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Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about kidney stones

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Frequently asked questions about kidney stones

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  • Kidney stones are often yellow or brown, although some people can pass tan, gold or black pieces too
  • Anyone can be diagnosed with kidney stones, although a man’s lifetime risk for this health problem is higher compared to a woman’s
  • It can take 48 to 72 hours for kidney stones to be released from the body

Q: What do kidney stones look like?

A: Kidney stones are hard1 and solid masses2 that can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.3 Kidney stones are typically yellow or brown,4 although tan, gold or black pieces could appear, too.5

Q: Can women get kidney stones?

A: Yes. Anyone can develop kidney stones. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases notes that women have a life incidence rate of kidney stones at 6%, which is lower compared to the 11% to 12% lifetime kidney stone risk for men.6,7

Q: Can kidney stones cause a fever?

A: Fever is a common symptom among people with kidney stones, but these other indicators can manifest, too:8,9

  • Pain on your side, back or lower abdomen10
  • Urine that’s cloudy or foul-smelling, or contains traces of pink, red or brown blood
  • Increased frequency of urinating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or burning while urinating11

Q: Can you die from kidney stones?

A: According to the American Urological Association (AUA), although kidney stone-caused death is rare, there is a 28% rate of renal deterioration linked to some stone types.12 In a 2016 study that focused on people with kidney stones living in England and Wales, results showed that more women died because of this condition compared to men,13 despite the fact that men have a higher lifetime risk for this health issue.14 According to the authors:15

“This gender difference in mortality may be accounted for by various proposed factors including: a greater risk of infections and subsequent sepsis; an increased mortality when septic and requiring ICU care; and a greater prevalence of struvite stones, which are more likely to promote infection.”

Q: What treatment methods are effective for kidney stone pain relief?

A: To dissolve kidney stones and release them from the body, natural treatments should be considered instead of conventional medicines. Some of your best bets include high-quality filtered water,16 basil,17 raspberries and pomegranates.18

Q: How long does it take to pass a kidney stone?

A: Kidney stones usually take 48 to 72 hours to pass on their own, provided that you drink enough water and eat kidney-friendly foods.19 Even if the stones don’t pass after this period, they can move within a few days or weeks.20 However, if kidney stones are larger, it’s possible that they won’t easily pass, and could instead remain inside your body for longer periods of time21 and cause pain.22

Q: How long does kidney stone removal surgery take?

A: The duration of a kidney stone removal surgery depends on the type of procedure that you undergo. Shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) takes around 45 to 60 minutes,23 while a ureteroscopy lasts for one-and-a-half hours.24 Meanwhile, a percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is done in three to four hours.25


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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