According to the American Urological Association, kidney stones that are 3 millimeters or smaller are highly likely to pass on their own. That being said, there are some things you can do at home to potentially help speed up the process.
Drink a lot of water. The first, and probably most important, remedy is to drink a lot of water because this helps to flush the stone from your body. Though the general recommendation is 6-8 glasses per day, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) says that this amount isn’t “set in stone” and can vary by individual. One way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is if your urine is lighter in color (the lighter, the better). If it’s dark, then you need to drink more.
Have some cranberries. The American Family Physician (AFP) provides several recommendations for people with all types of kidney stones, and one of them is to “acidify urine,” ideally to a pH of 7 or less. This can be achieved by drinking cranberry juice or taking a cranberry supplement, because either method of consumption can provide this effect.
Grab some lemons and limes. Another way to acidify your urine and potentially combat kidney stones is to increase your consumption of lemons and limes. Research published in the Journal of Endourology indicates that these two fruits are even more potent than grapefruits and oranges in terms of acidity, making them better citrus choices.
Incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet. Again, if your goal is to acidify your urine to better dissolve the stone, one efficient way to accomplish this is by ingesting apple cider vinegar. Add it to your water, make a salad dressing with it, or simply take a couple of sips.
Stock up on herbs. Certain herbal remedies have been used for centuries to help break up kidney stones and make them dissolve more quickly. Some of the most common herbs used for this purpose include basil and celery leaf (which can be made into tea) in addition to dandelion root, nettle leaf, horsetail, and aloe vera. While it’s important to note that research doesn’t necessarily confirm these assumptions, a number of kidney stone sufferers swear by them.
Take an OTC pain reliever. Although this remedy doesn’t actually get rid of kidney stones themselves, it does help you deal with the pain that typically comes with them. Over-the-counter aspirin and ibuprofen will generally do the trick, the combination of which “may be the strongest option available for oral treatment of acute pain” according to the National Safety Council.