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What is Meant by a Bladder Stone?

A bladder stone, also known as a vesical calculus, is a hard, solid mass that forms in the bladder. It is composed of minerals and salts that crystallize and clump together in the urine. Bladder stones can vary in size and shape, ranging from small grains to larger, more complex formations.

Bladder stones develop when certain substances in the urine become concentrated and form solid masses instead of being dissolved. The most common types of bladder stones are composed of calcium, but they can also be made of other substances such as uric acid or struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate).

What are the Symptoms of Bladder Stones?

Not just the small ones, but even the large bladder stones will sometimes cause no problems. However, in case a stone blocks the urine flow or irritates the wall of the bladder, then the following signs and symptoms may show up:

  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Interrupted urine flow or difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urge to urinate, especially at night
  • Cloudy, bloody, or dark-colored urine
  • Incontinence – the inability to control urination
  • Lower abdominal pain

What Are The Causes Of Bladder Stones?

Bladder stones form as a result of the bladder not completely emptying. This makes the urine concentrated, which crystallizes to form stones. Sometimes, infections can lead to bladder stones. It can be an underlying condition that impacts the ability of the bladder to hold, store, and eliminate urine, or it can also be any foreign materials causing their formation. 

Below are some of the most common conditions leading to bladder stones:

  • Prostate gland enlargement: An enlarged prostate (as in benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH in men) can obstruct the urine flow, thus preventing the bladder from emptying.
  • Damaged nerves: Normally the bladder muscles tighten or release under the direction of the messages carried by nerves. And if these nerves get damaged, then again the bladder may not empty completely. 
  • Other causes: Inflammation in the bladder and kidney stones can also result in bladder stones. Moreover, medical devices such as bladder catheters (inserted through the urethra to allow urine to drain from the bladder), certain objects accidentally migrating to the bladder (like a urinary stent or a contraceptive device) and mineral crystals that can form on the devices’ surfaces can all cause bladder stones.

How are Bladder Stones Diagnosed?

The diagnosis of bladder stones typically involves a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. 

  • Medical History: The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors for bladder stones. They may inquire about your diet, fluid intake, and any previous urinary tract infections.
  • Physical Examination: A physical examination may include palpation of the lower abdomen to check for any signs of bladder enlargement or tenderness.
  • Urine Testing: A urine sample may be collected to analyze its composition and detect the presence of blood, crystals, or signs of infection. 
  • Imaging Tests: X-ray, Ultrasound, Cystoscopy, etc. They can help identify bladder stones, assess their size and location, and evaluate any associated bladder abnormalities.

The choice of diagnostic tests depends on various factors, such as the severity of symptoms, suspected stone size and composition, and availability of imaging technology. 

How are Bladder Stones Treated?

The specific treatment approach depends on factors such as the size, composition, and number of stones, as well as the individual's overall health. Here are common methods used to treat bladder stones:

Non-surgical Approaches:
a. Medication: Some small bladder stones may be treated with medications designed to dissolve certain types of stones. This approach is typically used for specific stone types, such as uric acid stones.
b. Fluid Intake and Lifestyle Modifications: Increasing fluid intake and adopting a balanced diet can help prevent stone formation. Limiting foods high in oxalate, such as spinach and chocolate, may be recommended if oxalate stones are present. Dietary adjustments may be suggested based on the stone composition and underlying factors.

Surgical Approaches:
a. Cystolitholapaxy: This procedure involves crushing the bladder stones using a special instrument inserted through the urethra. Cystolitholapaxy is performed under anesthesia and guided by a cystoscope. The crushed stones are then irrigated and flushed out of the bladder through the urinary tract.
b. Laser Lithotripsy: Laser lithotripsy is another minimally invasive procedure that uses laser energy to break down bladder stones into smaller fragments. These fragments can then be flushed out of the bladder through the urinary tract.
c. Surgical Removal: In certain cases, large bladder stones or those that cannot be adequately treated with non-surgical approaches may require surgical removal. This procedure called a cystolithotomy, involves making an incision in the bladder to directly access and remove the stones.

What are the Complications of Bladder Stones?

Here are some potential complications associated with bladder stones:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Bladder stones can provide a surface for bacteria to adhere to and multiply, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Hematuria: Bladder stones can cause blood to appear in the urine. Hematuria may be visible, causing urine to appear red or pink, or it may be microscopic and only detectable through laboratory tests. 
  • Urinary Retention: Large bladder stones can obstruct the normal flow of urine, leading to urinary retention (the inability to fully empty the bladder).
  • Bladder Damage: Bladder stones that are large or have sharp edges can potentially cause trauma to the bladder lining. 
  • Kidney Stones: Bladder stones can sometimes migrate from the bladder to the kidneys, where they can become lodged and cause kidney stones.

It's important to seek medical attention if you suspect bladder stones or are experiencing symptoms such as urinary issues, pain, or blood in the urine. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help prevent complications and promote optimal urinary health. 

How to Prevent Bladder Stones?

To prevent bladder stones, it's important to follow a few key measures that can help reduce the risk of their formation. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Aim to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water daily, unless your healthcare provider recommends a different amount based on your specific needs.
  • Follow a Balanced Diet: Limit the intake of foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, beets, chocolate, nuts, and certain types of berries. Additionally, reduce your consumption of sodium and animal proteins.
  • Increase Citrus Intake: Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and limes contain citrate, a compound that can help prevent the formation of certain types of bladder stones. 
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight:  Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and a balanced diet can help maintain an appropriate weight and reduce the risk of stone formation.

Remember, these steps can help reduce the risk of bladder stones, but they may not guarantee complete prevention.

Why Choose Medfin?

Surgery can be a daunting aspect, and feeling anxious is absolutely normal. The massive amount of information you can get from the internet may confuse you even more. This is where Medfin can help. Leave us the hefty tasks of finding the best hospital, the finest doctor, and the latest procedure at the lowest costs. Let us take charge while you sit back and focus on your health & recovery. Think surgery! Think Medfin!

Frequently Asked Questions

Medfin offers the latest surgical procedures to ensure that you recover as fast as possible in the least painful way possible.

One of the most common complications that are associated with stone surgery is an infection of the urethra or bladder, called a urinary tract infection (UTI).

UTIs may affect approximately one in ten people who undergo bladder surgery.

This can generally be cured with antibiotics.

Other potential complications include-

  • Bladder spasms

  • Blood loss

  • Blood clots

  • Nerve damage 

  • Overactive bladder

  • Allergic reactions to anaesthesia 

After undergoing a percutaneous suprapubic cystolitholapaxy, or transurethral cystolitholapaxy you will require a hospital stay for a few days for recovery.

If you have undergone an open cystostomy, it might take several days to get discharged.

As bladder stones are caused due to a range of medical illnesses, there are no such specific ways or methods that can prevent their formation. However, if an individual is experiencing any odd urinary symptoms such as discoloration, pain, or blood then seeking a medical opinion earlier is advisable. 

Drinking plenty of fluids regularly may also help to break down any stones that are developing.

Some people having urinary tract infections often feel that some urine is still left in the bladder after urinating.

In such cases, it is suggested to try urinating again ten to twenty seconds after the first attempt. This is known as "double voiding". This will help in preventing bladder stone formation.

Some research and studies have found that if you are suffering from an enlarged prostate condition then sitting down for urination will be helpful to ensure that the bladder is completely emptied. Besides, this will prevent the buildup of bladder stones.

Bladder stones are more likely to be seen in males who are 50 or above age.

Some conditions that can increase the risk of bladder stones include,


An obstruction

Any condition or circumstance that is blocking the urination flow from the bladder to the urethra (the tube that passes the urine out of your body) may cause the formation of bladder stones. There are various reasons for this, but the most common is prostate enlargement.


Nerve damage

Spinal cord injuries, stroke, diabetes, a herniated disk, Parkinson's disease, and other issues can injure the nerve that regulates the function of the bladder.

It's possible to have a condition obstructing the bladder outlet and nerve damage. This having together may increase the risk of bladder stones.

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