Kidney Stones - What Happens
kidney stone begins as a tiny piece of crystal in the
kidney. When the urine leaves the kidney, it may carry the crystal out, or the
crystal may stay in the kidney. If the crystal stays in the kidney, over time
more small crystals join it and form a larger kidney stone.
stones leave the kidney and travel through the
urinary tract when they are still small enough to pass easily out of the body.
No treatment is needed for these stones.
Larger stones may become stuck
in the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureters). This can cause pain and possibly block the
urine from flowing to the bladder and out of the body. The pain often becomes
worse over 15 to 60 minutes until it is severe. The pain may ease when the
stone no longer blocks the flow of urine. And the pain often goes away when the stone
passes into the bladder. Medical treatment is often needed for larger
Problems that may occur with kidney stones include:
- An increased risk of
urinary tract infection, or making an existing urinary
tract infection worse.
- Kidney damage, if stones block the flow of
urine out of both kidneys (or out of one kidney, for people who have a single
kidney). For most people with healthy kidneys, kidney stones do not cause
serious damage until they completely block the urinary tract for 2 weeks or
Kidney stones are more serious for people who have a single
kidney or an
impaired immune system or have had a kidney
Stones in pregnant women
When stones occur during
urologist should determine whether you need treatment.
Treatment will depend on your trimester of pregnancy.