Understanding Bladder Stones
Bladder stones are small deposits of minerals in the bladder. They may form when a small amount of urine stays in your bladder after urinating. Urine contains minerals such as calcium oxalate and uric acid. These minerals can build up and harden, forming stones.
Bladder stones can vary in size and shape. They are more likely to occur in men.
What causes bladder stones?
An enlarged prostate in men is the most common cause of bladder stones. The prostate is a small gland located near the urethra. The urethra is the tube that empties urine from the body. As men age, the prostate tends to become larger and it pushes against the urethra. That may cause the bladder to not empty completely.
Other possible causes of bladder stones are:
Diet problems, such as a lack of water (dehydration)
Urinary tract infection
Pelvic organ prolapse in women
Injury to the spinal cord that affects how you urinate
Foreign object in the bladder, such as sutures from a medical procedure or a catheter
Symptoms of bladder stones
Some bladder stones cause no problems. But if they do, you may have these symptoms:
Sudden urge to urinate
Need to urinate more often
Unable to hold your urine (incontinence)
Pain while urinating
Blood in your urine
Treatment for bladder stones
In some cases, you may not need any treatment for a bladder stone. It may eventually pass out of your body when you use the toilet. For larger stones, treatment may include:
Changes in diet. Drinking more water each day may help the stone leave your body. You may feel some pain when the stone passes. You may also need to cut back on salt and fat to stop more stones from forming.
Surgery. Several different procedures are available to treat bladder stones. Some stones may be removed through the urethra with a small tube with a camera on it (cystoscope). A healthcare provider may use the scope to break up the stone with lasers or shock waves. Large stones may be removed through a cut near the pelvis.
Possible complications of bladder stones
More bladder stones
Urinary tract infection
Damage to the bladder or urethra
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Redness, swelling, or fluid leaking from your incision that gets worse
Pain that gets worse
Blood in the urine
Symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse
December 11, 2017
Benway BM, et al. Lower Urinary Tract Calculi. In: Wein AJ, et al, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11 ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2016:1291-9., Krambeck AD, et al. Surgical management of stones: American Urological Association/Endourological Society Guideline. American Urological Association Education and Research April 2016:50., Preminger GM. Management of ureteral calculi. UpToDate. April 15 2016:9.
Greenstein, Marc, DO,Turley, Raymond Kent, BSN, MSN, RN