Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are little masses made up of minerals from your urine. They’re very common in men 50 and older.

At times, they don’t cause any symptoms and pass out of your body on their own. You may never even identify you had one. But often, they cause pain or other problems while you pee. When that occurs, you have to get them removed.

What are the Symptoms of Bladder Stones

  • Blood in your urine
  • Experience burning or pain when you pee
  • Find it difficult to pee
  • Feel pain in your lower belly and for men, in your penis and testicles
  • Go more frequently than usual, especially at night
  • Observe urine that’s cloudy or darker than normal

What are the Causes of Bladder Stones

The work of your bladder is to collect urine from your kidneys until you want to pee it out. Once you pee, your bladder should be emptied properly. But some health conditions may prevent that from occurring, and you end up with urine left in your bladder. After that, some of the substances in your urine begin to stick together and make crystals until they create a bladder stone.

There are a number of conditions that may stop your bladder from emptying. The two most common problems are:

  • Prostate gland Enlargement: Enlarged prostates can cause stones in men. It’s an organ which helps make semen. With age, the prostate generally gets bigger and may squeeze the urethra, the tube which carries pee out of the body. When it occurs, it stops emptying your bladder properly.
  • Nerve damage: Also known as neurogenic bladder that means your bladder’s nerves aren’t working like they normally would. This may lead to urine left in the bladder.

There are numerous other things also that may lead to problems with emptying your bladder:

  • Bladder augmentation surgery: Some people undergo this surgery to help with incontinence, a condition in which you can’t control when you pee. This surgery may be the reason to get bladder stones.
  • Bladder diverticula: They are small sacs that form in your bladder. several people are born with them, whereas others get them from infections or a prostate issue.
  • Bladder swelling: This may occur from a urinary tract infection.
  • Cystocele: This occurs only in women. Portion of the bladder wall gets weak and drops into the vagina, which may block the flow of urine.
  • Diet: A diet high in fat, sugar, and salt which also lacks vitamins A and B can increase your chance of getting bladder stones.
  • Kidney stones: Kidney stones are different from bladder stones, however a small kidney stone can move from your kidney into your bladder and develop.
  • Medical devices: The crystals which lead to stones could form on medical devices, like a catheter, a thin tube which helps drain your bladder.

Diagnosis and Tests

Your doctor can execute a physical exam to check your bladder. After that, you may have:

  • Cystoscopy: Your doctor inserts a small tube with a camera (cystoscope) in your urethra and sends it up to your bladder to observe for stones.
  • Imaging: Imaging may help find the location and size of any bladder stones and look to observe whether urine is blocked anywhere. Your doctor may use CT, X-ray, or ultrasound.
  • Urine test: Your doctor will suggest a urine check to find anything unusual and to see whether you have a urinary tract infection.

Treatment of Bladder Stones

For small bladder stones, you can drink a lot of water to get them to pass through on their own. However, it won’t work if you can’t empty your bladder.

If they don’t pass on their own, your doctor may recommend:

Breaking the stones into pieces: The procedure is known as cystolitholapaxy. Your doctor first executes a cystoscopy to find the stones. After that, she/he may use ultrasound, laser, or some other tool through the cystoscope to break up the stones and flush out the minute pieces.

Surgery: In case the stones are too large to break up, you might require having surgery to open your bladder and remove them.

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