For someone to pass a kidney stone and experience relief from their kidney stone pain, the kidney stone must move from its current location in the patient’s body down through the urinary pathway, exiting in the urine. The urinary pathway, or the urinary tract, is the path in which urine travels and exits a person’s body, involving the kidney, ureter (the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder), and bladder. If the kidney stone does not get stuck or cause a blockage along the urinary tract, it will likely pass and exit during urination.

One of the main factors that determines the time it takes to pass a kidney stone is its size. Generally, smaller stones have a higher likelihood of passing through the urine faster than larger stones.

  • Small kidney stones are considered 1-5 millimeters (mm) taking on average 8 to 12 days to pass. Smaller stones are most likely the fastest to pass and exit through the urine.
  • Large kidney stones are considered greater than 5 mm, taking on average 22 days or longer to pass. Larger stones will have less of a chance of exiting the body and will take much longer than smaller stones.

Another major factor that determines the time it takes to pass a kidney stone is the location of the stone. Kidney stones can be found in many places along the urinary pathway in the kidneys, the ureters, or the bladder. If the stone is found in the part of the ureter closer to the kidney, it will take the longest time to pass. On the other hand, if the stone location is in the middle of the ureter or closer to the bladder, the stone will likely pass more quickly.


It is important to understand that while some patients may benefit from walking or exercising to pass their kidney stone, some patients will not. It is important to note that while it may not help all patients pass stones, walking or exercising can still be beneficial for patients with kidney stones. Physical activity can decrease the likelihood of patients forming new stones and lead to healthier kidneys.

Ultimately, the time it takes to pass a kidney stone is dependent on factors including the size and location of the kidney stone. Generally, kidney stones that are small and located in a favorable position will pass more quickly. Some stones in patients may be too large or may not be in a position where it can easily pass and exit the patient’s body. In these instances, the stone may cause blockages in the urinary system which may require medical intervention by a doctor.



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