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kidney stones treatment

How Does A Kidney Stone Pass? Kidney Stone Size Chart In MM And Treatment

Kidney stones can be painful. They are usually found in the kidneys or in the ureter. If left untreated, it can lead to painful situations and infections. Kidney stone treatment depends on size, location, and type. In this post let us learn about the Kidney stone size chart in mm and treatment so that you are aware of all options and can take better care of your condition.

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard substances that form within our urinary system. They are also called Nephrolithiasis. (1) Kidney stones can form due to a decline in urine volume or accumulation of toxic substances in your urinary system. Kidney stones are formed due to hard deposits made of minerals and salts that form inside your kidneys. (1)

Often dehydration is the major cause of the formation of kidney stones. Thus it is always advisable to stay hydrated with adequate amounts of water to avoid the formation of kidney stones.

Other reasons for kidney stones include – excess body weight, poor diet, and some medical conditions. (1) Kidney stone treatment may vary according to the size and location of the stone.

Kidney Stone Size Chart In MM And Treatment In India

Kidney stones can form in any part of your urinary tract — from the kidneys to the bladder. When the kidney stones become concentrated the minerals crystallise and stick together, making it difficult for the individual since they can be very painful. But you don’t always require surgery to remove kidney stones. Passing a kidney stone along with urine through medication is possible right at home. (2) However, it depends on the size. Let’s understand the Kidney stone size chart in mm and the kidney stone treatment that is available in India.

Kidney stones can range from small-sized crystals to large-sized stones and can be as big as a gold ball. And depending on their size there are various treatments that are possible today. The smaller stones can pass through the urinary tract easily and naturally. For a better understanding let’s refer to this Kidney stone size chart in mm.


Size of kidney stones Chances of passing naturally Time required to pass naturally Treatment
Less than 2mm About 80% 8 days (average) Home remedies
2-4 mm About 80% 12 days (average) Home remedies
4mm About 80% 31 days (average) Home remedies
4-7mm About 60% 45 days (average) Home remedies and painkillers
Larger than 7mm About 20% 12 months (average) Ureteroscopy
1-2cm Cannot pass Lithotripsy
Larger than 2cm Cannot pass Percutaneous nephrolithotomy

Kidney Stone Treatment

If you have followed the chart above, you know the smaller the size, the easier it is to pass kidney stones easily. However, we will look at the kidney stone size chart in mm and treatment.

#1 Small-size stone and treatment

Small-sized kidney stones are stones that measure up to 4 mm. 4 mm kidney stones relatively easy to treat and can be treated at home using the correct water intake and diet. Here are the things you can do for home remedies.

  • Water Intake – Drink at least 2 litres of water per day and check for colourless urine throughout the day.
  • Check caffeine intake – Plain water is best, and herbal tea is okay to an extent. But check your caffeine intake. Have coffee in moderation only. Avoid colas and alcoholic beverages.
  •  Hi-fibre diet – A hi-fibre diet with low salt is advisable to treat small kidney stones. Avoid vegetables like tomatoes, beetroot, spinach and nuts. Restrict the intake of protein according to your doctor’s prescription.
  • Avoid processed food – Try to avoid processed and packaged food with preservatives

#2 Medium-size stone and treatment

Medium-sized kidney stones are stones that measure between 5 – 20 mm. These kidney stones require treatment and passing a kidney stone of this size naturally is unlikely. Here are some kidney stone treatments that urologists advise for medium-sized kidney stones.

  • Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) – Kidney stones are blasted into smaller pieces through Shock wave lithotripsy so that they can pass through the urinary tract.
  • Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy (URS) – For a 4mm kidney stone or beyond this procedure is used. For this treatment, a cystoscope is used to look inside the urethra and bladder to find the position of the stone. The urologist inserts the ureteroscope through your urethra to scan the urinary tract. Stones can be broken into smaller pieces once they are found. This procedure is done under anaesthesia, however, the recovery time is much faster and typically you can go home the same day. (2)
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) – A thin viewing tool called a nephroscope, is used in this procedure to locate and remove the kidney stone. This tool can be inserted directly into your kidney through a small cut made on your back. For larger-sized kidney stones, the urologist also may use a laser to break the kidney stones into smaller pieces. This procedure is performed under anaesthesia and might require a short hospital stay.

#3Large-size stone and treatment

Anything above 5 mm can be considered a large kidney stone and requires surgery for removal. Surgery for these kinds of stones is required for various reasons like:(3)

  • The stone is lodged and won’t pass on its own
  • Severe unbearable pain
  • Can lead to infection
  • Blocking the flow of urine causes toxin build up in the body and circulation system

Here are some of the treatments available

  1.  Lithotripsy (ESWL) – Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy is a procedure done under anaesthesia where shockwaves break down the stone into smaller pieces. This can last for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2.  Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) – This procedure is done under general anaesthesia and requires a hospital stay. Sometimes the first step of the procedure is performed in the radiology department. A nephroscope is used in this procedure to locate and remove the kidney stone. This tool can be inserted directly into your kidney through a small cut made on your back. (4)

Composition Of A Kidney Stone

Kidney stones are made up of various substances or toxins when they are not discarded from the body via urine. They can be composed of a variety of mineral types:

Calcium stones

Usually, kidney stones are often composed of calcium and oxalate. When people have too much calcium in their urine, a condition called hypercalciuria develops kidney stones.

Struvite stones

As the name implies, struvite kidney stones are composed of magnesium, ammonium, phosphate, and calcium carbonate. They may be caused by bacteria that produce ammonia. The presence of ammonia in the urine causes its pH to rise, which causes it to become alkaline and promotes the formation of struvite.

Uric acid stones

Uric acid is naturally produced by our bodies when they metabolise protein. When the pH of urine falls below 5.5, uric acid crystals form, leading to hypercalciuria. Having too much uric acid leads to kidney stones.

Cystine stones

Cystine stones are a rare form of kidney stones, forming in individuals with an inherited metabolic disorder causing high levels of cystine in the urine.

How Does A Kidney Stone Pass

It is absolutely possible to pass a kidney stone without any medical intervention if they are smaller in size. Stay hydrated with an adequate amount of liquid because liquids help in the passing of kidney stones. Here are some home remedies you can use to make the process of passing kidney stones easier and faster.

#1 Water – Drink 12 glasses of water per day to reduce dehydration and crystallisation of minerals in your body.

#2 Lemon Juice – Lemons contain citrate which prevents the formation of calcium stones and can help in dissolving small stones.

#3 Apple Cider Vinegar – It contains acetic acid that helps to dissolve small kidney stones. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of water and have it every day. You could additionally sprinkle ACV on salad.

#4 Celery Juice – They are known to help the passing of kidney stones. Blend a celery stalk with water and drink the juice.

#5 WheatGrass Juice – Wheatgrass is filled with nutrients and increases urine flow to help in the passing of kidney stones. Have a cup of wheatgrass juice daily.

However, these home remedies for passing a kidney stone work only in cases of smaller stones. Let’s learn the size of stones in mm for your better understanding.

After Passing A Kidney Stone What To Expect

Kidney stones if smaller in size can pass through the urinary tract naturally. Improve your water intake for passing a kidney stone with urine. There could be some temporary residual soreness and pain. Lingering pain may occur after passing a kidney stone, it may be due to infection or another stone and you must consult a urologist immediately.

When To Consult A Doctor After Passing A Kidney Stone

Look out for symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or blood in the urine which might mean you have developed an infection and require immediate medical attention.

Once you’ve passed a kidney stone, your symptoms should ideally improve. But you must consult a urologist immediately if you notice:

  •         chills, fever
  •         inability to urinate
  •         confusion
  •         severe fatigue
  •         vomiting
  •         blood clots or foul-smelling urine

Now that you know all about Kidney Stones and Kidney stone size chart in mm and treatment look up the able team of urologists at Meddo for professional detailed care regarding kidney stone removal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the largest size kidney stone that can be passed

Small-sized up to 4mm kidney stones can be passed naturally through the urinary tract. You need to take care of the water intake and maintain a proper renal diet for this.

Q2. What size is considered a large kidney stone?

Any kidney stone above 5mm can be considered a medium to large kidney stone. Some kidney stones can be as big as a golf ball.

Q3. For ureteroscopic lithotripsy, what is the optimal kidney stone size?

Any kidney stone that is above 5 mm and is blocking the passage or urine flow or creating infection should be removed through surgical procedures like ureteroscopic lithotripsy and requires invasive kidney stone treatments.

Q4. Can kidney stones cause death?

Kidney stones do not cause death. However, they can be unbearably painful depending on the size and location of the urinary tract.