A small stone (6-8mm) can pass in the urine spontaneously even without becoming apparent. The only management needed is an increased amount of water intake.
However if the stone gets impacted in the ureter, then a large amount of water should be avoided.
This is because with a larger intake of water more urine will be formed which cannot drain into the urinary bladder due to an obstructed ureter causing an increase in backward pressure which can damage the kidney.
Stones causing any symptom such as pain, bleeding or obstruction in the urinary tract should be treated urgently.
Different types of treatments are available for urinary tract stones such as:
1. Shock wave therapy (Lithotripsy) which breaks the stone into small pieces which pass into the urine. Sometimes multiple sessions of Lithotripsy are needed for larger stones.
2. Conventional surgery for the stone but it requires hospitalization for a couple of days.
3. More recently Lithoclast has been introduced for the treatment of kidney stones. The instrument is introduced into the kidney through a small hole and the stone is crushed into small pieces. The patient may be discharged after one to two days of the procedure.
4. Uric acid stones can be dissolved by long term use of a drug called “Allopurinol”. Making the urine more alkaline with certain drugs also helps in the treatment of uric acid stones.
5. If the stone is in the urinary bladder or in the ureter, it can be removed by using a special instrument called the “Cystoclast” which is introduced through the urethra into the bladder.