Treatment for kidney stone varies depending on the size and location of the stone and the patient’s symptoms and overall health.

A small stone with minimal symptoms can be treated non-invasively by:

  • Increasing fluid intake to flush the stone out
  • Taking medication to assist in stone expulsion. Such medication helps to relax the muscles in the ureter, so that the stone passes out quickly with minimal pain
  • Taking medication to relieve pain

"Active intervention for symptomatic or large urinary stones ranges from the minimally invasive to more invasive techniques,” says Dr Nor Azhari Bin Mohd Zam, Senior Consultant at the Urology Centre, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

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Treatment options for urinary stones include:

  • Shock wave lithotripsy: An externally applied acoustic pulse is focused onto the stone to break it into tiny pieces.
  • Laser lithotripsy: A tiny scope is inserted into the urinary tract to locate the stone, and laser energy is used to disintegrate it.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: A small tunnel is made from the skin into the kidney to locate the stone, before fragmentation and removal of the stone.
  • Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery: Small keyhole incisions are made into the abdomen to enter the urinary system and remove the stone.
  • Open surgery: A large single incision is made into the abdomen to enter the urinary system and remove the stone.

Post-treatment, the patient will have to take dietary precautions or medications to prevent a recurrence of the kidney stone.

“Without active dietary or medical therapy, the risk of having recurrent kidney stones is 50 per cent within 10 years,” says Dr Nor Azhari.

Related articleUrinary Tract Infection (UTI) - How to Tell if It Strikes

Tips for preventing kidney stones

  • Consume 2-3 litres of fluids, including soups and fruits, every day

“As a rule of thumb, your urine should be quite clear at most times of the day. If the urine appears yellowish or concentrated, it means there is either low fluid intake or excessive sweating,” says Dr Nor Azhari.

  • Reduce your salt (sodium) intake, especially if you have high blood pressure
  • Limit your intake of foods rich in oxalates and purines
    • Oxalate-rich foods, e.g. peanuts, almonds, chocolates, strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, spinach, wheat bran
    • Oxalate-rich beverages, e.g. tea, coffee, beer, soy drinks
    • Purine-rich foods, e.g. organ meats, shellfish, sardine, anchovies
  • Consume more citrus foods such as lemon, orange, lime and grapefruit which are protective against kidney stones

“The citric acid found in citrus foods helps prevent the formation of kidney stones,” says Dr Nor Azhari.

Ref: S13

See the previous page for the causes and symptoms of kidney stones.

Other articles you may be interested in:

How to Prevent Kidney Stones From Developing

Urinary Stones - Frequently Asked Questions

Upper Abdominal Pain? It Could Be Gallbladder Disease