Definition

Bladder stones are hard buildups of minerals that form in the urinary bladder.

Alternative Names

Stones – bladder; Urinary tract stones; Bladder calculi

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Bladder stones are usually caused by another urinary system problem, such as:

  • Bladder diverticulum
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Urinary tract infection

Almost all bladder stones occur in men. Bladder stones are much less common than kidney stones.

Bladder stones may occur when urine in the bladder is concentrated and materials crystallize. Bladder stones may also result from foreign objects in the bladder.

Symptoms

Symptoms occur when the stone irritates the lining of the bladder or blocks the flow of urine from the bladder.

Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal pain, pressure
  • Abnormally colored or dark-colored urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Inability to urinate except in certain positions
  • Interruption of the urine stream
  • Pain, discomfort in the penis
  • Urinary tract infection
    • Fever
    • Painful urination (dysuria)
    • Urinary urgency

 Loss of control over urine may also occur with bladder stones.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam, including a rectal examination. The exam may reveal an enlarged prostate or other problems.

The following tests may be done:

  • Bladder or pelvic x-ray
  • Cystoscopy
  • Urinalysis
  • Urine culture (clean catch)

Treatment

Drinking 6 – 8 glasses of water or more per day to increase urination may help the stones pass if they are small.

Your health care provider may remove stones that do not pass on their own using a cystoscope (a small tube that passes through the urethra to the bladder).

Some stones may need to be removed using open surgery.

Medications are rarely used to dissolve the stones.

Causes of bladder stones should be treated. Most commonly bladder stones are seen with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH–enlarged prostate) or bladder outlet obstruction.

For patients with BPH and bladder stones, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) can be performed with stone removal.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most bladder stones are expelled or can be removed without permanent damage to the bladder. They may come back if the cause is not corrected.

If the stones are left untreated, they may cause repeated urinary tract infections or permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of bladder stones.

Prevention

Prompt treatment of urinary tract infections or other urinary tract conditions may help prevent bladder stones.

Related:Kidney stones – self-care, Kidney stones – lithotripsy – discharge, Percutaneous urinary procedures – discharge, Urinary tract infection – adults, Neurogenic bladder, Enlarged prostate, Kidney stones, Reflux nephropathy, Percutaneous urinary procedures

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