Bladder Stones

Hard lumps of minerals in your bladder are known as bladder stones. The minerals in concentrated urine solidify and form stones, which is how they form. When your bladder doesn't drain entirely, this frequently occurs.

Small bladder stones may dissolve on their own, while larger bladder stones can require medicine or surgery. Bladder stones can cause infections and other problems if they are not addressed.

Bladder Stones: Causes

When your bladder doesn't completely drain, bladder stones might form. Urine becomes concentrated as a result of this. Stones can develop when concentrated urine crystallizes.

Bladder stones may result from certain infections. Bladder stone development can occasionally be caused by an underlying ailment that impairs the bladder's capacity to contain, store, or remove urine. Bladder stones are often caused by foreign objects that are present in the bladder.

Bladder stones are most frequently caused by the following conditions −

  • Hypertrophy of the prostate gland. Men who have BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, may develop bladder stones.

  • Disturbed nerves. Typically, nerves send orders from your brain to your bladder muscles, telling them to contract or relax. It's referred to as a neurogenic bladder.

The following are some of the additional causes of getting bladder stones −

  • Inflammation. Bladder inflammation can result in bladder stones and is occasionally brought on by uTIs or radiation treatment to the pelvis.

  • Medical equipment. Bladder stones may develop as a result of bladder catheters, which are thin tubes put into the urethra to assist with urine drainage. On the surfaces of these objects, minerals tend to crystallize and eventually turn into stones.

  • Renal stones. Kidney stones differ from bladder stones in several ways. They grow in many ways.

Bladder Stones: Symptoms

Even huge bladder stones can occasionally cause no complications. Nonetheless, there may be indications and symptoms if a stone irritates the bladder wall or restricts the flow of urine, such as −

  • Lower back discomfort

  • Discomfort when urinating

  • Often urinating

  • Difficulty urinating or a break in the flow of urine

  • Urine with blood in it

  • Urine that is cloudy or especially dark in color

Even stones that don't create symptoms yet don't pass through the bladder might cause issues like −

  • Persistent bladder issues. Bladder stones that are left untreated might result in chronic urinary problems including discomfort or frequent urination. Moreover, bladder stones can obstruct the passageway via which urine leaves the bladder and enters the urethra.

  • Infection in the urinary tract. Bladder stones may be the root cause of persistent bacterial infections in your urinary system.

Bladder Stones: Risk Factors

Bladder stones are more common in men, especially those over 50.

The following circumstances can increase the incidence of bladder stones −

  • An impediment. Bladder stone development can be caused by any ailment that prevents the passage of urine from your bladder to the urethra, which is the tube that transports pee out of your body. The most frequent reason, while there are others, is an enlarged prostate.

  • Nerve harm. The nerves that regulate bladder function can be harmed by several conditions, including stroke, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, a herniated disc, and others.

Both nerve injury and disease that obstructs the bladder exit are possibilities. Combining these two possibilities increases the likelihood of stones even further.

Bladder Stones: Diagnosis

To diagnose bladder stones, your doctor may suggest the following tests −

  • A medical check up. Your doctor may do a rectal exam to check the size of your prostate or may feel your lower abdomen to see whether your bladder is enlarged (distended). You'll also talk about any urinary symptoms or indicators you may be experiencing.

  • Urine testing. It is possible to take a sample of your urine and test it for tiny blood, germs, and mineral crystals. Urinalysis checks for urinary tract infections as well, which can either cause or result in bladder stones.

  • CT scan. CT scans the inside of your body fast and using X-rays and computers. Even very minute stones can be found with CT.

  • Ultrasound. With the use of pictures produced by sound waves reflecting off your body's organs and other structures, this test can help you find bladder stones.

  • X-ray. Your doctor can tell if you have bladder stones by looking at X-rays of your kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Yet, certain forms of stones are invisible to standard X-rays.

Bladder Stones: Treatment

Plenty of water consumption may aid in the natural passage of a tiny stone. Nevertheless, since bladder stones are sometimes brought on by a problem completely emptying your bladder, drinking more water might not be sufficient to dissolve the stone.

You'll almost always need to get the stones removed. There are several methods for doing this.

Slicing Up the Stones

One technique involves giving you numbing medicine or general anesthetic to render you asleep initially. The stone is then visible to your doctor thanks to the little tube with a camera that is then put into your bladder. The stone is then broken into tiny pieces by a laser, ultrasound, or another tool before being flushed from the bladder.

Surgery to Remove the Stones

Sometimes bladder stones are too huge or difficult to remove. In some situations, your doctor will operate to remove the bladder stones.

If your enlarged prostate or blocked bladder outlet is the cause of your bladder stones, you will need to have surgery to address these issues concurrently with your bladder stones.

Bladder Stones: Prevention

Although it's difficult to avoid the underlying problem that leads to bladder stones, you can lessen your risk by using the following advice:

Inform your physician of any odd urine symptoms. Your chance of acquiring bladder stones may be lower if you get an enlarged prostate or another urologic issue treated quickly.

Drink a lot of water. Since fluids reduce the concentration of minerals in your bladder, drinking more fluids, especially water, may help avoid bladder stones. Depending on your age, size, health, and degree of exercise, you should drink a certain amount of water daily. Find out from your doctor how much fluid is right for you.


Despite being relatively uncommon in Western nations, bladder stones continue to be a problem for a large portion of the world. A significant cause is a failure to empty the bladder regularly. Long durations of time between catheter changes increase the risk of bladder calculi. It's crucial to check the catheter after the traumatic removal of a Foley catheter to make sure no balloon bits or fragments are missing.

The possible danger of retaining balloon pieces inside the bladder, which would normally tend to calcify, in such patients must be understood by all members of the interprofessional team providing treatment. In these situations, a urologist must do a cystoscopy with the assistance of a nurse to remove any such particles.

The development of bladder stones, calcium phosphate debris, and catheter encrustations can be lessened with more frequent catheter replacements, and wise use of citric acid, gluconic-delta-lactone, magnesium carbonate, and 1/4% acetic acid solutions.

Pharmacists should evaluate pharmacological therapies, interactions, and compliance and communicate any issues to the multidisciplinary team. Specialized care urologic nurses improve communication with the interprofessional team, organize patient education, and coordinate treatment.

Urology, general care, pharmacy, and nursing staff collaboration and coordination of treatment can help lower the occurrence of avoidable bladder stones.

Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha
Dr. Durgesh Kumar Sinha


Updated on: 14-Jul-2023


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