Bladder stones or bladder calculi are urine minerals that crystallize and form in the bladder. This is common when some urine remains in the bladder even after peeing. Untreated bladder stones can cause infections, bleeding, and urinating problems.
Large bladder stones may require treatment, while smaller stones may pass or dissolve on their own. Treatment options typically include medication, minimally invasive procedures, or surgery. Lifestyle changes may also be necessary.
Large bladder stones can irritate the bladder, causing significant pain, bleeding, and urination issues. While some may move through the body with pee and cause no symptoms. If a stone irritates the bladder wall or restricts the passage of urine, the following signs and symptoms may occur:
- Intermittent pain in the lower abdomen
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent need to urinate
- Difficulty urinating
- Interrupted urine flow
- Changes in urine color, such as blood on pee, and murky or dark urine
- Recurring urinary tract infection
Bladder stones develop when urine remains in the bladder for an extended period. Urine becomes concentrated as it sits in the bladder for a long time, then crystallizes and becomes stones.
Bladder stones can be caused by foreign materials in the bladder. Certain infections can also result in bladder stones. Bladder stone formation can occur due to an underlying disorder that affects the bladder’s ability to contain, store, or remove urine.
Several factors and conditions can cause bladder stones, such as:
- Prostate gland enlargement: An enlarged prostate can block urine flow, preventing the bladder from entirely emptying. As men age, the prostate can enlarge or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) my occur, putting pressure on the urethra making it difficult to entirely empty the bladder.
- Nerve damage: Neurogenic bladder can occur because of a stroke, spinal cord injury, or other medical condition that prevents the bladder from tightening or relaxing, and emptying entirely. People with neurogenic bladder frequently require the use of a catheter to drain their bladder. Catheters cannot always drain all the pee.
Bladder stones may also be caused by:
- Inflammation: Bladder stones may occur as result inflammation induced by urinary tract infections or pelvic radiation therapy.
- Medical equipment: Patients who have bladder devices, such as catheters, may acquire bladder stones because of crystals that accumulate on the device. This is usually the case if the device has remained in the body for a longer amount of time than suggested. Objects that mistakenly move to the bladder, such as a contraceptive device or a urinary stent, can also cause complications.
- Kidney stones: Kidney stones are not the same as bladder stones. A kidney stone can sometimes pass from the kidneys into the bladder. If the stone can pass into the bladder, it is usually simply urinated out of the bladder. In patients who have difficulties peeing, the stone can become lodged and grow larger inside the bladder, causing pain and difficulty urinating.
Bladder stones can occur in anyone, although men over the age of 50 are more likely to get them. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) affects almost half of males over the age of 50. Several factors may affect one’s risk of bladder stones. The combination of these risk factors is also possible. This includes:
- Obstruction: BPH causes the prostate to enlarge. An enlarged prostate might make bladder drainage harder. This kind of condition prevents urine from flowing from the bladder to the urethra and might result in bladder stone formation.
- Nerve damage: People with impairment of nerve that control bladder function, such as a spinal cord injury, are more likely to develop bladder stones. This also include Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, a herniated disk, and stroke.