Bladder Stone

What Is It ?

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

Symptoms

Symptoms occur when the stone irritates the lining of the bladder or obstructs 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
  • Dysuria (painful urination)
  • Fever
  • Urinary urgency
  • Incontinence may also be associated with bladder stones
Risks
  • Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy
  • Bladder cancer in severe, long-term cases 
  • Chronic bladder dysfunction (incontinence or urinary retention)
  • Obstruction of the urethra
  • Recurrence of stones
  • Reflux nephropathy
  • Urinary tract infection
Treatment

Drinking 6 - 8 glasses of water or more per day to increase urinary output may help the stones pass.

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) or bladder outlet obstruction.

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

Causes

Bladder stones are usually the result of another urologic problem, such as:

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

Approximately 95% of 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.

Exams 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.
Testing may reveal the following: 

  • Bladder or pelvic x-ray may show stones.
  • Cystoscopy can reveal a stone in the bladder.
  • Urinalysis may show blood in the urine, crystals, or an infection.
  • Urine culture (clean catch) may reveal infection.
Outlook (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.