If you have a kidney stone, the best way to treat it depends on its location, size and type. Small kidney stones may not require any treatment. They may pass into your bladder on their own and leave your body in your urine. Larger kidney stones, though, can be very painful and may require treatment. First Steps of Treatment It’s safe to wait four to six weeks for a stone to pass if your pain is manageable and there are no signs of infection. During this time, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. Consuming up to three quarts of water daily can help flush a kidney stone out of your system. Doctors may prescribe certain drugs to help kidney stones pass. This can depend on the type of kidney stone you have. There are four main types: Calcium stones are usually made of calcium and a natural chemical found in certain foods (oxalate). These are the most common type of kidney stone. Uric acid kidney stones form if there is too much uric acid in your urine. Uric acid forms when your body breaks down substances (purines) found in many foods and all body tissues. Struvite kidney stones are made of certain minerals (magnesium, ammonium and phosphate). Urinary tract or kidney infections usually cause these stones. Cystine kidney stones occur in people with a genetic condition that causes them to leak a naturally occurring chemical (cystine) into their urine. Some medications help by relaxing the muscles in your urinary tract. This can help a stone pass more easily. Taking over-the-counter pain medicine, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can also help ease your discomfort. Doctors may treat uric acid stones with a special solution (calcium citrate or potassium citrate). This helps dissolve the kidney stone. People with struvite kidney stones may need antibiotics. Other Treatment Options Waiting for a stone to pass, drinking lots of fluids, or taking medication to help it pass doesn't always work. Your doctor may consider other treatment options for kidney stones that: Are related to an infection Affect your kidney function or block the flow of urine Cause a great deal of pain Don’t pass after several weeks Are very large These stones may need to be broken up so they can pass through the body or be removed. Options for this include: Shockwave therapy: Another name for this is lithotripsy, or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL). It uses strong vibrations to break up kidney stones that are in the kidney or one of the ducts (ureters) that takes urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Large kidney stones that are broken into smaller pieces can pass into your urine over the course of a few weeks. Shockwave therapy doesn't work for very hard, large or calcium kidney stones. Ureteroscopy (URS): This involves removing kidney stones through a thin tube that has a tiny camera on it (ureteroscope). You doctor inserts the scope into the tube (urethra) that carries urine out of your body, up through the bladder and into the ureter. The scope lets your doctor find the stone, grab it with a special tool, and remove it through the tube. The doctor may use special tools or a laser to break stones into small pieces so they can be removed. Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL): This procedure treats large kidney stones. Your doctor makes a small incision in your back or side, puts a thin tube through this opening, and guides it into your kidney. The doctor then passes a special tool through the tube to break up the stone and suction out the pieces through the tube. Primary care doctors treat some cases of kidney stones and prescribe medication. Doctors who specialize in the urinary tract are urologists. Urologists treat all types of kidney stones and perform procedures and surgery to remove them. If you need a specialist, search Healthgrades.com for a urologist in your area. Your doctor will more thoroughly explain your kidney stone treatment options, measuring the benefits and risks of each one. Together, you can decide on the treatment with the best chance of success.