Just as the symptoms vary, so does the treatment. Your doctor may order lab testing or scans of your kidney and urinary tract to help pinpoint whether you’re dealing with a stone. For a stone that isn’t giving you too much trouble, the first step may be just to keep an eye on it, and wait a couple weeks for it to pass on its own. In this situation, your doctor might prescribe you something for kidney stone pain relief or even a medication to relax and widen the ureter, helping you pass a kidney stone faster and more easily.
You may also be given a urine strainer to catch the stone when you urinate, or have your urine itself tested, to see if medication may prevent future stones. Also, knowing the type of stone can be helpful in treating future stones. For example, if your stone is made from uric acid, you may be able to use a potassium citrate or sodium citrate solution to dissolve future uric acid stones.
However, if you’re in a great deal of pain, showing signs of infection or unable to urinate, you’ll need immediate relief and medical attention. The best approach in this situation is to break up or remove the stone. Years ago, this likely would have meant a surgical incision, but technological advances now allow a much less invasive approach using miniaturized telescopes and kidney stone laser lithotripsy. Your Urologist passes a thin, flexible scope through your bladder and ureter into your kidney to find and remove stones. If the stone is too large, a laser is used to break it apart. Either way, the stone or its pieces are collected for lab analysis to allow more effective prevention and treatment of future stones.