Kidney Stones: Discharge Instructions

A kidney stone can develop when certain chemicals in your urine form crystals that stick together. The crystals may grow into a stone ranging from the size of a grain of sand to a golf ball. Most stones form in the kidneys. Very small stones can pass through the urinary system without causing problems. However, larger stones can cause severe pain when travelling from the kidney through the ureter into the bladder.

Symptoms of kidney stones

  • Extreme pain in your flanks, back or side that persists
  • Blood in your urine
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting

A CT scan or X-ray can be performed if you have symptoms that suggest a kidney stone. These tests aim to detect a stone and to check if the stone is blocking the flow of urine. Kidney stones are common and in most cases they are not caused by an underlying disease. Further tests which may be advised include:

  • A blood test to check that the kidneys are working properly
  • Urine tests to check for infection and for certain crystals
  • An analysis of the stone, if you pass the stone
  • Increase your fluid intake to help the stone to pass
  • Take the medications as prescribed
  • Filter your urine to look for a small stone if you have been given urine filters. Keep the stone and take it to your doctor for analysis. This may help determine how you can avoid stones in the future. You can wash and reuse the filters or buy more at most pharmacies

A follow-up visit with your family doctor or specialist in the next week or two is recommended. Further blood and urine tests may be needed to ensure passage of your current stone and to determine preventative measures.

Return to the Emergency Department if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain that does not improve with prescribed medication
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Fever or shaking chills

These evidence-based resources provide more information about kidney stones:

The content on this webpage is to be used as a supplement to the instructions provided to you during your Emergency Department visit. The content, including information and instructions, provided on this website are not to be used as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1 or go to the closest emergency department.