How To Dislodge A Kidney Stone Stuck In Urethra: Safe & Effective Methods 2023

Reviewed by Jocelyn Chen, BME

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how to dislodge a kidney stone stuck in urethra
Kidney stones affect millions of people worldwide. Photo: Shutterstock

Generally uncomfortable, a kidney stone can cause pain as it travels through the urinary system. Kidney stones are particularly painful if they become stuck in the urethra, a thin tube that connects the kidney to the bladder The resultant sharp pain and difficulty urinating can disrupt your daily life. However, the good news is that there are safe and effective ways of passing  the kidney stones in the urethra.

Kidney stones affect millions of people worldwide. These tiny hard deposits which cause people a lot of pain often require medical intervention. In this article, we will answer, “How to dislodge a kidney stone stuck in urethra?” and explore these various proven strategies on how to get rid of kidney stones, ranging from simple lifestyle adjustments to complex medical solutions. By implementing the suggested techniques, you will regain comfort and get back to your normal routine in no time.

How To Dislodge A Kidney Stone Stuck In Urethra?

In summary, when a kidney stone is stuck in the urethra, it can obstruct urination, cause pain, and lead to further complications. If you are experiencing pain when urinating, it is essential that you seek professional medical attention immediately.

There are a few ways that doctors dislodge and remove kidney stones from the ureter, which will be discussed in this article. These methods include:

  • Lithotripsy.
  • Ureteroscopy.
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy.
  • Shock Wave Therapy.

What Happens When A Kidney Stone Gets Stuck In The Urethra?

how to dislodge a kidney stone stuck in urethra
Kidney stones can cause serious discomfort. Photo: Shutterstock

Kidney stones[1] come from minerals that crystallize in the kidneys. These crystals then pass through the urinary tract and are expelled through urination. However, depending on the size, not all kidney stones can pass smoothly through the ureter and become stuck. Stones that are lodged in the urethra form urethral calculi.[2] These uric acid stones[3] or calcium stones[4] obstruct urine flow, cause intense pain, make urination difficult and increase the sense of urgency to urinate.

When kidney stones are lodged in the urethra, the blockage leads to urinary retention. This can also cause severe pain and discomfort as fluid builds up. A stuck kidney stone increases the risk of an urinary tract infection. Furthermore, a urinary tract infection can lead to frequent urination, a burning sensation, and cloudy or bloody urine.

How To Dislodge A Kidney Stone Stuck In Urethra?

There[5] are a few common ways to remove large kidney stones from the urethra. Remember, these are procedures performed by medical professionals. If you believe that you are in need of such treatment, always consult a doctor first.


Lithotripsy is a non-invasive procedure that uses shock waves to break kidney stones into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to pass a kidney stone through the urinary tract.

In this procedure, the patient lies on a cushioned table. Then, the lithotripsy tool shoots shock waves at the stone from outside the body. The shock waves pass through the skin, and tissues, and eventually reach the kidney stone and break the kidney stone into smaller pieces. Smaller stone fragments can  pass through the urethra during urination without causing obstruction and pain.

However, you should be aware of certain precautions. Because lithotripsy may cause discomfort during the procedure, anesthesia or pain medication is administered to manage pain. Patients may also experience bruising or soreness in the treatment area, depending on the size and shape of the kidney stone.


A more invasive option compared to lithotripsy is ureteroscopy. This is a minimally invasive procedure that works by inserting a ureteroscope into the urethra. The tool is then used to move around the urinary tract to locate and remove or break up the uric acid stone.

In this procedure, the patient is usually placed under general anesthesia or given a local anesthetic. The ureteroscope is inserted through the urethra and advanced into the urinary tract until it reaches the stone. The stone is then removed using a small basket-like device. Sometimes, the tool breaks the stone into smaller pieces using laser energy, electrohydraulic energy, or mechanical devices. Finally, the stone fragments are either removed or allowed to pass naturally through the urine.

Because of its invasive nature, ureteroscopy may cause temporary discomfort such as urinary urgency or mild pain during urination. Patients may experience mild bleeding or irritation in the urinary tract. You should follow the healthcare provider’s instructions on post-procedure care. This may include taking antibiotics or pain medication.

Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy uses high-energy sound waves to break kidney stones into smaller pieces. This then allows the stones to pass easily through the urinary tract.

A specialized machine delivers shock waves externally to the area or location of the stone. The machine focuses the shock waves on the stone, which causes it to break into smaller fragments. After the treatment, the patient urinates and eliminates these smaller pieces.

It should be noted that shock wave therapy can be uncomfortable. Patients may experience bruising or soreness in the treatment area as well depending on the severity of the stone and intensity of treatment.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy  

As the most invasive method out of the four discussed in this article, percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia to remove larger kidney stones.

In this procedure, a small incision is made in the patient’s back. A nephoscope (a thin tube with a light and camera) is inserted through the incision to access the kidney. The stone is either removed in its entirety or broken into smaller pieces using laser or ultrasound energy. The stone fragments or entire stones are then extracted through the incision or allowed to pass naturally through the urinary tract.

Remember, percutaneous nephrolithotomy is an invasive procedure. Thus, patients may experience pain and discomfort after the surgery. This can be managed with pain medication. Patients may have an ureteral stent placed temporarily to ensure proper urine flow for kidney stones in the ureter after the procedure as the patient heals. The recovery also will not be immediate, and so patients should be prepared to take time to allow themselves to heal after the procedure.

Tips To Prevent Kidney Stones

how to dislodge a kidney stone stuck in urethra
If you suspect that you have kidney stones, seek medical attention. Photo: Shutterstock

Having kidney stones is painful and interferes with one’s daily activities. There are many ways to prevent them, especially if one has a family history of kidney stones.

Drink Lots Of Water

One common cause of kidney stones is regular dehydration. Adequate water intake helps dilute urine and prevents the high concentration of minerals that can lead to stone formation. You may be wondering, how much water should you drink a day? Clinicians advise drinking at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water daily for good hydration status.

Eat Less Meat   

Taking too much red, poultry meat, or animal protein can increase the risk of kidney stones. To help prevent the likelihood of kidney stones, consider reducing your meat consumption. Another good choice is to opt for plant-based protein sources. Some examples of this are legumes, tofu, or tempeh. This can also be beneficial for individuals with high cholesterol.

Eat More Calcium-Rich Plant Foods

Including calcium-rich foods[6] in your diet can also help prevent kidney stone formation, specifically the calcium stone. Calcium stones are of two main types: calcium oxalate stones and calcium phosphate stones. To prevent the formation of either, choose plant calcium sources over dairy products. Leafy greens, almonds, chia seeds, and fortified plant-based milk are great choices.

Eat More Fruits & Vegetables

Consuming fruits and vegetables can also limit kidney stone formation. These foods are low in oxalate, a compound that contributes to the formation of kidney stones. If you can’t regularly eat fresh fruits and vegetables, you can choose some of the best fruit vegetable supplements. However, some plants such as soybeans, even if it’s the best soy protein powder as a meat replacement, may contain a high level of oxalate.

Limit Sodium Intake 

Consuming too much sodium can also increase the amount of calcium in your urine and form calcium oxalate stones. Minimize your consumption of processed foods, canned soups, and fast food to stay in control of your sodium levels.

Maintain A Healthy Weight

Obesity and excess weight can increase the risk of kidney stones. You should maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity to reduce your risk.

Some sources have suggested that dietary supplements such as apple cider vinegar can improve overall health. There are claims that some people have used apple cider vinegar for kidney stones with effective results. However, there is little scientific evidence to support it. Therefore, while small amounts of apple cider vinegar would not be harmful for one’s health, the benefits are not guaranteed.

Also, there may be Balance of Nature reviews that say otherwise, but there is no evidence that it treats or destroys kidney stones. Nevertheless, it may increase the nutrients that get distributed throughout the body from fruits and vegetables. This can play an indirect role in the prevention of kidney stone formation.


Having kidney stones can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. So, how to dislodge a kidney stone stuck in urethra? Lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, shock wave therapy, and percutaneous nephrolithotomy are some of the proven methods to dislodge the stone and restore normalcy.

To decrease the likelihood of future kidney stones and improve overall health, adhere to prevention tips such as consuming more fruits and vegetables, and drinking sufficient water every day. These help to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Ultimately, the best way to easily regain your urinary health and overcome the challenge is with pro-activeness and timely intervention.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes urethral stones?

Kidney stones are caused by aggregates of crystals that occur in the urine. These can be made of  different compounds including uric acid or calcium and are more likely to occur if you are dehydrated.

Why are kidney stones painful when lodged in the urethra?

The urethra is extremely thin and larger stones tend to get stuck. This causes pain as well as urinary obstruction and urinary retention. Always contact a medical professional to ensure a correct diagnosis and assess how they should be treated.

How are kidney stones dislodged?

Some small stones will pass through the urinary tract on their own. Others require medical intervention such as lithotripsy, ureteroscopy, percutaneous nephrolithotomy and shock wave therapy.

Can kidney stones be prevented?

Although not foolproof, generally improving your diet, eating less red meat, eating more fruit and vegetables,losing weight and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated can help prevent kidney stones. Importantly, once you have had a kidney stone, they may recur and your doctor can identify the type of stone which allows you to alter your diet accordingly and help prevent recurrence.

+ 6 sources

MIDSS adheres to strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes, and medical associations. We work mainly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure the accuracy of the information. We avoid the use of tertiary references. You can read about how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content in our editorial process.

  1. and, D. (2023). Kidney Stones – NIDDK. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at:
  2. Lee, P. and Haber, J. (2020). Urethral Calculi. Clinical practice and cases in emergency medicine, [online] 4(2), pp.134–136. doi:
  3. Han, H., Segal, A., Seifter, J.L. and Dwyer, J. (2015). Nutritional Management of Kidney Stones (Nephrolithiasis). Clinical Nutrition Research, [online] 4(3), pp.137–137. doi:
  4. Khan, S.R., Pearle, M.S., Robertson, W., Gambaro, G., Canales, B.K., Steeve Doizi, Olivier Traxer and Hans-Göran Tiselius (2016). Kidney stones. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, [online] 2(1). doi:
  5. Miller, N.L. and Lingeman, J.E. (2007). Management of kidney stones. BMJ, [online] 334(7591), pp.468–472. doi:
  6. D’Alessandro, C., Pietro Manuel Ferraro, Cianchi, C., Barsotti, M., Gambaro, G. and Adamasco Cupisti (2019). Which Diet for Calcium Stone Patients: A Real-World Approach to Preventive Care. Nutrients, [online] 11(5), pp.1182–1182. doi:



Jocelyn is a biomedical engineer with extensive experience in stem cell and tissue engineering, computational biology, neurology, psychology, and fertility medicine. She also served as the Editor-In-Chief and other academic editorial roles in the Consilience Journal of Sustainable Development.

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