If you’re familiar with kidney stones, then you know passing one is an incredibly painful experience that everyone should do their best to avoid. A recent study conducted by researchers from the Clinic of Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey suggests having sex at least three to four times per week can help with the spontaneous passage of kidney stones.

Researchers from the hospital’s Department of Urology split 75 participants into three groups: one that was asked to have sex at least three to four times per week, a second that was administered tamsulosin, and a third that received the standard medical treatment for kidney stones. Tamsulosin is a drug commonly used to improve urination in men with enlarged prostates.

Two weeks after the start of the study, researchers found that 26 of the 31 participants from the sex group were able to pass their kidney stones. On the other hand, only 10 of the 21 participants from the tamsulosin group and eight of the 23 participants from the standard medical treatment group successfully passed their stones. The average stone expelled by participants was measured at 4.7 millimeters.

A similar study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine compared the effects of tamsulosin versus a placebo for treating both small and big kidney stones. Findings showed that while time seems to be an effective treatment for small kidney stones, doctors should turn to tamsulosin when treating patients with bigger stones.

Although 87 percent of patients treated with tamsulosin and 81.9 percent of those treated with the placebo were able to pass smaller kidney stones, the difference between success rates grew with bigger stones. When it came to stones measuring between five to 10 millimeters in length, 83.3 percent of patients from tamsulosin group successfully passed their stones compared to 61 percent of patients in the placebo group.

"Kidney stones bring more than a million Americans a year to emergency departments because they are excruciatingly painful," said lead study author Jeremy Furyk, MBBS, MPH and TM of The Townsville Hospital in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. "The news on small kidney stones isn't positive, but tamsulosin appears to offer benefit to those unlucky people whose kidney stones are really big."

Luckily, there are a couple of options for avoiding kidney stones:

Source: Doluoqlu OG, Demirbas A, Kilinc MF, Karakan T, Kabar M, Bozkurt S, Resorlu B. Can Sexual Intercourse Be an Alternative Therapy for Distal Ureteral Stones? A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Study. Urology. 2015.