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What are the Best Sources of Kidney Stone Relief?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several ways a patient can get kidney stone relief, as well as ways he can speed up the process of passing the stones. Such methods include at-home sources of pain relief for kidney stones such as diet changes and over-the-counter pain medications, as well as prescribed treatments like prescription medications. In extreme cases, such as when the pain is severe or the patient has particularly large stones, a doctor might recommend surgical or other medical interventions for removing kidney stones.

A person experiencing kidney stone pain should drink plenty of water. Experts recommend up to two or three quarts or liters a day. Although fluids like green and black teas are thought to help reduce the risk of kidneys stones, they should probably be avoided when the person already has kidney stones. Like coffee and soda, green and black teas can have caffeine and act as diuretics. Diuretics do help the person urinate more frequently, but they also dehydrate the body.

In addition to dietary changes, over-the-counter pain medication might provide kidney stone relief. Look for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NAIDs) like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Heat can also be effective pain relief for kidney stones. The person might try taking a hot bath or shower, or placing a heating pad on the area experiencing the most pain. Some people report massages have helped relieve kidney stone pain.

If treating kidney stones with at-home remedies and over-the-counter pain medication doesn’t help, a doctor might prescribe stronger pain medicine for kidney stone relief. He might also prescribe an alpha-blocker, which is another common medication for kidney stones. Alpha-blockers are designed to relax the muscles associated with the bladder and urinary tract, and they can help speed up the passing process. It’s also common for doctors to prescribe antibiotics to fight infection. Note that if an infection has already developed, it might be time for other kinds of medical intervention.

Aside from diet changes and medications, there are non-surgical and surgical methods for kidney stone relief. Usually, a doctor only recommends one of these methods if the condition is severe or if other less-invasive methods didn’t work. One non-surgical method for removing kidney stones is extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL), during which non-electrical shockwaves are used to break up the stones and allow them to pass. If ESWL doesn’t work or isn’t an option, a doctor might suggest removing the stones by a process called ureteroscopic stone removal during which a tube is inserted through the urethra to locate and break up or remove the stones. If surgery is necessary, the surgeon will create an incision in the patient’s back to access the kidney or directly in the body part where the stones are located.

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