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How long do kidney stones last in your body?

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Man suffering from kidney stone pain

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  • Kidney stones remain in your body for a few days or weeks. In some instances, you’re able to pass kidney stones on your own within 48 to 72 hours
  • A kidney stone that’s 4 millimeters (0.15 inches) long has a very high probability of being eliminated from the body easily. However, if the stones are big, their chances of being released from the body swiftly can decrease
  • There are multiple reasons why doctors may recommend surgery to remove kidney stones

Kidney stones can remain in the ureter, or the tube linking your kidneys to the bladder,1 for a couple of days or weeks.2 MedicalNewsToday notes that if you consume kidney-friendly foods, your body may release stones within 48 to 72 hours.3 Kidney stones go through the urinary tract in this order: first through the kidneys, then to the ureter and bladder and, finally, to your urethra.4

However, some stones, especially larger pieces, can take some time to pass through your ureter or leave your body. The stones may obstruct proper urine flow,5 and lead to pain and other symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend that you undergo a surgery to remove the kidney stones.6

According to MedicineNet, there is an 80% chance for a 4 millimeter (0.15 inch) kidney stone to easily move, in comparison to a 5-millimeter (0.19 inch) stone, which only has a 20% probability. Unfortunately, if the stones are larger than 9 to 10 millimeters (0.35 to 0.39 inches), they aren’t able to pass without needing specific treatment. Take note that there are other factors that could influence how quickly a kidney stone is released from your body, namely:7

  • Sizes of the person and of the kidney stone/s
  • History of kidney stone passage
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Pregnancy

Is surgery necessary to remove kidney stones?

Although some kidney stones can be released on their own,8 there are stones that need to be removed through surgery.9 Your doctor may suggest that you undergo a surgery if your kidney stones:10

  • Can’t be released from the body after a given amount of time
  • Trigger immense pain
  • Are unable to pass on their own due to their size or because they are stuck in a complicated location
  • Disrupt urine flow
  • Result in an urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Lead to kidney tissue damage or constant bleeding
  • Have grown larger after viewing follow-up X-rays

If any of these indicators appear, consult a physician immediately to know how to treat them or what type of surgery you might have to undergo. Surgical procedures that are usually done on people with kidney stones are:11

  • Shockwave lithotripsy or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), a procedure that uses shock waves to break up the stones into pieces small enough to pass12
  • Ureteroscopy, a procedure that is done with a thin tube running up through your ureter
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), which uses high-frequency sound waves to break up large stones
  • Open surgery (although this is rare) when the stones block your urine flow or you have an infection


Kidney Stones: Introduction

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stones Types

Kidney Stones Causes

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Kidney Stones Prevention

Kidney Stones Duration

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Surgery

Kidney Stones Diet

Kidney Stones FAQ

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