by which the surgeon removes the kidney stones by making a small incision in the lower backside of the abdomen.

  • Ureteroscopic surgery:

    is preferable for the stones present in the lower end of the ureter. In this procedure, a ureteroscope, used by the surgeon to take out the stone from the ureter.

  • Parathyroid surgery:

    Doctors recommend it, for the removal of a benign tumor in the parathyroid gland using a radio-guided probe. Such tumors can lead to the production of excess calcium formation and forming stones. In rare case scenarios, the surgeon has to cut open the kidney by making an incision to remove the stone.

  • Stents:

    are also, placed in ureters of the few patients as per need to enhance the recovery process. It is a tube through which the urine flows during the healing period of the ureter. However, wearing it on can be uncomfortable for most of the patients. It even tends to increase urge of urination, causes pain in the back, and further discomfort.


Risks involved in the surgeries:


Every surgery imposes some risks like any other in this also anesthesia, given which, can have very few possible after-effects in form of side effects. Like temporary mental confusion or dilemma. Few risks might include excessive bleeding during or after surgery, lung infections, stroke and even cardiac issues but these happen only in case of complicated case scenarios which are very rare to happen.


The recovery time of surgery:


It depends upon how invasive the surgery is, and usually minimal invasive ones have short span for recovery like a couple of days or more. For example, a ureteroscopic surgery can take up a couple of days however for percutaneous nephrolithotomy surgery it takes few weeks to recover. The parathyroid surgery, considered instant ones in which a patient takes just a day to be fine. An open kidney surgery might take 2 months for a patient to recover. A physician will suggest the recovery period better, by looking at the condition of the patient and associated health issues

Kidney Stones

What are the precautions to be taken for early recovery?


  • Take proper rest after you, discharged for home.
  • Regular exercise indeed, avoid hard exercises or sports for few weeks, after surgery until all symptoms of pain and abnormal urine color, fade away.
  • After lithotripsy, follow normal home diet, avoiding junk foods.
  • Taking more and sufficient amount of fluids, recommended as it dilutes the urine and make it clearer. In case of any underlying kidney, heart, and liver diseases consult with physician, before increasing the fluid intake.
  • One needs to be careful with medications, prescribed, consume as per the chart no other over the counters, avoid going out of the box.
  • In case of restarting any previously, prescribed medicines like blood thinners- Coumadin or aspirin the physician, consulted.
  • If any medication to deal with stone or surgery, related symptoms, one should take it as prescribed, doctors recommend, cause a color change of urine may occur.
  • If antibiotics, one should complete the course, as prescribed and it should, stopped in between just after patient started feeling good.
  • More analgesics than, avoid as recommended or before consult of the physician as they, affect the kidney function.
  • Take a warm soothing bath, to help with burning and pain.
  • Urinate using the strainer, porvided by the doctor for saving any stone pieces which might come out. Even the ones which look like gravel or sand.


Follow-up care is the essential part of the treatment of kidney stone. Follow up tests from clinic or hospital, required to ensure no further fragment of stone remains inside. Also good after care with proper diet, water intake and proper along with the prescribed medications to complete the therapy.

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