Bladder stones are crystalline solids that form in the urine. If your urine does not have enough fluid in it to dilute the minerals it contains, then crystals will form from the high concentrations and stick together, forming a hard mass. The stones then remain in your bladder until they are passed through urination or removed with medical intervention.
Bladder stones have similar symptoms to kidney stones. The number of symptoms you experience and the severity of those symptoms will vary depending on the size of the bladder stones. Some symptoms of bladder stones to look out for include:
- Frequent and painful urination
- Trouble passing urine
- Stomach pain or pressure
- Blood in urine
- Cloudy or dark urine
- Pain in penis
- Urinary tract infection symptoms
While all bladder stones are formed with minerals found in urine, there are some factors that contribute to the formation of bladder stones. These issues include:
- Enlarged prostate
- Bladder surgery
- Bladder diverticulum (bladder lining poking through a weak point in the bladder wall)
- Cystocele (only in women – bladder wall weakens and drops, putting pressure one pelvic floor)
- Neurogenic bladders
- Incomplete bladder emptying
- Radiation to pelvis
If you have symptoms of bladder stones, see your doctor for a physical exam. They will press on the abdomen and pelvic area to see if there is pain or tenderness. Men may require a rectal exam to check the prostate. The doctor may also perform other tests including:
- Urine tests
- Urinary tract imaging
- Pelvic imaging
Some very small bladder stones can be passed by drinking large amounts of water. However, bladder stones are often caused by the inability to completely empty the bladder, so even a lot of water won’t flush them out. In most cases, bladder stones need to be removed by a doctor. The most common technique used to remove the stones from the bladder is with a cystoscope. The cystoscope is a tiny tube with a small camera attached. It is inserted into the urethra and the camera is used to visualize the stones so the doctor can use a laser or ultrasound waves to break up the stones so they can be passed.
In more extreme cases where the stones are too large to be broken up and passed, then surgery will be required. An incision will be made near the pelvis to remove the stones. The surgery is done with some form of anesthesia and a hospital stay may be necessary.
- Management of conditions linked to bladder stones
- Staying well hydrated
- Treat urinary tract infections promptly
- Do not smoke
- See your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms
Schedule an Appointment
At Alliance Urology Specialists, our goal is to provide the highest level of specialized urology care. Our board-certified physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of urological conditions, including bladder stones. To schedule an appointment, call Alliance Urology Specialists in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.