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Bladder stones


Disease: Bladder stones Bladder stones
Category: Genito-urinary diseases

Disease Definition:

Bladder stones are minerals that form small masses within the bladder. They develop when urine in the bladder becomes concentrated causing minerals in the urine to crystallize. The reason behind concentrated and stagnant urine is normally enlarged prostate, nerve damage, or urinary tract infections.

Bladder stones are usually discovered while doing tests for other problems, because they don’t usually show signs or symptoms. Some stones might pass out on their own, but others need medical care. If ignored, bladder stones can cause complication and other infections.

Work Group:

Symptoms, Causes


Some people, even with large bladder stones, experience no problems at all. Yet, if the stone irks the bladder wall or blocks the urine flow, symptoms can develop, such as:


  • Painful urination
  • Bloody urination
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Urine outflow (incontinence)
  • Abnormally dark-colored urine
  • In men, pain or discomfort in the penis
  • Frequent urination, especially during the night
  • Difficulty urinating or interruption of urine flow


Some of the different characteristics of bladder stones are :


  • They can be small or large enough to fill someone's entire bladder
  • They can be soft/hard
  • They can be smooth, or jagged and spiked
  • A person may have a single bladder stone or several.


The job of the kidneys is to filter the blood by absorbing needed substances and removing extra liquid and waste through urine. The urine leaves the kidneys through two slender tubes (ureters) and enters the bladder, where it's stored until it passes out of the body.

If the bladder is not fully emptied, the remaining urine can form crystals that could develop to bladder stones. This could happen if there is:

Prostate gland enlargement:

Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), this condition is the most common stimulator of bladder stones among men. The urethra is compressed and interrupted from passing urine as prostate enlarges. This causes the urine to stay in the bladder.

Neurogenic bladder:

Systematically, nerves carry brain messages to the bladder muscles to shrink or loosen them. If due to stroke, spinal cord injury or other health problem, these nerves get destroyed or damaged, the bladder might not empty entirely. 

Bladder diverticula: 

They are weakened areas of the bladder wall that are projected outward in pouches or bags. Bladder diverticula might be there since birth or might show later as a result of prostatic hyperplasia or conditions causing poor bladder drainage.

Some of the other conditions that may end up causing bladder stones may be:


Stones can develop if someone's bladder is inflamed. This inflammation might result from urinary tract infection or a previous radiation therapy to the pelvic area.

Kidney stones:

Kidney stones are not the same as bladder stones. The latter develop in different methods and for different reasons. However, small kidney stones might travel down the ureters into the bladder. If they stay without discharge, they can develop into bladder stones.

Medical devices:

Catheters, which are thin tubes placed through the urethra to help urine drain from the bladder, could result in bladder stones. The same thing can result with objects that accidentally travel to the bladder such as a contraceptive device or stent because mineral crystals could mount on surfaces of these devices to form the stones.



If stones, even though harmless, are left unresolved, they can lead to problems such as:

Chronic bladder dysfunction:

Being ignored for some time, bladder stones can lead to long-term urinary problems like pain or frequent urination. Stones also can stay in the opening (where urine exits the bladder into the urethra) and block the passage of urine out.

Urinary tract infections:

Bacterial infection recurring in the urinary tract could also lead to bladder stones.

Bladder cancer:

A person's risk of bladder cancer will be high if they use chemicals or objects that cause chronic irritation of the bladder wall.


All bladder stones should be released. Drinking an increased amount of water or liquids each day to help stones pass on their own is recommended if someone has small stones. On the other hand, if the stones are large or don’t discharge on their own, the patient's doctor may remove them.


The procedure is called cystolitholapaxy. To view the stone, a small tube with its end attached to a tiny camera (cystoscope) is inserted into the bladder through the patient's urethra. By using laser, ultrasound or mechanical device, the doctor can break the stone into small pieces and flush them out of the bladder. In order to make this operation less painful and the patient more comfortable, regional or general anesthesia is used before the operation begins.

Side effects of cystolitholapaxy are not common, but infections to the urinary tract, pyrexia, a tear and bleeding in the bladder may occur. Taking antibiotics before the procedure decreases the percentage of infection. After a month or so, the doctor might check the patient to make sure no stone fragments remained in their bladder.

In some cases, an open surgery is done if the stones are too large or too hard to fragment by laser, cystolitholapaxy or chemicals. The doctor here can cut open the bladder and removes all the stones. At the same time of this operation, the doctor will also correct the underlying condition that has caused the bladder stones.


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