Kidney stones are chunks of mineral that accumulate in the kidney (nephrolithiasis), in the ureter (ureterolithiasis), or in the bladder (cystolithiasis). However, most stones are formed due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors when the minerals in the urine are at a higher concentration.

It is possible for the small stones to pass without showing any symptoms. However if the stone grows more than 5mm in size then it can cause a blockage which will lead to severe pain in the lower back or abdomen.

Some of the common symptoms are:

Kidney stones often do not cause any signs and can go undiagnosed. When a stone blocks the flow of urine out of the kidney, it can cause the kidney to swell (hydronephrosis). If the kidney stone is large enough, you may notice any of the following symptoms:

  • An intense, cramping pain in the back and side, radiating towards the lower abdomen or groin.
  • A feeling to urinate urgently.
  • Burning sensation while urinating.
  • Presence of blood in the urine.
  • Nausea and vomiting.


Small kidney stones, those that cause no symptoms, can be traced when an X-ray is done during a routine health exam. Other people get themselves diagnosed when they experience a sudden pain and medical attention is needed immediately.

When blood can be traced in the urine (hematuria) or sudden abdominal or side pain, tests like an ultrasound or CT scan can be prescribed to diagnose a stone. These imaging tests give an idea of how big the stone is and where it is located.


Treatment depends on the type and size of the stones. There are different treatments to choose from. Some of the treatments are:

  • Wait for the stones to be discharged normally

    Often you just wait for the stones to pass normally. Stones that are comparatively smaller in size are more likely to pass on their own. Waiting up to four to six weeks for the stone to pass is safe as long as the pain is bearable. While waiting for the stone to pass, it is highly recommended to drink normal amounts of water. You may need to take pain relievers if there is discomfort.

  • Medication

    Certain medications such as pain relievers and anti-nausea medicines have shown to improve the chances of recovery.

  • Surgery

    Surgery is necessary in case of repetitive instances of infections. Nowadays, surgeries involve a lot less pain, smaller incisions and minimal stay at the hospital.

Some of the surgeries to remove stones in the kidneys are:

  1. Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL):

    This procedure is used to treat stones in the kidney and ureter. Shock waves are focused on the stone using X-rays or ultrasound to spot the stone. Repeated shock waves directed towards the stone causes it to break into small pieces, thereby making the stones pass through urine over a few weeks.

    SWL does not work well on hard stones, such as cystine, some form of calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones, or extremely large stones. With SWL, you will be released the same day after the procedure. Although SWL is widely accepted, it can still cause side effects. Most stone pieces pass painlessly but larger pieces may get stuck in the ureter.

  2. Ureteroscopy (URS):

    Ureteroscopy is a procedure where a very small telescope, called an ureteroscope, is inserted into the bladder, up the ureter and into the kidney. Through an ureteroscope, the urologists can see the stone without making an incision. Once the urologist sees the stone, he/she uses a small device to remove them. If a stone is too large to remove in one piece, it can be broken into smaller pieces with holmium laser or some such device.

  3. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL):

    It is by far considered to be the best treatment for large kidney stones. PCNL involves making a half-inch incision in the back or side, with just enough space to allow a nephroscope to be passed into the central part of the kidney where the stone is located. An instrument passed through the nephroscopes helps in breaking up the stone and suctions out the pieces. The ability to extract the pieces makes PCNL the best choice of treatment.

  4. RIRS (Retrograde Intra Renal Surgery):

    This procedure is performed using flexible and effective endoscopes to treat the stone in any location of the urinary tract, which may be otherwise inaccessible by traditional methods.

  5. Other surgical methods:

    Other types of kidney surgeries such as open, laparoscopic or robotic are performed only if all other less invasive procedures fail.

Fortis International Hospitals certainly offers one of the premium kidney stones treatment in India. Equipped with the latest technologies and a team of erudite surgeons, the patients are assured high quality of treatment through advanced kidney stone removal surgery techniques.