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How are kidney stones treated?

Each person’s treatment is a little different. The right treatment for you will depend on:

  • The size, type, and location of your stone
  • How much pain you have
  • How much you are vomiting

If your stone is big or causes severe symptoms, you might need to stay in the hospital. If your stone is small and causes only mild symptoms, you might be able to stay home and wait for it to pass in the urine. If you stay home, you will probably need to drink a lot of fluids. Plus, you might need to take pain medicines or medicines that make it easier to pass the stone.

Stones that do not pass on their own can be treated with:

  • A machine that uses sound waves to break up stones into smaller pieces. This is called “shock wave lithotripsy.” This procedure does not involve surgery, but it can be painful.
  • A special kind of surgery that makes very small holes in your skin. During this surgery, the doctor passes tiny tools through the holes and into the kidney. Then he or she removes the stone. This is called “percutaneous nephrolithotomy.”
  • A thin tube that goes into your body the same way urine comes out. Doctors use tools at the end the tube to break up or remove stones. This is called “ureteroscopy.”