What can I expect after ESWL treatment for kidney stones?

After treatment with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) for kidney stones, you can expect to have blood in your urine and possibly abdominal pain or aching for several days. Other people experience a severe cramping pain as shattered stone fragments make their way out of the body. Oral pain medication and drinking lots of water can help relieve symptoms.

Sometimes a stone is not completely broken up and big pieces remain, so additional treatments may be needed.

Rarely, more serious problems occur, such as bleeding near the kidney that might require a blood transfusion, damage to the area around the stone, or pieces of the stone blocking the flow of urine.

Call your doctor if you feel the strong need to urinate even after you empty your bladder or if you are in extreme pain even when taking your pain medicine.

The recovery time is usually fairly brief. After treatment, you can get up to walk almost immediately. Many people can fully resume their daily activities within one to two days. Special diets are not required, but drinking plenty of water helps the stone fragments pass. For several weeks, you may pass stone fragments in your urine.
ESWL is the most commonly used method of eliminating kidney stones.  You will pass little fine grains of sand from the kidney once ESWL is completed.
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Most patients experience some degree of discomfort for a day or two after extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) treatment for kidney stones. The pain is usually described as a dull ache over the kidney, and is typically at its worst the evening following surgery. The pain lessens over the following days. It is normal to see blood in the urine for several weeks after surgery.
Several weeks following ESWL treatment, your urologist will perform a follow-up X-ray, to determine if the stone broke up into small pieces, and if those small pieces passed out of the kidney.

If the stone has broken up into small fragments, but the fragments have not cleared, the x-rays may be repeated again following another several weeks.
If the stone still has not broken up into small fragments, your urologist will likely recommend further treatment. In most cases, if the stone does not break up following one ESWL treatment, more ESWL treatments are unlikely to be successful. In this situation, other treatments may be recommended

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.