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Kidney Stone, Undescended, No Symptoms

Illustration of abdomen with labeled kidney, ureter, bladder, urethra, and kidney stone in ureter.

A kidney stone begins as tiny crystals that form inside the kidney where urine is made. Most kidney stones enlarge to about 1/8" to 1/4" in size before leaving the kidney and moving toward the bladder. While the stone remains in the kidney, it causes no symptoms. When the stone breaks free and begins to move down the ureter (the narrow tube joining the kidney to the bladder) it causes sharp back and side pain, often with nausea and vomiting. When the stone reaches the bladder, the pain stops. Once in your bladder, the kidney stone may pass through the urethra (urinary opening) while you are urinating. Or, it may break into such small fragments that you don’t notice it passing.

Your kidney stone is still inside the kidney. There is no way to predict how long it will be before it breaks free and causes any symptoms. Most stones will pass on their own within a few hours to a few days (sometimes longer). You may notice a red, pink, or brown color to your urine. This is normal while passing a kidney stone. A large stone may not pass on its own and may require special procedures to remove it.

Home Care:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. This increases urine flow and reduces the risk of further stone formation. Healthy adults (no heart/liver/kidney disease) who have had a kidney stone should drink 2-3 quarts (8-12 eight-ounce glasses) of fluids per day. Most of this should be water. The goal is to produce 1.5 to 2 quarts of almost colorless urine per 24 hours.

  2. If you develop pain, you may take ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) for pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. [NOTE: If you have chronic liver or kidney disease or ever had a stomach ulcer or GI bleeding, talk with your doctor before using these medicines.]


Each year, there is a 5-10% chance that a new stone will form (50% chance over the next 10 years). The risk is highest if you have a family history of kidney stones or have certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes. However, there are lifestyle and dietary changes that you can make to reduce the risk of a recurrence.

Most kidney stones are made of calcium. The following is advice for preventing a recurrence of calcium stones.  If you don’t know the type of stone you have, follow this advice until the cause of your stone is determined.

Things That Help:

  • The most important thing you can do is to drink plenty of fluids each day, as described above (#1). 

  • Certain foods, such as wheat, rice, rye, barley and beans, contain phytate, a compound that may lower the risk of recurrence of any type of stone.

  • Increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables (especially those high in potassium).

Things To Limit Or Avoid:

  • Calcium supplements may increase your risk of calcium stones. If you are taking these, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of continuing this treatment. [Note: There is no need to limit the amount of calcium in the foods you eat (such as milk and dairy products)].

  • Limit salt intake to 2-3 grams (1 to 1.5 teaspoons) per day. Use limited amounts when cooking, and don’t add salt at the table. 

  • Limit spinach, rhubarb, peanuts, cashews and almonds, grapefruit and grapefruit juice.

  • Reducing the amount of animal meat in your diet may lower your risk.

  • Women should avoid excess sugar (sucrose) and fructose (sweetener in many soft drinks) in their diet. 

  • If you take vitamin C as a supplement, do not take more than 1,000 mg per day.

Follow Up

with your doctor as advised by our staff. Talk to your doctor about urine and blood tests to find out the cause of your stone.

[NOTE: If you had an x-ray or CT scan, it will be reviewed by a specialist. You will be notified of any new findings that may affect your care.]

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Severe sharp back or side pain

  • Repeated vomiting or unable to keep down fluids

  • Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Blood (pink or red color) in your urine

  • Unable to pass urine for 8 hours or increasing bladder pressure


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