Kidney Stone Treatment

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

View the Kidney Stones Slideshow Pictures

Most kidney stones eventually pass from the kidney through the ureter and bladder and finally through the urethra on their own. However, treatment is often required for pain control from kidney stones as they pass. The consumption of ample fluids helps facilitate the passage of kidney stones, but even with plentiful fluid intake, most people require some type of medications for pain control.

OTC and narcotic pain medication for kidney stone pain

While over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be used, many people require stronger medications for adequate pain control. These medications include ketorolac (Toradol) or narcotic medications. Since nausea and vomiting can accompany the pain of kidney stones, it can be necessary for the pain medications to be given intravenously.

Quick GuideKidney Stones: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Kidney Stones: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers for kidney stone treatment

Other types of medications are sometimes used to speed the passage of kidney stones. Calcium channel blockers and alpha blockers are two classes of drugs that have been shown to speed the passage of kidney stones by relaxing the spasming ureter. Medications that have been successfully used to treat kidney stones include the calcium channel blocker nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat) and an alpha blocker such as tamsulosin (Flomax).

With particularly large kidney stones that are not able to pass on their own, shock waves can be used to break the stone into smaller fragments. This procedure is termed lithotripsy. Surgical treatments are also available for stones that do not respond to other treatment methods.

The most common surgical procedure is a ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy. This procedure involves using a small scope to reach the stone, a laser to fragment the stone, and a small basket to remove the pieces.

Your doctor can recommend the best course of treatment if you suffer from kidney stones.

Kidney Stone Treatment Resources

Read patient comments on Kidney Stones - Treatment

Doctor written main article on Kidney Stones

Medically reviewed by Michael Wolff, MD; American Board of Urology

REFERENCE:

MedscapeReference.com. Nephrolithiasis Treatment and Management.


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Reviewed on 6/28/2016

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