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Bladder stones
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Bladder stones

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Stones - bladder; Urinary tract stones; Bladder calculi

Bladder stones are hard buildups of minerals that form in the urinary bladder.

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  • Causes

    Bladder stones are most often caused by another urinary system problem, such as:

    • Bladder diverticulum
    • Enlarged prostate
    • Neurogenic bladder
    • Urinary tract infection

    Almost all bladder stones occur in men. Bladder stones are much less common than kidney stones.

    Bladder stones may occur when urine in the bladder is concentrated and materials form crystals. Bladder stones may also result from foreign objects in the bladder.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms occur when the stone irritates the lining of the bladder or blocks the flow of urine from the bladder.

    Symptoms can include:

    • Abdominal pain, pressure
    • Abnormally colored or dark-colored urine
    • Blood in the urine
    • Difficulty urinating
    • Frequent urge to urinate
    • Inability to urinate except in certain positions
    • Interruption of the urine stream
    • Pain, discomfort in the penis
    • Signs of urinary tract infection (such as fever, pain when urinating, and need to urinate often)

    Loss of urine control may also occur with bladder stones.

  • Exams and Tests

    The health care provider will perform a physical exam. This will also include a rectal exam. The exam may reveal an enlarged prostate or other problems.

    The following tests may be done:

    • Bladder or pelvic x-ray
    • Cystoscopy
    • Urinalysis
    • Urine culture (clean catch)
  • Treatment

    You may be able to help small stones pass on their own by drinking 6 - 8 glasses of water or more per day to increase urination.

    Your health care provider may remove stones that do not pass using a cystoscope (a small telescope that passes through the urethra into the bladder).

    Some stones may need to be removed using open surgery.

    Drugs are rarely used to dissolve the stones.

    Causes of bladder stones should be treated. Most commonly bladder stones are seen with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH--enlarged prostate) or bladder outlet obstruction.

    For patients with BPH and bladder stones, transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) can be performed with stone removal.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    Most bladder stones pass on their own or can be removed without permanent damage to the bladder. They may come back if the cause is not corrected.

    Left untreated, stones may cause repeated urinary tract infections or permanent damage to the bladder or kidneys.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of bladder stones.

  • Prevention

    Prompt treatment of urinary tract infections or other urinary tract conditions may help prevent bladder stones.

Related Information

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References

Benway BM, Bhayani SM. Lower urinary tract calculi. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 89.

Sharma R, Dill CE, Gelman DY. Urinary bladder calculi. J Emerg Med. 2011;41(2):185-186.

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Review Date: 6/2/2014  

Reviewed By: Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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