This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.
form in the urinary system when the water and waste in your urine are out of balance. When this happens, certain types of waste crystals separate from the urine. The crystals build up and form kidney stones. Kidney stones can be made of uric acid, calcium, phosphate, or oxalate crystals. You may have 1 or more kidney stones.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Pain in the middle of your back that moves across to your side or that may spread to your groin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urge to urinate often, burning feeling when you urinate, or pink or red urine
- Tenderness in your lower back, side, or stomach
Seek care immediately if:
- You are vomiting and it is not relieved with medicine.
Call your doctor or kidney specialist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have trouble urinating.
- You see blood in your urine.
- You have severe pain.
- You have any questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Treatment for kidney stones
may include any of the following:
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Medicines to balance your electrolytes may be needed.
- A procedure or surgery to remove the kidney stones may be needed if they do not pass on their own. Your treatment will depend on the size and location of your kidney stones.
What you can do to manage kidney stones:
- Drink more liquids. Your healthcare provider may tell you to drink at least 8 to 12 (eight-ounce) cups of liquids each day. This helps flush out the kidney stones when you urinate. Water is the best liquid to drink.
- Strain your urine every time you go to the bathroom. Urinate through a strainer or a piece of thin cloth to catch the stones. Take the stones to your healthcare provider so they can be sent to the lab for tests. This will help your healthcare providers plan the best treatment for you.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, and fish. You may need to limit how much sodium (salt) or protein you eat. Ask for information about the best foods for you.
- Be physically active as directed. Your stones may pass more easily if you stay active. Physical activity can also help you manage your weight. Ask about the best activities for you.
After you pass the kidney stones:
Your healthcare provider may order a 24-hour urine test. Results from a 24-hour urine test will help your healthcare provider plan ways to prevent more stones from forming. Your healthcare provider will give you more instructions.
Follow up with your doctor or kidney specialist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Kidney Stones (Ambulatory Care)
IBM Watson Micromedex
Symptoms and treatments
Mayo Clinic Reference
Medicine.com Guides (External)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.