How much do you know about bladder stones?

If the bladder is not completely emptied of urine, hard lumps of mineral can form; this is a bladder stone. If urine sits in the bladder for a long period of time, chemicals in the urine can react to form crystals which can harden and become bladder stones. If the bladder stone is small enough it may pass through without causing any pain to the patient. However most people that have bladder stone will experience symptoms. The symptoms are mainly caused by irritation to the bladder wall and block in the flow of urine.


Bladder stones can be linked to an enlarged prostate, meaning that the condition is most common in men over the age of 50; but men and women can both still get it. If the prostate is enlarged then it may be pressing on the urethra, which will stop it from emptying fully.


In rare cases, children can also be affected by bladder stones.

Common symptoms of bladder stone:

  • Severe pain in the lower abdominal area

  • For men pain in or around the penis

  • Blood in urine

  • Difficulty or pain when urinating

  • Urinating more frequently (during the night)

Treatments

Bladder stones will usually be treated with surgery to remove the stones. This procedure is called a cystolitholapaxy. During this procedure a small tube is put in the bladder, with a camera on the end, and then used to locate the stones. Once the stones have been located, they will either be crushed, lasered or have ultrasound waves directed at them to break them up before they are removed.


If you have had bladder stones once, it is likely that they may come back. To reduce the risk of this happening you may need to make some life style changes:

  • Drink 2-3 litres of fluid daily to lower the chemical concentration in your urine

  • Try to prevent constipation

  • Do not delay emptying your bladder

  • Wait a while after your first attempt of urinating and try again to ensure that the bladder is completely empty (this is called double voiding)

  • Avoid having a high fat, sugar or salt diet, as this can alter the chemical makeup in your urine

  • Ensure you are getting enough vitamin A and B

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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