How are ureteral stones treated?

Ureteral stones that occur near the kidney are usually treated with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). Ureteral stones that occur lower (near the bladder) may also be treated with ESWL, but they usually require ureteroscopy, especially if they are large (more than 1 cm in diameter). In ureteroscopy, a small scope is inserted into the bladder and ureter (tube that goes from a kidney to the bladder) that a urologist uses to find and remove a stone.

However, most small ureteral stones (less than 1-5 mm in diameter) will pass on their own, with no additional treatment necessary.
Small ureteral stones often do not need specific treatment. You may just be told to drink fluids to stay hydrated and use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.

A larger stone or one that does not pass may require a procedure. A urologist can break up large stones or place a stent to help the pieces to pass.

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